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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 April, 2004, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Minister reviews prison transfers
Thomas Loughery
The killer of Thomas Loughrey is still on the run
The justice minister is to hold talks on prison escort services following a week which has seen an intense row over the system's privatisation.

Convicted killer James McCormick was mistakenly freed by Reliance Custodial Services nine days ago.

Cathy Jamieson will meet the Scottish Prison Service's chief executive on Saturday to review Reliance's progress under the new contract.

The minister said changes had been made, but that more work was needed.

Reliance has revamped procedures, including identity checks, since McCormick's escape on 8 April, only days after it took over the transport of offenders in the west of Scotland.

On probation

The teenager was sentenced to life after being found guilty of stabbing 17-year-old Thomas Loughrey in the Pollokshaws area of Glasgow on 27 July, 2003.

McCormick had been appearing in court on an unconnected charge when it is understood he switched bail papers with another prisoner.

The managing director of the security firm, Tom Riall, apologised for the error and said it had revamped its procedures.

The roll-out of a new prisoner transport procedure was put on probation by the justice minister on Monday, while opposition parties accused Ms Jamieson of gambling with public safety by letting the Reliance contract continue.

Ms Jamieson will now hold talks with Tony Cameron, of the SPS, to determine what progress has been made under the new system.

The SPS has responsibility for monitoring the contract with Reliance.

Father's plea over escaped killer
15 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Killer urged to hand himself in
14 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Jamieson wins top-level support
14 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Escort boss 'sorry' over escape
13 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Probation for prison escort firm
12 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Police hunt for killer continues
11 Apr 04  |  Scotland

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