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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Prisoner complaint numbers fall
Dumfries Prison
More than 150 complaints were made at Dumfries Prison
The number of complaints filed by inmates at Scottish prisons has fallen from a 12-year high.

A total of 403 grievances were lodged with the Scottish Prison Complaints Commission (SPCC) in 2005/06, down from 460 in the previous 12 months.

The largest number of complaints at a single prison came in Dumfries, where a total of 157 were received.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said it welcomed the overall fall in the number of complaints received.

The SPCC report catalogues the number and nature of the complaints.

Aberdeen 4
Barlinnie 6
Castle Huntly 7
Cornton Vale 1
Dumfries 147
Edinburgh 11
Glenochil 10
Greenock 11
Inverness 1
Kilmarnock 24
Low Moss 2
Noranside 0
Other 1
Perth 5
Peterhead 45
Polmont 2
Shotts 21

It ruled that 298 of the 403 complaints received in 2006/07 were within its jurisdiction.

Conciliation was achieved in 145 of these cases, while 32 were dropped by prisoners before the commission completed its investigations.

Nearly half of the complaints within the SPCC's jurisdiction came at Dumfries prison.

The areas of greatest concern there were health and safety, canteen facilities and the overall physical environment.

Commenting in the report the Complaints Commissioner Vaughan Barrett said he had welcomed opportunities this year to be "proactive in contributing to stability within Scotland's prisons".

"The challenges met by our staff this year reminded us of the importance of remaining flexible in our approach to complaints handling and of the significant role that we play in helping to defuse hostilities," he said.

A spokesman for the SPS welcomed the overall fall in figures.

"We welcome the report and the fact that the number of complaints is falling," he said.

"We always seek to resolve prison complaints as closely as we can to the complaint."

He added that the governor at Dumfries Prison would be analysing the complaints to see if they were being managed appropriately.

Prison segregation

"The number of complaints is high - the same as they were last year," he said.

"I think that in part is reflective of the population at Dumfries.

"The majority of the prisoners held there are prisoners who require to be segregated from the main population."

In 2005/06, a large number of the complaints in Dumfries were made by a small number of prisoners.

The SPS spokesman said it was too early to say whether this had been the case again in 2006/07.

Prison complaints reach new high
02 Aug 06 |  South of Scotland
Prison tackles string of concerns
12 Jul 06 |  South of Scotland
Prison 'fails to move with times'
02 Jun 05 |  Scotland

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