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Wednesday, 4 September, 2002, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Prison chief urges 'leadership'
Prison officer
Overcrowding remains a problem, the report says
Scotland's outgoing chief inspector of prisons has said more buildings will have to be built to tackle prison overcrowding.

In his annual report Clive Fairweather said uncertainty over the future of many jails had caused friction within the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).

His report identified strained industrial relations and urged greater emphasis on leadership rather than management.

Mr Fairweather, who will be replaced in October, said overcrowding could be tackled by building new accommodation blocks in existing jails.

In the longer term he said new jails would have to be built to deal effectively with the problem.

Clive Fairweather
Clive Fairweather: "More house blocks" needed

Scottish Executive ministers will announce on Thursday their decision on the Prisons Estates Review - which proposes the creation of three new private jails, with a projected saving of 700m.

Mr Fairweather said prison staff had gone through three years of "enormous uncertainty" and management would be foolish to ignore their concerns.

He said that building new blocks in existing prisons would be one way to deal with overcrowding.

Mr Fairweather said there was "a certain amount of space" in Edinburgh, Shotts and Glenochil to deal with the problem.

"Of all the Scottish prisons, we believe Peterhead has got the closest to providing what the public actually requires," he said.

'Parting advice'

"Its officers really are quite excellent role models and examples to the rest of the SPS."

The Victorian prison at Peterhead has built up an international reputation as a model for the treatment of those jailed for sex crimes.

Proposals to close the jail were met with anger from local people, leading legal figures and prison staff.

A petition calling for the facility to be retained was signed by almost 200 inmates, while prison officers' wives also campaigned against closure.

'Slopping out'

The public consultation process on the plans produced only one letter in favour of closing Peterhead.

Mr Fairweather said the problem of conditions for remand prisoners had been tackled but the issue of "slopping out" remained unresolved.

"My parting advice therefore is that there must be concentration now on dealing with the immediate future - more house blocks need to be built right now in the coming months, for example as were quickly put up at Edinburgh prison."

Andrew McLellan, a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will replace Mr Fairweather in October.

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 ON THIS STORY
Reevel Alderson reports
"Clive Fairweather says overcrowding is a real problem"
See also:

01 Sep 02 | Scotland
22 Jul 02 | Scotland
28 Jul 02 | Scotland
26 Jul 02 | Scotland
06 Jun 02 | Scotland
31 Aug 00 | Scotland
05 Jun 02 | Scotland
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