Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Work starts on new Low Moss jail

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill and Councillor Douglas Yates on a visit to the site
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and Cllr Douglas Yates on a visit to the site

The construction of Scotland's newest prison has begun.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill was there to see work start on the site of HMP Low Moss in Bishopriggs, East Dunbartonshire.

The publicly-built and publicly-funded prison, which will have 700 cells for male inmates and 300 staff, will cost about £100m.

It is being built on the site of the previous HMP Low Moss which was demolished.

Construction is expected to take about 21 months and will be carried out by Carillion plc.

'Community payback'

Mr MacAskill said: "What we will not do is build even more prisons simply to fill them with people whose offending could be dealt with more effectively in the community.

"What a successful offender management approach requires is a combination of modern prisons for the most serious offenders and tough community payback programmes for less serious offenders.

"We need tough and secure prisons for those who need to be detained, but we do not need people getting free bed and board at the taxpayers expense when they should be paying back by hard work in the community."

Mr MacAskill said Low Moss was the country's "first entirely new public prison in many, many years".

"This is an investment not just in our criminal justice system but an investment in jobs for the construction industry - vital in the current economic climate," Mr MacAskill added.

However, Labour's justice spokesman, Richard Baker, said: "This prison was a Labour initiative which has now been delayed significantly by Kenny MacAskill.

"It is laughable that the justice secretary should today be crowing about progress in construction at the prison when it is the SNP that has dithered over it since coming to power and presiding over record levels of prison overcrowding."

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