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Gillian Sharpe reports
"The whole incident is under investigation"
 real 56k

Saturday, 5 August, 2000, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Prisoner blunder inquiry call
Kilmarnock Prison
The jail opened in March last year
Calls have been made for independent inquiry into why a prisoner was mistakenly released from Scotland's only private jail.

The Scottish National Party's justice spokeswoman, Roseanna Cunningham, believes it is vital to know why the blunder was allowed to happen.

Remand prisoner James Montgomery, 33, was being held at Bowhouse jail in Kilmarnock facing charges of perverting the course of justice.

Roseanna Cunningham
Roseanna Cunningham: "Public fears"
He was freed earlier this week after the Scottish Prison Service admitted there had been an "administrative mistake".

Strathclyde Police, who said they were only told of his release on Friday, recaptured Montgomery in Kilmarnock shortly after midnight on Friday.

Officers said he would be returned to the jail on Saturday.

News of the release comes just days after Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, Clive Fairweather, expressed concern about staffing levels at the Ayrshire jail.

Ms Cunningham said the incident would only add fuel to the controversy over private prisons.

Internal inquiry

She added: "This incident involving Scotland's only privately-run prison will not assuage public fears of Tory policies being continued by Labour to privatise Scotland's prisons."

An internal inquiry is now under way at the jail and Justice Minister Jim Wallace has asked to be kept informed.

Bowhouse Prison, which normally houses 500 prisoners, was financed under the UK Government's Private Finance Initiative.

Inmates, including all those on remand, are Category B prisoners, meaning they do not need to be held in high-security cells.

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See also:

05 Aug 00 | Scotland
Release blunder prisoner recaptured
04 Aug 00 | Scotland
Prisoner set free 'by mistake'
20 Jul 00 | Scotland
Staff rate concern at private jail
08 Mar 00 | Scotland
Boy removed from adult jail
06 Mar 00 | Scotland
Boy held in adult jail
15 Feb 00 | Scotland
Private jail faces inspection
23 Sep 99 | Scotland
Unrest at privately-run prison
27 Apr 99 | UK
Inmates down tools
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