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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 June, 2005, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Prison 'fails to move with times'
Dumfries Prison
Officers were taken to task in the report for how they treated inmates
The chief inspector of prisons has issued a strongly critical report on Dumfries Prison.

Procedures are out-of-date and equipment broken and old-fashioned, according to a catalogue of complaints from Andrew McLellan.

He was also unhappy with the management of long-term inmates.

"Some work occurs on an ad hoc basis and an attempt is made to do statutory work. Otherwise, the situation is extremely poor," he said.

Dr McLellan went on: "Long-term inmates have complex needs and it is disappointing that the Scottish Prison Service scheme for long-term prisoners does not operate in any coherent way."

There are good reasons for staff to wear name badges
Andrew McLellan
Chief Inspector of Prisons

The prison inspector, who praised the standard of cleanliness and the quality of food, also highlighted as a "major issue" the level of staff shortages at the jail, which houses nearly 180 inmates.

At the time of the inspection, 12 members of staff were on sick leave and previous high levels of illness were found to have caused "significant difficulties".

Guards were also accused of showing prisoners "little respect", while others were reluctant to "engage" with inmates.

The inspector was also unhappy that on arrival, prisoners were interviewed standing up.

"This is a very traditional reception practice which should be reviewed," he said.

The dossier also criticised:

  • Prison officers not wearing name badges

  • Inmates being referred to by their surname

  • The description of the prison as a young offenders' institution, when it became a jail in 2003.

Referring to anonymous prison officers, Dr McLellan said: "Why this should be much more common in Dumfries than in other prisons is not clear.

"But it is one example among several of the difficulty this prison has had in changing with the times."

He continued: "There are good reasons why in other prisons cell doors no longer have name notices outside, why boards with prisoner names are no longer surname only - just as there are good reasons for staff to wear name badges.

Watchdog's worries

"But these good reasons have not caused change in Dumfries. These are among the serious challenges which face this prison."

A third of Scottish jails were failing to manage the sentences of long-term inmates properly, Dr McLellan said last month.

He added that he had raised serious questions about "sentence management" in at least five prison inspections last year.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said "radical new measures" proposed in the Scottish Executive's criminal justice reforms would improve the management of offenders and tackle re-offending.

Prisons 'fail' long-term inmates
16 May 05 |  Scotland
Reoffending targets under attack
03 May 05 |  Scotland
Prison population hits new high
25 Feb 05 |  Scotland
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21 Feb 05 |  Scotland

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