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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Slopping out ends at Barlinnie
Slopping out sign
Slopping out continues at four Scottish prisons
The controversial practice of prisoners slopping out in Scotland's largest jail has finally ended.

All prisoners at Barlinnie in Glasgow now have toilets in their cells.

Refurbishment of the prison's A hall paved the way for the closure of the only remaining cell block where inmates were still slopping out.

But the practice - which has been condemned as "disgraceful" by prisons inspector Dr Andrew McLellan - continues in four other Scottish jails.

Hundreds of prisoners still slop out in Polmont, Perth, Edinburgh and Peterhead prisons.

Slopping out should have ended throughout Scotland this year.

Degrading treatment

However, upgrading work was affected when the Scottish Executive clawed back 13m from the prison service budget.

Tony Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), said he was "delighted" slopping-out had ended at Barlinnie 122 years after its first block opened.

This is not about making life softer for offenders
Cathy Jamieson
Justice Minister
"This achievement has been made possible by the record level of investment in SPS by the Scottish Executive supplemented by savings which SPS has made by becoming more efficient and competitive," he said.

He added that the total capital investment by SPS in the prison estate is now running at almost 2m per week.

Mr Cameron said that it underlined the commitment by the executive to create a prison estate that was fit for the 21st century.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said the move to end slopping out at Barlinnie was an important one for the prison service.

Buckets in cells

She said: "This executive is committed to improving the conditions in the prison estate we inherited.

"We have already backed that commitment with sustained investment to allow SPS to make that a reality, and as I announced in May we are now taking steps to accelerate reforms to improve conditions and make better use of custody.

"This is not about making life softer for offenders. Investment in fair prison conditions will also contribute to improved public safety.

"It's about giving experienced, professional prison staff the environment they need to effectively tackle the offending behaviour that brings too many repeat offenders back into jail time and time again."

Slopping out
Prisoners claim slopping out breaches their human rights
Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie said she was pleased the slopping out practice had ended.

But she expressed worries that the "floodgates" would be opened to thousands of potential claims for compensation because the system continues in other prisons.

She said: "Sadly, a life of crime sometimes does pay under this government. If they are not letting you out of jail early under the ludicrous automatic early release scheme, they are letting you escape from court, and now they might pay you compensation because of slopping out."

Earlier this year a prisoner received compensation after a judge agreed that slopping out amounted to degrading treatment.

Lord Bonomy awarded 2,400 to robber Robert Napier, who had been held at Barlinnie.

The inmate had argued that the practice, where prisoners use buckets in their cells, breached his human rights.

The executive has lodged an appeal against the ruling.


SEE ALSO:
Inmates lose 'slopping out' claim
02 Aug 04  |  Scotland
More time for slopping out appeal
09 Jun 04  |  Scotland
Row over 'slopping out' funding
28 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Prisoner wins 'slopping out' case
26 Apr 04  |  Scotland


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