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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Inmates lose 'slopping out' claim
Slopping out
The prisoners claim slopping out breaches their human rights
A group of prisoners have lost a legal attempt to stop them from having to slop out in Edinburgh's Saughton jail.

The seven inmates wanted interim orders securing their detention in improved conditions but the Court of Session in Edinburgh refused to grant them.

The men are in the prison's protection wing and are given chamber pots and plastic container for toilet use which they have to empty in the morning.

The orders would have given them access to proper toilet facilities.

Response time

Lord Carloway said it would not be appropriate to commit the Scottish Executive to the orders without giving ministers the chance to respond to the prisoners' claims.

He said: "A change in regime of the type envisaged would involve substantial expenditure either on prison fabric or fittings or on manpower for the night shift."

The court heard there were currently about 100 cases challenging prison conditions or seeking damages before Scottish courts, mostly at sheriff court level.

Saughton prison
The prisoners are housed in Saughton Prison's protection wing

He said the motions might be reconsidered but suspected it was more realistic that a full hearing would have to take place.

The Saughton prisoners have raised an action for judicial review and claim they are being detained in conditions that violate their human rights.

They are also seeking damages totalling 87,000.

The seven prisoners behind the case include Gavin Davidson, 45, jailed for 10 years for rape, and Nigel Mackenzie, 36, who was given seven years for abusing boys.

The men have raised a number of other complaints about the size, lighting, cleanliness, heating and ventilation in cells.

Mental anguish

They also claim the lack of work and recreation and the consequent monotony has increased risks to their health and caused them "to experience feelings of loss of self-esteem, stress, depression, disgust, embarrassment, humiliation and mental anguish".

They allege the use of a chamber pot and bottle in the cells is "degrading and unsafe" and their "human dignity is diminished".

The prisoners maintain that the governor of Saughton and the executive have failed to act in terms compatible with the human rights' convention.

Their concerns were raised following the case of robber Robert Napier who secured a ruling that the conditions he was held in Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison were degrading and breached his human rights.

His eczema flared up and he was awarded 2,450 in April this year.

Report critical of Edinburgh jail
10 Jun 04  |  Scotland
More time for slopping out appeal
09 Jun 04  |  Scotland
Prisoner wins 'slopping out' case
26 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Peterhead Prison 'as bad as ever'
13 May 04  |  Scotland


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