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EDITIONS
Monday, 22 July, 2002, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Churchman becomes prison inspector
Prison interior
A new chief inspector of prisons has been appointed
A former church leader is to replace ex-SAS man Clive Fairweather as the Chief Inspector of Prisons in Scotland.

Andrew McLellan, who was the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland two years ago, has taken a keen interest in penal reform.

He has already voiced his opposition to privatisation within the prison system and given his backing to the closure-threatened Peterhead jail.

Andrew McLellan
Andrew McLellan has taken an interest in penal matters
And his appointment was welcomed by the man he will replace when he takes up the post in October.

Mr Fairweather has been highly critical of Scottish Executive plans to use private finance in Scotland's prisons.

The 54-year-old former SAS officer opposed plans to oust him from the post, and reapplied for his own job after being told in January that his contract was not being renewed.

Mr Fairweather held the 50,000-a-year post since 1994 and twice had his contract extended.

He made no secret of his disappointment at not being reappointed.

'Most supportive'

"I would have liked to go on a bit longer as there is quite a bit still to do - for example, getting the SPS (Scottish Prison Service) to actually do more about young offenders and prisoners on short sentences," he said.

However, Mr Fairweather admitted he was "pleased" that Dr McLellan was to be his successor.

"He has always been most supportive of prison staff," he said.

Clive Fairweather
Mr Fairweather sought reappointment
"This is something which will be absolutely vital up ahead if the prison system is to continue to work in any coherent fashion and there are early signs that it could be beginning to struggle.

"On a number of occasions, he has also spoken out about various shortcomings in the prison system. So, watch this space."

Justice Minister Jim Wallace thanked the outgoing chief inspector for his work.

"He has been compassionate and forthright in the eight years he has served as chief inspector," he said.

He also predicted that Dr McLellan would make an "excellent" successor to Mr Fairweather.

"No-one can be in any doubt as to his independence and his commitment to prisons," he said.

During his year as Moderator, Dr McLellan visited each of Scotland's penal establishments.

'Very damaging'

He is also a former chaplain at Cornton Vale prison, Scotland's only women's jail.

Speaking after his appointment, Dr McLellan stressed he would not shy away from controversial issues.

He said that closing Peterhead Prison would be "very damaging and very costly" for the local community.

He also warned that he had yet to be convinced that plans to build up to three new private prisons represented the best way forward.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Reevel Alderson reports
"The man who is taking over is no friend of prison privatisation"
See also:

10 Mar 02 | Scotland
13 Jan 02 | Scotland
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