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Doncaster Prison, South Yorkshire, UK
May 6, 2005 The Mirror
VALENTINE'S Day killer Paul Dyson slit his wrists and scrawled "Sorry" on his jail cell wall before admitting responsibility for his girlfriend Joanne Nelson's death. The former bouncer, charged earlier this week, smuggled a small blade into his prison. A guard found him slumped on the floor of his cell in the early hours. Doncaster Prison, where Dyson is being held, opened nine years ago and was Britain's first private jail. It is run by Premier Prisons, which is partly American owned. The jail has been hit by controversy in the past, with allegations of bullying and high numbers of suicides.

Dungavel Immigration Centre, Scotland
May 19, 2010 Morning Star
Concrete evidence of the Con-Dem government's contempt for the most vulnerable was already surfacing on Wednesday after one of their headline pledges was shown to be a farce. Anger erupted among human rights campaigners after it emerged that the coalition's announcement that it was committed to ending child detention for immigration purposes had already been severely undermined. Immigration Minister Damian Green boasted on Wednesday of the new government's quick progress that, "with immediate effect, children will no longer be detained overnight at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre. "This is something which many groups in Scotland have been calling for and we are now delivering this positive outcome." But it emerged that the detention of those children and their mothers would continue, as they are instead being transferred to the notorious Yarl's Wood Immigration Centre in Bedfordshire. And Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell wrote to new Home Secretary Theresa May on Wednesday detailing his "strong concerns" when he found out that, on Monday, Pakistani woman Sehar Shebaz and her eight-month-old daughter Wanya were taken into Dungavel. The two are due to be moved to Yarl's Wood. Glasgow MSP Anne McLaughlin said: "The House of Commons has been highly critical of child detention in Yarl's Wood and we must see this practice brought to an end across the UK as soon as possible." Yarl's Wood made the headlines earlier this year after women, many of whom are rape and torture survivors, went on hunger strike against the alleged inhumane treatment they were suffering at the hands of the centre's staff, who are employed by security giant Serco. Black Women's Rape Action Project co-ordinator Cristel Amiss said the pledge to end child detention should be extended to mothers, pointing out that the trauma of a mother and child being separated causes suicidal feelings in mothers and symptoms such as nightmares and bed-wetting in children. She said there was no evidence that detention of mothers and children was necessary as the UK Border Agency itself has admitted that there is no risk of absconding. "No mother wants to rip her child out of school and put them through lying low somewhere - it doesn't happen." Ms Amiss also highlighted that Britain was a signatory to the UN Convention for Refugees, but "successive governments have dismantled that to the point where Britain does not give protection and safety, particularly for those who are the most vulnerable. "Women have told us they had to seek asylum and had to come to Britain because Britain has been involved in promoting wars they have fled and providing arms for rebel forces." The Home Office insisted that detention would continue while a review was carried out into alternatives. End Child Detention Now spokeswoman Esme Madil said: "We see absolutely no reason to delay this while the review is taking place. "Immigration detention should have ended immediately."

May 18, 2005 BBC
Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said provision for children at the Dungavel immigration detention centre in Lanarkshire was "inadequate". Ms Owers also attacked the "seriously deficient" protection of children at Tinsley House near Gatwick. Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said detention must be carried out with humanity and dignity. Ms Owers said the Dungavel centre, which holds failed asylum seekers before deportation, had failed to implement recommendations made during a visit two years earlier. She said she was "extremely concerned" about children at the centre, and in all the immigration removal centres she had inspected. "Obviously the detention of children is a very sensitive matter which should be exceptional and only for a very short period," she told BBC News. "The problem was that in neither of those centres were there proper independent procedures in place so that the welfare needs of those children could be properly identified and met, and so that any serious concerns could be raised quickly." Dungavel House is Scotland's only immigration removal centre. On Tinsley House, Ms Owers said there was no dedicated child protection officer, and inadequate criminal record checks on staff. The privately-run centre was also attacked for weak complaints and race relations procedures. Linda Fabiani, deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament's cross-party group on refugees, condemned the "disgraceful" provision of care for children at Dungavel. "This report is a damning indictment of the centre and the Scottish Executive's policy on the handling of asylum seekers," the Scottish National Party MSP said. "The executive must now tell the Home Office that it is not acceptable that these children are being failed on Scottish soil and demand action now." The Scottish Socialist Party MSP, Rosie Kane, said: "Dungavel detention centre is Scotland's national disgrace. "The detention of innocent men, women and children on Scottish soil is an abuse of human rights, of the right under international law to seek asylum.
"The detention of children is absolutely barbaric."

An investigation has been launched after a man was found dead at the Dungavel immigration centre.  The Home Office confirmed that there was a death on Friday night, but refused to give any further details.  It is understood that the death at the Lanarkshire centre is not being treated as suspicious.  Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar claimed that the man had committed suicide after he was moved from a centre in west London following a riot.  There was a disturbance at Harmondsworth earlier this month after a 31-year-old detainee was found hanged.  (BBC, July 25, 2004)

Kilmarnock (Bowhouse), Scotland
February 10, 2010 Evening Times
Two inmates at Scotland’s first private jail were involved in a late-night disturbance causing damage to a prison wing. Emergency services were put on stand-by at HMP Kilmarnock in Ayrshire after trouble flared around 8.30pm and lasted several hours. Police were alerted and an ambulance team were standing by at the privately run facility. Two inmates were said to be unhappy about being in Kilmarnock and sparked a disturbance. Damage was cause to Bravo wing and at one stage prison officers were forced to withdraw. The inmates tried to encourage others to get involved but their attempts failed. An investigation into the incident is expected to get under way later today. A prison source said: “Two prisoners tried to get a bit heavy with the staff and caused a disturbance which went on for several hours. “Staff had temporarily to withdraw but the situation was then dealt with and the prison returned to normal within a few hours.” Although emergency services were on the scene, no one is believed to have been injured.

September 9, 2009 BBC
Scotland's Information Commissioner has ordered the release of key financial data from a £50m PFI contract for Kilmarnock jail. The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and the private jail's operator had resisted giving the information to the union Unison. They argued it would substantially prejudice the contractor's commercial interests. Unison said it was "a major victory for the public's right to know". The prison is operated by Serco on behalf of the Scottish Prison Service. The SPS said it was "currently considering its response". Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion said the significance of the financial model data had diminished substantially since the 25-year contract was signed in November 1997. Unison's Scottish organiser Dave Watson said the union had long argued there was too much secrecy around PFI and Public Private Partnership (PPP) contracts. "Too often the public is denied information about the costs of hospital, school and prison contracts on the grounds of commercial prejudice or commercial confidentiality," he said. "This decision is extremely important and should help pave the way for greater access to information about all PFI/PPP contracts." Unison had also requested the Full Business Case (FBC) for the Kilmarnock Prison, but Mr Dunion accepted this was not held. Mr Watson added: "The fact that there is no Full Business Case for the prison speaks volumes about the way public funding has been wasted on PFI/PPP. "The public was always told these projects would deliver value for money but has seen these claims unravel spectacularly over the years. "The figures have frequently been manipulated, or withheld, or in this case, were not even calculated beforehand in any meaningful way."

May 24, 2009 Sunday Mail
A ROOKIE guard has been awarded almost £120,000 for stress she suffered in a prison riot. Ann Hinshelwood says prisoners battled with warders when they did not get milk and cornflakes for breakfast. The 40-year-old was trapped behind a glass partition and forced to watch the riot unfold, which she claims caused her post-traumatic stress disorder. She said: "A lot of prisoners didn't get the milk and breakfast they were entitled to and they were bawling and shouting." Hinshelwood also says her training was so bad she had to ask inmates how to lock their cells. Once she even locked prisoners out of their cells by mistake because she did not know how to use the keys properly. Hinshelwood added: "I didn't know what I was doing and didn't have anyone to help me. I didn't have a clue. "I felt inadequate and stupid because I didn't know the routine and prisoners were trying to tell me what to do." Hinshelwood joined HMP Bowhouse in Kilmarnock as a guard having been a prison office clerk. She was trained from textbooks and, during the sevenweek course, had no practical experience. The riot escalated after fellow custody officer Mark Ritchie challenged an inmate to a fight. The riot was finally brought under control by a response team. Hinshelwood has been on sick leave for the last eight years since she was caught in the middle of the riot in 2001. She launched the claim against private prison operators Premier Custodial Group for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and stress. Hinshelwood, of Strathaven, Lanarkshire, was awarded £116,210 last week at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court after a four-year legal battle. The award was based on her past and future loss of earnings. The court was told that Hinshelwood had been singled out for promotion and would have been earning upwards of £30,000 a year by now. She has also launched a separate claim for legal costs and, if successful, Premier may be forced to pay out a further £50,000. In his judgment, Sheriff Colin Mackay blamed Ritchie and his bosses for the events which led to her suffering the trauma. He said: "It was the duty of Mark Ritchie to take reasonable care for the safety of fellow members of staff. It was his duty not to get involved in fights with prisoners. In each and all of these duties he failed. "His employers at the time are liable for his fault and negligence." The Kilmarnock prison is regarded as a soft option by many hardened cons. It has been dubbed the "Killie Hilton" because it has facilities such as a recording studio and sports hall. All cells have central heating and inmates are allowed DVD players and TVs. A spokesman for HMP Bowhouse said yesterday: "We are studying the judgment and will decide what further legal action to take."

July 18, 2008 Sunday Herald
A PRISONER died from suspected meningitis
afterpleasfor medical help from his cell were overlooked by warders at Kilmarnock Prison, a Fatal Accident Inquiry is likely to hear. Andrew Sorley had previously fallen into a coma with the disease and it will be claimed he knew the symptoms. As he begged to be taken to hospital, it is alleged that staff at Scotland's only private jail dismissed his claims, saying he was "at it". Medics did not attend to Sorley until 13 hours after his initial calls for help and he later died at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow on June 20. The death, which will be the subject of a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI), raises questions about public health issues and contagion in prisons. Fellow inmates say Sorley, serving two years for carrying two knives in public, was heard banging on the door of his cell pleading for help. Prisoners later tried to revive him after he had collapsed on the floor of his cell. Prisoner Peter Simpson told the Sunday Herald that warders checked on Sorley three times during the night but he did not receive medical help until 9am. Simpson, serving six years for stabbing a man who had shot him in an earlier attack, said he desperately tried to help Sorley in his cell the next morning. Sorley's medical records were not sent with the patient to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, and as a result diagnosis was delayed, Simpson claims. Figures from the Scottish Prison Service reveal that HMP Kilmarnock has a higher than average number of deaths in custody in Scotland, the Sunday Herald can exclusively reveal. The UK has the highest level of deaths in custody in Europe. Prisoners are entitled to prompt medical attention and care under prison rule 33 and the European Convention on Human Rights. Simpson said Sorley had complained of feeling unwell as early as 8pm on the evening of Monday, June 16. He claims: "It is also known that prison staff were aware of Drew's medical status as a head-injured person and that he had previously been in a coma as a result of meningitis. "Drew appeared in some distress. He appeared completely disorientated and needed to lean on the walls to steady himself. It was as if he was drunk. "Drew was by this time lying on the floor of his cell and a prisoner was present when Drew told an officer that he knew what was wrong with him. He told the officer that he had suffered from meningitis in the past and said the last time he had experienced symptoms like this, his family called an ambulance and Drew fell into a coma for three days. Simpson claimed staff said they would see what they could do, but as the officer walked back to the D wing with the prisoner, it is alleged that the second prisoner was told Drew was "at it", and "he was probably suffering from the flu and was only looking for tablets". A month before he died, it is alleged Sorley complained to prison authorities and submitted a formal medical complaint claiming he was being denied access to proper medical care. A Scottish government spokesman said: "The justice secretary Kenny McAskill has repeatedly said that we will put public safety, not private profit, at the heart of our coherent prisons policy." The Crown Office declined to disclose how many FAIs had been held from deaths at Kilmarnock prison, or the total number of FAIs for all prisons in Scotland. Serco, the private company that runs HMP Kilmarnock, confirmed there is a nurse or qualified paramedic on each night shift. A spokeswoman said: "We are not in a position to comment on the cause of death. We are waiting for the post mortem results. "We can confirm that our prison officers have first aid training, but cannot confirm that all the officers working that night had first aid training. A trained nurse was on duty that night. We are running our own internal inquiry into the death of Andrew Sorley." She refused to confirm or deny any of the details of the incident.

June 8, 2008 Sunday Mail
BOSSES at Scotland's only private jail are being taken to court after a con lost his thumb in the jail's workshop. Barry O'Pray claims they are to blame for his finger being severed by a circular saw. Serco - who run Bowhouse jail near Kilmarnock - have been charged with failing to provide adequate training and supervision for inmates. It is the first time a jail has been taken to court by the Health and Safety Executive for putting prisoners at risk. If the criminal action is successful, it is likely O'Pray will sue the jail. Serco said: "We will be defending the charges vigorously." It is thought Serco will argue O'Pray deliberately injured himself to get compensation and took painkillers before his thumb was sliced off in January 2007. They will claim he was heard on the phone after the incident saying: "It's sorted out." O'Pray - who has a string of convictions for various offences, including dishonesty - was taken to hospital but surgeons could not save his thumb. The trial will take place at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court in September. Last night, O'Pray, who is in his 40s, could not be contacted for comment. A woman who now lives in his former council flat in Crosshouse, Kilmarnock, said: "The police are never away from the door looking for him. I had to write to them to say he no longer lives here." Bowhouse opened nine years ago and has been hit by a string of security and safety breaches. Remand prisoner David Martin, 20, was jailed in March for at least 24 years for killing another inmate in the jail's hospital wing last year. Prison wardens were slammed for not helping the victim while he was attacked. Last year, two senior officers were suspended - one for a relationship with a con and the other for allegedly taking bets on when an inmate with cancer would die. Two years ago, the prison was sued for £200,000 by former guard Ann Hinshelwood, who claimed she was so badly trained she locked inmates out of their cells by mistake. Seven men also committed suicide in the prison between 1999 and 2005. But an inspector recently praised Bowhouse for its accommodation and prisoners' treatment. The Government pay £130million over 25 years to have the prison run privately. It has been dubbed the Killie Hilton due to facilities such as a recording studio, gym, sports hall and football pitches. All cells have central heating and inmates are allowed their own DVD players and TVs.

April 27, 2008 Sunday Mail
A PRISONER was caught hiding a contraband mobile phone up his backside - when warders dialled the number. The cheeky inmate had no option but to surrender the handset when staff heard his ring tone. A jail insider said: "They had long suspected he had a phone but couldn't work out where he kept it. "They somehow got hold of the number and decided there was only one way of establishing if it was his. "When it rang he was bouncing off the walls and confessed." The incident at Kilmarnock jail last week comes amid revelations that Scotland's jails are flooded with illicit mobiles. Last year, 748 were found - up from 568 in 2006 and just 26 in 2002. Mobiles allow inmates to conduct crime unchecked from behind bars.

March 20, 2008 BBC
A man who murdered a fellow inmate in a "horrific" prison attack has been sentenced to at least 24 years in jail. David Martin was captured on CCTV in June 2007 as he kicked and stamped on Michael Cameron at Kilmarnock Prison. The judge said questions would be asked about why prison staff had failed to intervene, but Serco - which runs the private jail - defended its procedures. The sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh also covered Martin's killing of Gilbert Grierson in March 2006. Martin was sentenced to life after admitting murdering Mr Cameron and was told he would have to serve a minimum of 24 years before he could apply for parole. That sentence also encompasses his period of punishment for killing Mr Grierson. The 20-year-old had previously admitted culpable homicide by killing Mr Grierson, 46, with knives, scissors, a frying pan and a bottle and setting his home in Irvine on fire. His attack on Mr Cameron happened three months after Martin was remanded for killing Mr Grierson, who was his mother's former boyfriend. The incident, in Kilmarnock Prison's health wing, also saw Martin pour boiling water over his victim. Mr Cameron was on remand at the time, accused of rape. A prison officer witnessed the murder but did not intervene until re-enforcements arrived. Under prison protocol a total of three custody officers should restrain any one prisoner. Martin's lawyer, Bill McVicar, described his client as a damaged individual who had a life of breathtaking deprivation. But the judge, Lord Matthews, said Martin's background was not an excuse for his actions. "You are no stranger to violence and it will be difficult to forget the CCTV images showing what you did to Mr Cameron," he said. "I do not know what kind of warped morality made you think it was appropriate to act in that manner. "No doubt questions will be asked and I know they are already being asked about the fact that this happened in prison while staff were watching." 'Tragic occurrence' -- Serco spokesman Michael Clarke said: "There were four prisoners in the healthcare unit in a ward and there was one prison officer and one nurse in the immediate area when this horrific attack erupted. "He quite rightly called for re-enforcements before entering the ward to stop the incident and within a couple of minutes extra staff had arrived." Figures released last month by the Scottish Government showed a total of 225 prisoners had been assaulted at HMP Kilmarnock in the past seven years. Last year, 49 assaults took place - a record number.

February 22, 2008 BBC
The company running Scotland's only private jail will review the case of an inmate murdered by a fellow prisoner, but said there was no staff shortage. David Martin, 20, kicked and stamped on Michael Cameron and poured boiling water over his head, in an attack captured on CCTV. A prison officer and a nurse witnessed the attack, but the warder could not intervene until reinforcements arrived. Prison operator Serco told BBC Scotland that staff took the correct action. At the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday, Martin, on remand for murder at the time of the prison incident, admitted murdering Cameron. Another prisoner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was involved on the attack on Cameron on 16 June, 2006. The victim was on remand at the time of the attack, which took place in a four-bed cell in Kilmarnock Prison's health care wing. Serco spokesman Michael Clarke told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme that Kilmarnock was a "safe" prison. "It is, however, holding some violent and unpredictable men," he said. Lessons learned -- "Although we do as much as we possibly can to minimise the chances of violence in the prison, given the nature of the people we are looking after there, we cannot guarantee that there will never be any violent incidents." Mr Clarke added: "You wouldn't have enough staff everywhere in the prison to deal with anything breaking out anywhere, because the prison is quiet at night and there was an unprovoked, unforeseeable attack in the health care unit. "Staff were called from other parts of the prison and arrived very quickly." The incident, he added, would be looked at again and assessment procedures on the supply of kettles to prisoners reviewed, to see if lessons could be learned.

February 21,  2008 BBC
A killer has admitted murdering a fellow inmate in a prison cell while on remand at HMP Kilmarnock. David Martin, 20, kicked and stamped on Michael Cameron and poured boiling water over his head, in an attack captured on CCTV. A prison officer and a nurse witnessed the attack. The warder could not intervene until reinforcements arrived. Martin was on remand for murder at the time but the Crown accepted his plea to a reduced charge of culpable homicide. Another prisoner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was involved on the attack on Mr Cameron on 16 June, 2006 in a four-bed cell in HMP Kilmarnock's health wing. Mr Cameron was on remand at the time. Prison protocol -- Paul McBride QC said prison officer Craig Brennan wanted to stop the attack but was ordered by a superior not to enter the cell until reinforcements arrived. Mr Brennan's boss was concerned for the safety of his staff. Prison protocol dictates three custody officers should restrain any one prisoner. Mr McBride said after Martin had been restrained he attacked Mr Cameron again. He said the accident and emergency doctor who attended to Mr Cameron at Crosshouse Hospital had rarely seen injuries of such severity. HMP Kilmarnock is Scotland's only private prison. Serco, which runs the prison, said: "Our condolences go to Mr Cameron's family for their tragic loss. "We pay tribute to the bravery of our staff who showed real courage in restraining Martin and providing medical assistance to Mr Cameron." Figures released on Wednesday by the Scottish government showed a total of 225 prisoners had been assaulted at HMP Kilmarnock in the past seven years. Last year, 49 assaults took place - a record number.

January 6, 2008 Scotland on Sunday
SCOTLAND’S flagship private jail has emerged as the most violent in the country in a damning report by the chief inspector of prisons. Kilmarnock - which has been vaunted by the government as a blueprint for modern prisons - had the highest number of attacks on warders and the most fireraising incidents of any jail in Scotland. The report by Clive Fairweather - which has been seen by Scotland on Sunday - also reveals that Kilmarnock has the worst staff turnover in the prison service, and that a culture of fear exists among warders. Fairweather’s safety and crime prevention report reveals that in 12 months up to March 1 this year, 21 fires had been started at Kilmarnock and there were 29 assaults on staff - the highest for both categories in the prison service. It shows that prisoner discipline is the worst in any Scottish jail and that violence among inmates is rife. The report, says: "The prison was operating 13 staff under complement at the time of inspection, which was adding considerable pressure to an already difficult staffing situation." Fairweather added: "Custody officers claimed that staffing levels could at times be dangerously low, especially in ‘A’ wing and at weekends. They said that two members of staff had been assaulted over the past year, while there had also been a large number of less serious incidents. "We sensed generally that staff seemed to be even more concerned about safety than they had been a year ago (and being under complement could also have contributed to this). Examples were cited where it was impossible to arrange relief cover for toilet breaks, meaning that prisoners were left unsupervised, except by CCTV, during these periods." The findings of last month’s two-day inspection - the third since Kilmarnock opened in 1999 - are certain to embarrass ministers, who three weeks ago announced controversial plans to build a further three private jails in Scotland. Two anonymous letters, written by concerned staff at the jail and passed to Scotland on Sunday, will also add pressure on the Scottish Executive to scrap the strategy. Critics of the programme say privately operated prisons are most likely to try to save money by cutting back on staff, despite the risk that poses to warders and prisoners alike. Commercial confidentiality means the operators of private jails do not have to reveal their staffing levels. One prison officer claims in his letter that "the only reason that staff have not been seriously injured is because of the goodwill of the prisoners". It goes on: "When staff object or refuse to open wings [containing 60-80 prisoners] alone, they are pressurised by management. There are quite a lot of staff relatively new to the prison and they feel that their jobs are under threat if they do not comply. "I know for a fact that there is not enough staff to monitor all the cameras. There are two members of staff in this area to answer two telephones, operate electronic doors, communicate with radio users and deal with all alarms. It is not surprising that staff have no time to monitor wings or worksheds. "Staff feel that there have never been enough staff in the prison but this has become worse than ever and we feel that urgent action has to be taken." The other prison officer writes: "Staff shortages occur on a day-to-day basis throughout the prison. Staff regularly phone in sick due to stress. Everything the prisoners request they receive - televisions, DVDs, Game Boys, guitars, music centres, ghetto blasters. The phrase ‘inmates taking over the asylum’ comes to mind. It is about time an investigation into Kilmarnock was carried out." The revelations have angered opposition politicians and the prison officers’ union, who have branded Kilmarnock an "explosion waiting to happen". Derek Turner, assistant secretary of the Prison Officers Association Scotland, said: "A lot of things mentioned as being of concern in last year’s report have not been addressed. When you look at the number of custody officers it is no wonder that there are so many assaults against them." Michael Matheson, the SNP’s deputy justice spokesman, said: "What is extremely concerning is that the situation at Kilmarnock, which was bad last year in terms of assaults among prisoners and against staff, appears to have deteriorated further. "Given the extremely serious nature of a number of these findings, [the jail’s operators] Premier Prisons have got a lot of explaining to do. I want to have answers quickly as to what they propose to do to address the problem. It appears to be a prison that is going from bad to worse." A spokesman for Premier Prisons said: "Clive Fairweather’s report makes it clear that Kilmarnock continues to excel in many areas. There have been major reductions in staff turnover. People will use Kilmarnock as a stick to beat the Scottish Executive over the head with regards to privatisation. But they are adopting this policy so someone at the top must think that it is a good idea."

December 13, 2007 BBC
A prisoner has been found dead in his cell at Scotland's private prison, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has said. Stewart McBlain, 67, was remanded in custody on Monday and taken to HM Prison Kilmarnock while awaiting trial. Prison officers found him dead in his cell on Wednesday. It is understood he hanged himself. A spokesman for the SPS said: "Police and next of kin have now been informed and a fatal accident inquiry will be held in due course."

September 5, 3007 The Herald
Low-paid prison officers employed in the private sector are more vulnerable to the temptation of corruption, according to Kenny MacAskill. The Justice Secretary told MSPs yesterday that is one of the reasons why he does not want to see private companies running prisons. He said the only way corporations can run prisons more cheaply than the public sector is by having lower wages for staff, compromising security and morale. Appearing before Holyrood's Justice Committee, the Justice Minister disclosed the wide gulf in prisoner-warder ratios between the public sector and Kilmarnock Prison, with 4500 staff for a prison population of more than 7000, while the Ayrshire prison has 200 staff for 550 inmates. Mr MacAskill said some of that was because of the design of old prisons, and that the only saving from the private sector provision of prisons is in the wage bill: "I believe the prison officers in Scotland do an excellent job in very difficult circumstance, and I think we have to reward and treat them fairly. "I believe any strategy seeking to reduce what they are paid would not only damage them, it would damage security in our prisons." His appearance before the committee came days after the minister promised a radical shift in prison policy.

August 19, 2007 Sunday Mail
TWO senior prison officers have been suspended - one over her relationship with a con and another for allegedly taking bets on when an inmate with cancer would die. HMP Bowhouse in Kilmarnock - Scotland's only private prison - has been rocked by investigations into Wendy Hopkins and colleague Robert Crawford. Hopkins was suspended amid claims of an "inappropriate relationship" with prisoner David Goldie after she allegedly secured a job at the jail to be close to him. Crawford was sent home after being accused of running a book on when an alleged sex offender with cancer would die. Both officers deny the claims. Jail bosses told Hopkins, 28, to leave last Friday following an anonymous tip-off about her alleged closeness to Goldie before gathering their own "intelligence". Claims include she smuggled a mobile phone into his cell. But the probe will centre round a tip-off she applied for the job to be close to Goldie after he was sent there to serve a sentence for assault. An insider said: "They were said to have been in a relationship before he was banged up. "It's really bizarre - nobody has ever heard of anything like it before. "The gossip is that they were an item and when he got banged up she got herself a job here so they could be together. "There is CCTV everywhere in here so it isn't exactly the sort of thing that could be kept hidden. "She has been accused of smuggling stuff into him but bosses are staying really tight-lipped about it." At her home near Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire, the prison officer admitted she knew Goldie but denied they were in a relationship. She said: "I have been suspended but I don't even know why. "All they said was that they have received intelligence about me. Some people in the prison don't like me. I don't know what I'm supposed to have done. I am waiting for an interview. I'm gobsmacked by this." Last night a spokesman for Serco, the private firm which operates the prison, said: "As soon as this came to our attention we took action. "If there was an inappropriate relationship then that cannot be tolerated and now the disciplinary process must run its course." Goldie was transferred from Bowhouse to Greenock Prison the day before Hopkins was suspended. Insiders claim the move was linked to the probe but Hopkins said: "He was transferred because he was fighting." Prison chiefs are also investigating claims that Hopkins' colleague Crawford ran a sick sweepstake on when a terminally ill inmate would die. The prisoner is a cancer sufferer on remand as he waits to be charged with sex offences. Crawford faces disciplinary action. A prison insider said: "As in every prison, all suspected sex offenders are reviled but this bloke is on his way out and it is being taken very seriously. "Crawford was told to leave a week past Friday. He's a popular guy and everyone was shocked. But if he was caught doing this it has to go down as a bit of a stupid error. "This does the profession no good at all." At his home in a converted stable block near Kilmarnock, Crawford declined to comment. A spokesman for HM Prison Kilmarnock Bowhouse said: "An employee has been suspended pending a disciplinary investigation. It is very disappointing." The prison is dubbed the "Killie Hilton" because of soft conditions. Inmates have been given Setanta SPL football games for free and there are DVD players, TVs and videos in every cell. There are also personal trainers, gyms and officers bring inmates papers and milk in the morning.

May 26, 2007 The Scotsman
THE new Nationalist government is studying radical plans to nationalise Scotland's only privately-run prison, The Scotsman can reveal. Kenny MacAskill, the cabinet secretary for justice, has asked Executive civil servants urgently to tell him what it would cost to bring the controversial jail into the public ownership. The plan, which has been confirmed by John Swinney, the cabinet secretary for finance, comes after moves by the new government to stop the building of two new private prisons in Scotland. Mr MacAskill is looking at ways of preventing the proposed 700-capacity prison on the site of the existing Low Moss jail, near Bishopbriggs, from being run by the private sector. He has asked officials how much it would cost to buy out the contract for the Addiewell jail being built in West Lothian. Now he and his colleagues have gone a step further, asking civil servants if they can abolish private jails altogether - a longstanding policy of the SNP. The confirmation of the policy came from Mr Swinney. When asked by The Scotsman whether the SNP would try to take Kilmarnock into the Scottish Prison Service, he replied: "We have to look at what options are available to us and that's what we will do." Asked whether they would reverse the policy of the previous Labour/Lib Dem administration which supported the use of Kilmarnock as value for money, he added: "That's where I get into the ground where I would have to unpick existing arrangements." Mr MacAskill was unavailable to comment. An Executive spokeswoman confirmed that the new ministers were against private prisons. She said: "The new government has set out its commitment to a publicly-owned and run prison service." Derek Turner, the assistant secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, said: "We welcome any attempt by the SNP government to bring private prisons into the public sector." Last night, Labour, which had backed private prisons when in government, refused to reiterate its support for the policy. Margaret Curran, Labour's justice spokeswoman, said only: "Any SNP plans to bring these services back under direct public control will be scrutinised in depth by Scottish Labour. "What will be vital is that they are delivering the best possible value for the public pound, without compromising standards of delivery."

October 30, 2006 BBC
An inmate at Scotland's only private prison has died. Jason Ritchie, 30, was found dead by prison staff in his cell at HMP Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire. He was convicted at Glasgow High Court on 8 November 2005 of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement. An investigation is under way. A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said: "Police and next of kin have been informed and a fatal accident inquiry will be held in due course."

September 22, 2006 Scotsman
The governor of Scotland's only private prison appeared in court yesterday to explain why an inmate was set free. An agent for Bowhouse jail's Wendy Sinclair said the Kilmarnock prison had not received the man's arrest warrant.

September 18, 2006 The Scotsman
A PRISON officer at Scotland's only private jail has resigned after failing a drugs test. The 32-year-old was tested after being suspected of taking the prescription tranquiliser Benzodiazepine at Kilmarnock prison. A spokesman for Serco, the jail's operator, said he resigned before action was taken against him.

June 30, 2006 The Scotsman
TWO teenage prisoners have been sent for trial charged with murdering an inmate at Scotland's only private jail. David Martin, 19, and Andrew Kiltie, 18, are accused of punching, kicking and stamping Michael Cameron, 21, to death at Kilmarnock prison on 16 June.

June 18, 2006 BBC
A 21-year-old prisoner has died following a disturbance at the privately-run Kilmarnock prison. Michael Cameron from North Ayrshire was taken to Crosshouse Hospital with serious injuries at about 2330 BST on Friday but died on Saturday morning. Two other prisoners, aged 18 and 19, have been arrested in connection with the death and are due to appear at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on Monday. A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal's office.

June 18, 2006 Sunday Mail
A MURDER investigation was launched yesterday after a prisoner was beaten to death in Kilmarnock jail. The 21-year-old victim, a remand prisoner, was attacked in the hospital wing of the maximum security private prison late on Friday night. He was taken to Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, where he later died from multiple injuries. Two teenage prisoners were arrested yesterday and charged with his murder. Both are expected to appear at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court tomorrow on the murder charge. A police spokeswoman confirmed last night: "A 21-year-old man has died following an incident within HM Prison Kilmarnock. The prisoner sustained serious injuries following a disturbance at around 11.20pm on Friday. "A report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal. "Two men aged 18 and 19 have been arrested and are presently detained in custody in connection with the death." Police said that the dead man would not be identified until relatives had been informed.

September 14, 2005 The Herald
RELIANCE, the private security firm criticised over a series of prisoner escapes, has lost the multi-million pound contract for tagging offenders in Scotland. The initial £14m deal was awarded to Reliance Monitoring in January 2002 before being extended for a further 12 months, worth £8m, earlier this year. However, Serco, the com-pany which runs Scotland's only private prison, has now been awarded preferred bidder status for the tender to operate electronic monitoring on teenage and adult offenders from next April until 2011. The Scottish Executive is expected to make an official announcement next month. Critics believe the monitoring firm lost favour after its sister company, Reliance Custodial Services, took over prisoner escort responsibilities in April 2004. Just days into the seven-year £126m contract's roll-out, the firm allowed a number of prisoners to escape, including James McCormick, a convicted killer who was aged 17. The decision to award the contract to Serco is also expected to prove controversial. Serco owns Premier Custodial Services, the firm which runs Kilmarnock prison, and was rebuked earlier this year following claims of staff shortages and negligence. A BBC reporter found evidence that warders failed to carry out suicide checks, despite six suicides at the jail in a five-year period. The programme also claimed that officers failed to report offences, including heroin use, which would attract a fine, to protect the income of the jail's operator. The screening of Prison Undercover: The Real Story led to three staff being removed from their duties and an internal investigation by Premier. A fatal accident inquiry earlier this year into the suicide of an inmate at the prison in 2002 was highly critical of failures to monitor him. Premier said a number of improvements had already been introduced.

August 11, 2005 BBC
Nationalist MSP Alex Neil has called on the Scottish Executive to come clean over the cost of running Scotland's only privately operated prison. The executive has always refused to give information about the cost of Kilmarnock Prison, saying that it was commercially confidential. The Scottish National Party MSP's own research suggested it costs £17,602 per prisoner per year at Kilmarnock. But that cost did not include mortgage costs for the prison building, he said. Mr Neil said: "I am writing to the auditor general for Scotland to ask him to carry out a truly independent inquiry into the costs of Kilmarnock Prison and to compare these on a like-for-like basis with the costs of running our publicly-run prisons in Scotland. He added: "Furthermore the secrecy surrounding the contract to run Kilmarnock Prison needs to be ended. "
This is public money which is being wasted on a private prison, which as well as being costly to run has one of the worst performing records of any prison in Scotland."

August 6, 2005 Daily Record
A PRISON officer who claimed he was forced out of his job by smokers has lost his unfair dismissal case. Barry Cochrane said he had to resign after Kilmarnock Prison bosses failed to stop staff and inmates smoking in designated fume-free areas. The 34-year-old said prisoners and officers regularly ignored the no-smoking policy - and chiefs at the private jail turned a blind eye. The tribunal heard 97 per cent of the prison population smoke but are only allowed to light up in certain areas Cochrane, from Irvine, Ayrshire, said when he caught a prisoner smoking in the library with a woman warden, she told him: 'There are worse things a prisoner could do than smoking a cigarette.' Premier Prisons said they planned to put in an extractor system and ensure the no-smoking policy was more strictly enforced but Cochrane left before the grievance procedure ended.

August 11, 2005 BBC
Nationalist MSP Alex Neil has called on the Scottish Executive to come clean over the cost of running Scotland's only privately operated prison. The executive has always refused to give information about the cost of Kilmarnock Prison, saying that it was commercially confidential. The Scottish National Party MSP's own research suggested it costs £17,602 per prisoner per year at Kilmarnock. But that cost did not include mortgage costs for the prison building, he said. Mr Neil said: "I am writing to the auditor general for Scotland to ask him to carry out a truly independent inquiry into the costs of Kilmarnock Prison and to compare these on a like-for-like basis with the costs of running our publicly-run prisons in Scotland. He added: "Furthermore the secrecy surrounding the contract to run Kilmarnock Prison needs to be ended. "
This is public money which is being wasted on a private prison, which as well as being costly to run has one of the worst performing records of any prison in Scotland."

August 6, 2005 Daily Record
A PRISON officer who claimed he was forced out of his job by smokers has lost his unfair dismissal case. Barry Cochrane said he had to resign after Kilmarnock Prison bosses failed to stop staff and inmates smoking in designated fume-free areas. The 34-year-old said prisoners and officers regularly ignored the no-smoking policy - and chiefs at the private jail turned a blind eye. The tribunal heard 97 per cent of the prison population smoke but are only allowed to light up in certain areas Cochrane, from Irvine, Ayrshire, said when he caught a prisoner smoking in the library with a woman warden, she told him: 'There are worse things a prisoner could do than smoking a cigarette.' Premier Prisons said they planned to put in an extractor system and ensure the no-smoking policy was more strictly enforced but Cochrane left before the grievance procedure ended.

July 21, 2005 Daily Record
A PRISON officer claims he was forced to quit his job because he was constantly subjected to passive smoking.  Barry Cochrane, 34, said bosses at Kilmarnock Prison failed to enforce their smoking policy, leaving him exposed to tobacco fumes.  He claimed his health suffered and he had no option but to walk out.  Mr Cochrane is now suing Scotland's only private prison, claiming constructive and unfair dismissal.  A tribunal in Glasgow yesterday heard that 97 per cent of inmates smoked, but it was only allowed in certain parts of the Ayrshire jail.  Mr Cochrane, from Irvine, claimed prisoners often lit up elsewhere, with staff turning a blind eye. He also said other officers defied the rules.  Mr Cochrane added: 'I got headaches, sore eyes, stress due to grief from prisoners.

May 21, 2005 BBC
A prison guard suspended over allegations that he disguised himself as an inmate to try to get methadone has resigned. The 22-year-old was working at Kilmarnock Prison in Ayrshire, Scotland's only private jail. He is alleged to have gone with a group of prisoners who were due to receive the heroin substitute. Jail operators Premier Custodial Services said inquiries into the incident would continue. It is understood the officer was stopped by a nurse before he reached the head of the queue and claimed his actions had been intended as a joke. He was immediately suspended from duty. Kilmarnock Prison was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when three members of staff were removed from normal duties after an undercover BBC investigation claimed that staff ignored heroin abuse and failed to monitor vulnerable inmates.

May 20, 2005 BBC
A guard has been suspended after claims that he disguised himself as a prisoner and joined a queue for methadone at Scotland's private prison. He is alleged to have gone with a group of prisoners who were due to receive the heroin substitute at Kilmarnock Prison in Ayrshire. The 22-year-old was stopped before he reached the head of the queue. He claimed his actions had been intended as a joke but was immediately suspended from duty. A spokesman for the operators, Premier Custodial Services, confirmed that a member of staff had been suspended following "allegations of a breach of disciplinary procedure". Kilmarnock Prison was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when three members of staff were removed from normal duties after claims of malpractice in an undercover BBC investigation.
Prison chiefs launched an inquiry into allegations that staff ignored heroin abuse and failed to monitor vulnerable inmates despite six suicides at the jail in the past five years.

May 1, 2005 Sunday Mail
A PRISONER has won £1500 compensation from jail bosses - for slicing his thumb in a prison workshop. Now Andrew Halliday, 48, is suing them again - for letting him fall out of his bunk bed. Halliday, 48, who is blind in one eye, is complaining that they made him sleep in a top bunk.  Controversial £130million Kilmarnock Prison came under fire after a BBC documentary led to three staff being removed from duty. The report said prison officers missed suicide checks on vulnerable inmates. Seven men have killed themselves at the prison since 1999.

April 26, 2005 Evening Times
CHILDREN are regularly held in Scotland's only private jail, a report revealed today. Last year five youngsters aged 15 spent up to a week in Kilmarnock Prison, although not at the same time. Andrew McLellan, Chief Inspector of Prisons, who published the report, said there were good reasons to believe children should not be kept in adult jails. He added: "Whenever I find children under 16 in a prison I condemn it. "There is no reason to believe they are not treated properly, but there are very good reasons to believe children should not be in prison. Prison is no place for a child." Last year Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson commissioned research to investigate the problem and the Executive has vowed to increase the number of secure unit places by 40. The report also found that Kilmarnock, which is run by Premier Prisons and has had a controversial history since it opened in 1999, had lower staffing levels and a higher turnover of officers than Scottish Prison Service jails. It also noted educational opportunities were "impoverished" and criticised the standard of food. The lack of proper provision for basic education for adult inmates was very serious, said Mr McLellan and, despite a budget considerably greater than that in SPS prisons, the food was not good. Staffing at the jail was "considerably less than at other large jails". The report said: "Kilmarnock has a total number of staff which is 80 to 120 less than the total number of staff at Edinburgh or Perth prisons, which are frequently compared to Kilmarnock in terms of size and function."

April 26, 2005 BBC
Management at Kilmarnock Prison should take "urgent steps" to provide better numeracy and literacy courses for inmates, a report has said.  The chief inspector of prisons, Dr Andrew McLellan, also said that staffing at Scotland's only private jail remained a matter of concern.  Last month three members of staff at the Ayrshire prison, which is run by Premier Custodial Services, were removed from normal duties after claims of malpractice in an undercover BBC investigation. Prison chiefs launched an inquiry into allegations that staff turned a blind eye to heroin abuse and failed to monitor vulnerable inmates despite six suicides at the jail in the past five years. Premier Prison Services also hit the headlines recently after it was blamed at a fatal accident inquiry for the suicide of a vulnerable prisoner in the jail.  Dr McLellan also expressed concern about the "high proportion" of inexperienced employees. On the issue of educating offenders, Dr McLellan said: "The provision of learning is impoverished - the lack of proper provision for basic education in reading, writing and counting is very serious." The current failure to deliver basic skills of numeracy and literacy during the day should be addressed as a "matter of urgency". The BBC documentary filmed officers turning a blind eye to drugs and alcohol use. It also found some prisoners on suicide watch were not checked regularly. The Prison Officers Association Scotland, which is not recognised at Kilmarnock, said the BBC's Real Story documentary "appeared to uncover significant failings" at the jail. Last month a sheriff ruled that James Barclay, 30, was able to hang himself at Kilmarnock Prison because of the failure of guards to keep watch on the "at risk" inmate. The remand prisoner died on 11 January, 2002, at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, after he was found hanging in his cell the previous day.

April 24, 2005 Sunday Herald
CALLS for Scotland’s chief inspector of prisons to resign have been made ahead of the long-awaited publication of a report into Kilmarnock jail. Senior prison sources have told the Sunday Herald that the inspection report by Dr Andrew McLellan will “largely praise” HMP Bowhouse, the country’s only private prison, despite allegations that staff have been falsifying documents to show that suicide watches had been carried out when they had not. The allegations were raised in an undercover BBC documentary last month that led to three staff being removed from duty and prompted an investigation by the jail’s operator, Premier Custodial Services. In addition to the claims that warders failed to carry out suicide checks, despite six suicides at the jail in five years, the programme alleged that staff refused to report offences which would attract a fine for Premier. McLellan, a former moderator of the Church of Scotland, inspected the prison in October last year, the week before the BBC began filming . But despite growing pressure on him to re-inspect the prison and investigate the allegations, McLellan refused to do so. Alex Neil, the nationalist MSP for Central Scotland, who called for a police investigation after the BBC programme was screened, condemned McLellan’s refusal to go back into the jail and the decision to release the report inside Kilmarnock prison. He said: “The chief inspector of prisons is in danger of becoming a cheerleader for Premier, rather than an independent entity. “If this report is glowing, it will give evidence of a co- ordinated conspiracy to hide the facts about Kilmarnock prison. McLellan has already shown that he is not up to the job. He sat on this report for weeks and should resign.”

March 24, 2005 Scotsman
A CONVICTED murderer claimed to a court yesterday that the carrying of knives by inmates of Scotland’s only private jail was "commonplace". James O’Rourke, 34, made the allegation as he was jailed for eight years for stabbing a senior manager at Kilmarnock Prison and, in a separate incident, wounding a Reliance security guard in a court. Gary Allan, O’Rourke’s counsel, told the judge, Lady Paton, that severe criticisms had been levelled recently at Kilmarnock Prison’s management, adding: "The instructions I have is that the place is a shambles and that the carrying of knives among prisoners is commonplace." The High Court in Edinburgh heard yesterday that in June last year, when O’Rourke was being held in Kilmarnock Prison, he assaulted Michael Guy, the assistant prison director, and stabbed him with a piece of metal. It was said that O’Rourke had blamed Mr Guy for the withdrawal of privileges and for being kept in solitary confinement. The attack on Allan Dickson, a Reliance officer, took place on 23 November in Parliament House, Edinburgh, where the Court of Criminal Appeal was hearing an appeal by O’Rourke against his murder conviction. It was ultimately rejected. Judge Paton said she took into account that O’Rourke had pleaded guilty to the two assaults, but added: "Officers carrying out duties in connection with the administration of justice are entitled to the protection of the courts." On Tuesday, the management of Kilmarnock Prison was criticised by a sheriff at an inquiry into the death of an inmate who hanged himself in his cell. Earlier this month, a BBC documentary alleged that staff at the prison ignored drug abuse and failed to monitor vulnerable inmates.

March 23, 2005 Daily Record
A SHERIFF yesterday slammed Scotland's only private prison after an inmate hanged himself while on suicide watch. James Barclay, 30, was found dying in his cell at Kilmarnock Prison in January 2002. Kilmarnock sheriff Colin McKay's fatal accident inquiry report blamed the death on the officers who were on duty - and owners Premier Prison Services. He said rules for prisoners on suicide watch were 'routinely ignored' and 'there were no systems in place to alert senior management to these failures'. Sheriff McKay added: 'When the failures were patent, management ignored them. 'The prison guards simply failed to comply with a specific requirement of their shift.' The two guards blamed, Kevin Beck and Gordon Kelso, have since been sacked. Last night, SNP MSP Alex Neil said: 'The Scottish Prison Service should immediately bring the jail under direct control.'

March 20, 2005 Sunday Herald
THE crisis surrounding Kilmarnock Prison deepened last night after demands were made for a police investigation into the running of Scotland’s only private jail. Nationalist MSP Alex Neil, a fierce critic of the prison since it opened in 1999, called for the chief constable of Strathclyde police, Willie Rae, to order an investigation into allegations raised earlier this month in an undercover BBC documentary. The allegations included drug trafficking, drug abuse and the falsifying of information relating to suicide watches. Neil has written to Rae demanding to know what action will be taken “with a view to bringing the perpetrators of any crime within Kilmarnock Prison to justice”. He is also to submit a parliamentary question this week to Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, Scotland’s senior law officer, to request his assistance in launching a criminal investigation into claims that prison staff tampered with jail records showing they had been carrying out suicide watches when they had not. Neil, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, said: “Falsifying records on suicide watch is a criminal offence. I want the police to investigate that and bring those responsible of wrongdoing to justice. Whoever authorised the falsifying of records has committed a criminal offence in my view.” A BBC reporter found evidence that warders failed to carry out suicide checks , despite six suicides at the jail in five years. The programme also claimed that officers failed to report offences – including heroin use – which would attract a fine, to protect the income of the jail’s operator, Premier Custodial Services.

March 16, 2005 Scotsman
CALLS for the immediate suspension of a private firm’s contract to run Kilmarnock prison were rejected by Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, yesterday. Three members of staff have been removed from normal duties after allegations of malpractice in an undercover BBC report. Prison chiefs have launched an inquiry into claims that staff at Scotland’s only private jail turned a blind eye to heroin abuse and failed to monitor vulnerable inmates - despite six suicides there in the past five years. Alex Neil, an SNP MSP for Central Scotland, called for the immediate suspension of Premier Custodial Services’ contract to run the jail. "The BBC documentary totally vindicates all the allegations I have been making for six years that the management of this prison is disastrous," he said. Kenny MacAskill, the SNP’s justice spokesman, said the documentary dealt a serious blow to Executive plans for at least one more private prison. "They should bring all of our prison service back into public control," he said. The BBC journalist Steve Allen, who worked as a prison officer at the jail, said he filmed evidence of officers falsifying paperwork to show suicide watches had been undertaken when they had not. Last night Phil Edwards, the chief operating officer for Premier Custodial Group, admitted the footage was "disturbing" and showed "unacceptable behaviour" by prison guards. But speaking on BBC Scotland’s Newsnight Scotland he insisted the company encourages all prison guards to report drug use.

March 14, 2005 Scotsman
LOTHIANS MSP Fiona Hyslop today called for plans to create a privately built and run prison in West Lothian to be scrapped following the shocking revelations of a TV documentary. Ms Hyslop said the Scottish Executive should abandon proposals for the controversial prison near Addiewell after a BBC programme last week highlighted a series of failures at a private Ayrshire facility. The 700-cell prison in the Lothians is expected to be completed by 2007 at a cost of £65 million. An undercover reporter for Real Story filmed officers at Kilmarnock allegedly turning a blind eye to the use of drugs and alcohol. The programme also claimed that warders failed to carry out suicide checks and cell searches - despite six suicides in the past five years. Scottish Prison Service spokesman Tom Fox voiced "real concerns" about the allegations, while the Prison Officers’ Association said it had been making similar accusations since Scotland’s only privately-run jail opened. Ms Hyslop said: "Private prisons fail the public, fail the officers and fail the prisoners who are at risk of self harm. "
I hope the Executive takes on board the revelations and takes steps to rule out the private sector managing at the prison in Addiewell."

March 13, 2005 Scotsman
THE former chief inspector of prisons has launched a blistering attack on ministers, accusing them of failing to take action to prevent suicides in Scotland’s only private jail. Clive Fairweather said he was "shocked" the Scottish Executive had not ordered inspectors into Kilmarnock Prison after a BBC documentary alleged that staff failed to carry out suicide watches. Two years ago, as a direct result of a television programme which revealed young offenders taking drugs on the controversial Airborne Initiative, the Executive sent a social work inspection team into the boot camp immediately. A year later it closed Airborne down. Premier Custodial Group, which runs Kilmarnock Prison, has launched an internal investigation but Fairweather said that was insufficient. Fairweather, who lost his job as HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in Scotland after criticising the country’s jails, said: " If a documentary like this indicates that suicide watches are being falsified, there must surely be immediate action by the authorities, or do ministers not feel that there’s any urgency because it’s only prisoners’ lives?" Fairweather singled out justice minister Cathy Jamieson and her deputy, Hugh Henry, for criticism. An Executive spokeswoman said the current prisons inspector, Dr Andrew McLellan, carried out an inspection at Kilmarnock just days before the BBC investigation began. She added: "He takes the allegations seriously but he thinks the right thing to do is complete and publish his report in the spring."

March 10, 2005 IRR News
Campaign groups calling for a public inquiry into the treatment of immigration detainees have revealed that thirty-five cases of alleged assault have been referred to solicitors. The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC), the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), and the Campaign To Stop Arbitrary Detentions at Yarl's Wood (SADY) have revealed details of over thirty-five cases referred to four solicitors' firms (Birnberg Peirce & Co, Hickman & Rose, Christian Khan, Harrison Bundey). Most of the cases involve allegations of abuse at the airport or in transit to the airport. In at least six of the thirty-five cases, the detainee was eventually removed. Two female victims of these 'successful' removals say they needed hospital treatment in their country of origin, as a result of injuries sustained in the deportation process. At a press conference held outside the Home Office on the day after the BBC broadcast Asylum Undercover (a disturbing television programme showing detention custody officers abusing detainees and boasting about assaults) NCADC, CARF and SADY called for a full public inquiry into the conditions of immigration detention in the UK. The Asylum Undercover investigation centred on Oakington Reception Centre and 'in-country escorting' of detainees, exposing the abuse of asylum seekers behind the closed doors of the immigration 'detention estate'. In one of the most shocking parts of the programme, a custody officer described 'taping up' the skirt of an obviously scared female asylum seeker who was defecating through fear during her deportation. (The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that refusal to allow a detainee who has soiled herself to change her clothes is inhuman and degrading treatment) Global Solutions Ltd (GSL), formerly Group 4, which runs Oakington Reception Centre, commented in a press release after the programme that there was 'shock and dismay throughout our company at the scenes of racist and abusive language and behaviour by some staff at Oakington detention centre and in-country escorting'. The company said it was now carrying out a full investigation with the assistance of a team of former senior police officers. It was also conducting a review of management and supervisory systems, recruitment, vetting, training and monitoring. 'If there are systemic or individual failings, they will be addressed,' it stated. 'Furthermore, if these investigations reveal that any offence has been committed by any of our staff, the police will be notified.' GSL and Group 4 have come under the spot-light before. In 1998, during the trial of nine men following a disturbance, detention officers at Campsfield (then run by Group 4) were found to have lied and destroyed property at the centre and then blamed detainees. Group 4 also ran Yarl's Wood Removal Centre, Bedford, which, in February 2002, was burnt down during a disturbance triggered by the restraint of a Nigerian female detainee. And, in December 2003, Yarl's Wood was the subject of a Daily Mirror report which exposed racism and abuse at the centre. In the subsequent inquiry into the Daily Mirror allegations, Prisons Ombudsman Stephen Shaw said 'these were startling and hugely worrying allegations. If true, they would have called into question not just the management of Yarl's Wood ... but the fitness of the contractor (GSL) to run any removal centre ... in this country'. He found that most of the things alleged in the article had happened, but decided that there was 'not a culture of abuse, racism and violence'. However he did recommend that the Home Office investigate the allegations about mistreatment of detainees.
Emma Ginn, of NCADC, told IRR News: 'Stephen Shaw is now conducting a third inquiry into a GSL run removal/reception centre. When will the government learn? GSL appears to have retained its contracts to run Yarl's Wood, Tinsley House, Campsfield House, and Oakington. It was awarded a huge contract, of undisclosed value, to design, build and manage a 750-bed Accommodation Centre at Bicester, just thirty days after publication of the inquiry into the Mirror allegations. GSL was also a partner in the design and build of Yarl's Wood, which was described in the Prison Ombudsman inquiry into the fire, as "astonishingly flimsy" and "not fit for the purpose". This does not fill us with great confidence.'

March 10, 2005 The Herald
MINISTERS were urged last night to ban the private sector from staffing Scottish prisons after a BBC documentary claimed that the Premier group's running of Kilmarnock jail amounted to a catalogue of neglect. Premier, which has managed Scotland's only private prison to date since 1999, confirmed yesterday that it also wanted to build and run a new 700-cell jail at Low Moss, near Kirkintilloch. However, after secret filming at Kilmarnock suggested over-stretched staff were ignoring heroin use and failing to carry out suicide watches, the SNP said Premier's 25-year deal there should be terminated and future work kept in the public sector. Kenny MacAskill, SNP justice spokesman, said: "Rather than follow a failed Tory policy, the Scottish Executive should bring all of our prison service back into public control now. Public safety is too important an issue to be at the whim of private profit." Premier's per capita spending on prisoners is less than half that of the public sector, mainly because of the heavy use of electronic security. The row renewed the pressure on Cathy Jamieson, justice minister, who was under attack for much of last year over Reliance's botched start to the privatised prisoner escort service. According to the documentary, Prison Undercover – the Real Story, staff at Kilmarnock were put in charge of large numbers of violent prisoners with little training or back-up. They were also said to have ignored offences which meant fines for Premier and could have jeopardised pay rises; turned a blind eye to drug abuse to curry favour with inmates; and failed to conduct suicide watches, despite six suicides in five years. The prison's director also failed to ask for details when told that staff had falsified suicide watch logs.

March 9, 2005 Scotsman
THREE prison officers have been suspended from normal duties at Scotland’s only private prison amid allegations that staff failed to carry out suicide watches despite seven deaths in the last six years , it emerged last night. A BBC investigation, Prison Undercover: The Real Story, into Kilmarnock prison also claimed officers turned a blind eye to drug taking, and allowed prisoners wide screen satellite televisions and Playstations in their cells. The programme to be aired tonight shows staff allegedly falsifying suicide watch forms in the prison when checks have been missed. The staff claim checks are skipped because of staffing shortages. Relatives of those who died were said to be "horrified" at the evidence. Myra Mulholland, the sister of one inmate who has died there in the last six years, told the BBC: "It is not just a record you are falsifying, it is people’s lives you are playing with, people who could die as a result of this." Since opening six years ago seven prisoners have killed themselves. Two Premier officers were sacked in 2002 after checks were missed and a prisoner found hanged. Premier Custodial Group, the company running the prison, was unavailable for comment last night. In a statement issued to the BBC, the firm said Kilmarnock was a "well run and safe" prison where staff and prisoner relations were good. "Premier treats any alleged breach of procedure very seriously," the statement said.

March 5, 2005 Sunday Mail
A BBC reporter posing as a prison officer ended up battling convicts in a jail riot. Using the name Steve Allen and false references he landed a job at Scotland's only private prison at Kilmarnock. The reporter from BBC's Real Story worked at the jail for three months and gathered hundreds of hours of film from secret cameras. Prison officers are allegedly heard making brutal comments about prisoners who have killed themselves and those on suicide watch. The prison has been repeatedly rapped at recent fatal accident inquiries into suicides. In the film, warders are allegedly heard encouraging violence and falsifying logs. The one-hour documentary, to be shown on BBC1 at 9pm on Wednesday, is expected to reveal huge security breaches and poor conditions for staff and inmates. A BBC spokeswoman said: 'We can confirm that our reporter was involved in a riot and he fulfilled his duties as a prison officer.' SNP shadow justice minister Kenny McAskill demanded a full public inquiry into the £130million privatised prison run by Premier Security. And Derek Turner, of the Scottish Prison Officers Association, said: 'A public inquiry into this place is long overdue.' Premier said: 'We have commenced an investigation based on some of allegations already raised by the BBC.'

January 14, 2005
A 40-year-old man has been reported to the procurator fiscal in connection with an alleged indecent assault on a teenager inside Kilmarnock Prison. It’s understood that the 17-year-old ‘victim’, who has learning difficulties, was allegedly attacked in the private prison’s medical wing.

January 9, 2005 Sunday Mail
 CLAIMS that a teenager with learning difficulties was raped in Scotland's private prison are being investigated. The 17-year-old was allegedly grabbed, gagged and attacked in the medical wing of Kilmarnock Prison last month. A police spokeswoman said: 'A 40-year-old man is the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal in connection with an alleged indecent assault on a 17-year-old at Kilmarnock Prison.' Insiders say prisoner rape is rife among drug dealers in the jail, where murderers, rapists and paedophiles have CD players and colour TVs in their cells. There have been other attacks at the jail. Two warders were charged last month for sexually assaulting a female member of staff. Last year two managers were sacked - one for sexual harassment of a female member of staff, the other for theft. And a female tutor was sacked for allegedly having an 'inappropriate relationship' with a prisoner.

December 12, 2004 Sunday Mail
TWO warders at Scotland's only private prison have been suspended after being accused of sex offences against a female colleague. Stephen Blake, 35, and Jim Hume, 43, who were in charge of the jail workshop, were escorted from Kilmarnock Prison. It is alleged that the pair were involved in an incident on November 24 at the controversial £130million PFI prison run by Premier Security Services. It is understood a distressed female staff member made a complaint and called police. It is the latest controversy at the jail, where cons get a number of controversial 'perks'. There have also been a number of dismissals.

December 10, 2004 Evening Times
PRISON chiefs were today probing a riot at Scotland's only private jail last night when up to 40 inmates went on the rampage.  Several small fires were lit, a communal room was destroyed and attempts were made to flood the prison in Kilmarnock during the incident. Thousands of pounds of damage is thought to have been caused after electrical equipment, including televisions, were smashed. Rebel prisoners only failed to flood the jail after frantic staff switched off water supplies. The riot happened when prisoners refused to return to their cells in E wing, which houses short-term inmates who are serving less than four years for repeat offences such as theft and minor assaults.  The riot happened six months after five prisoners appeared in court charged with causing a major disturbance during which an officer was injured.

November 28, 2004 Sunday Mail
A PROBE is underway at Scotland's only private prison after two staff were suspended. Two Kilmarnock jail workshop employees are being investigated by police and prison chiefs following an incident of 'inappropriate behaviour'. A spokesman for Premier Prison Services confirmed two staff were suspended on Friday afternoon following a 'one-off incident' but denied claims it was drugs-related.

November 19, 2004 IC Ayshire
A SHERIFF has condemned Scotland's only private jail for breaches of rules and staff shortages after the suicide of a vulnerable prisoner. Sheriff Thomas Croan said it was the “good fortune” of an assistant director at Kilmarnock Prison that she has escaped personal responsibility for Gordon Mulholland's death. He also criticised the failure to keep Mr Mulholland’s personal records with him, which would have alerted staff that he was on suicide watch. He had already vowed to kill himself, saying it “only took a couple of minutes”. Ironically, the only individual to be praised by Sheriff Croan was a prisoner who cut down his fellow inmate’s hanging body and tried to revive him, as the warder who falsely claimed to have checked on him stood by in hysterics. Erica Prueffer, who was then assistant director of health care at Kilmarnock Prison, sent him to the prison wing instead of returning him to the health centre where he had been kept under observation, despite rules stating a case conference should have been held first.
Prison officer Donna McNeill admitted falsifying a log by claiming she made a half-hourly check on Mr Mulholland at around the time he hanged himself after being left alone for about an hour. Ms McNeil, who underwent refresher training two weeks before the death, was in hysterics and made no attempt to revive Mr Mulholland. She was eventually asked to leave while others, including prisoner Brian Rees, took over.

October 4, 2004 Daily Record
VITAL security doors at Scotland's only private prison don't shut properly, the Record can reveal. Sliding doors used to seal wings at Kilmarnock jail have had to be filed down after wardens had trouble locking them. Bosses have called in engineers to fix the problem, but work won't start until next year. A jail insider said yesterday: 'To think we can't lock security doors properly is ridiculous. We've got some of the worst criminals in Scotland here.'
The source blamed subsidence at the £130million prison for making some wing doors jam instead of closing fully. Stevenson claimed: 'This is a botched job from when the prison was built - as with so many PFI-funded projects.' The American company who run the jail, Premier Prison Services, have hired structural engineers to find away to repair the damage and prevent more problems. Two years ago, it emerged that the prison had received£700,000 in subsidies from the taxpayer while Premier Prison Services were making huge profits. Kilmarnock also has the worst discipline record of all Scots jails. There were 3634 recorded offences and serious rule infringements at the prison in 2001.The next worst jail, Perth, had 1475.

October 3, 2004 Sunday Mail
A GREEDY prison warder has been forced to quit after being caught nicking dozens of chocolate bars from the cons' subsidised tuck shop. Chocoholic Colin Duff, 55, was rumbled after being captured on CCTV cameras installed after bosses launched a probe into missing treats such as Mars Bars.
Shamed Duff resigned after being called in by bosses at troubled Kilmarnock Prison. An insider at the jail - dubbed the Killie Hilton because of the cushy lifestyle led by prisoners - said: 'We knew the prison was full of thieves but we thought they were behind bars.' Last night, at his home in Crosshouse, Ayrshire, Duff said: 'I don't want to talk about it. I have nothing to say.' Two weeks ago, the Sunday Mail revealed two warders were under investigation over prisoners' jewellery that had gone missing. A probe is under way over an alleged £20,000 theft of prisoners' effects.

September 24, 2004 IC Ayrshire
AN INMATE at Kilmarnock Prison told Bowhouse staff he knew that he was going to die, an inquiry heard last week. Stuart Williams, 44, was already under medical supervision when he was found unconscious in his cell just three days into a five month sentence. He was taken by ambulance to Crosshouse Hospital where doctors were unable to save him. He died from fluid in the lungs and toxic effects of the drug dihydrocodeine, although it emerged he already had a heart condition.

September 18, 2004 Sunday Mail
SCOTLAND'S only private jail is fined £17,000 every time a prisoner is violent or is caught with drugs. The discovery of a mobile phone attracts an £8000 fine. But critics fear the penalties imposed on Premier Security Services, who manage Kilmarnock Jail, may stop them exposing rule-breaking. Last week, the Sunday Mail revealed the prison has been dubbed the 'Killie Hilton' as prisoners get pay-per-view Setanta TV and newspapers and milk is delivered to cells. West of Scotland MSP Bruce McFee warned: 'The operators may be discouraged from being zealous over drugs and weapons because of restrictions in their contract.' Premier, who make £1million a year from the jail, said: 'We have a requirement to report a multitude of activities and are diligent in ensuring this is done.'

September 12, 2004 Sunday Mail
Inmates at Scotland's only private prison have been given free Setanta TV.  Ordinary punters who want to watch live Scottish Premier League football on the satellite channel pay £450 a year. But at cushy Kilmarnock Prison - dubbed the Killie Hilton - inmates can watch for free in one of eight viewing suites. The deal was thrashed out at a meeting of the Prisoner Information and Activities Committee between managers and inmates.  Cons were told they could get free milk and a free paper delivered to their cells by warders each morning. A senior officer told the Sunday Mail: 'If people knew what goes on in here they would be queuing up to get in. What goes on in here really is an insult to law-abiding Scots. We're supposed to quietly place the milk and papers at the sink areas for when they get up for their breakfast and we're not allowed to wake them up.'  The prison pays around £1000 a month for Setanta.  The senior officer said: 'It's sickening to think hardened criminals are treated better than war heroes and pensioners who can't even afford to properly heat their homes, never mind subscribe to Setanta.  'There aren't many warders who can afford Setanta in their own homes either.' Managers from Premier Prison Services, who run the jail, hold meetings with inmates about conditions every week.  Critics believe Premier have given too many rights to prisoners because they want to avoid the huge Government fines imposed on them if there are riots.  According to insiders, an internal investigation is underway over the alleged disappearance of £30,000 worth of prisoners' jewellery and personal effects following the sacking of two warders.

KILMARNOCK'S private prison - the only one in Scotland - has had a troubled and violent history since it opened in 1999.  In the last two years alone there has been a constant stream of reports of turmoil at the jail.  July 2004 - Raymond Talent, 47, of Rutherglen, near Glasgow, choked to death on his vomit in the prison.  June 2004 - Killer James O'Rourke stabbed a prison boss in the stomach.  February 2004 - Claims are made that sex offenders in the jail's H-block are swapping child porn on CDs.  January 2004 - Inmates go berserk and smash up their cells, forcing warders to call in negotiators to restore calm.  January 2003 - Prisoners set fire to a pool table and refuse to return to their cells during a protest.  January 2003 - Four warders are hospitalised after an attack by a convict.  March 2002 - Prisoner David Ballantyne, 22, attacks another inmate with a hammer in a vicious assault.  (The Mirror, August 11, 2004)

Two ex-prison officers from Scotland's only private jail have been sentenced for planting heroin on an inmate.  David Allen, 44, of East Kilbride, a former supervisor at Kilmarnock Prison, was jailed for two years for attempting to pervert the course of justice.  He was sentenced alongside John Robertson, 26, of Auhinleck, Ayrshire, who received 300 hours' community service for helping to plant the drugs.  (BBC, August 10, 2004)

A SHERIFF has condemned Scotland's only private prison over gaps in the medical records of a prisoner found dead in his cell.  In his written report following a fatal accident inquiry in Kilmarnock, Sheriff Seith Ireland said there should be a system to ensure the accuracy of records was audited so that errors could be identified.  Raymond Talent, 47,of Rutherglen, near Glasgow, choked to death on his vomit at Kilmarnock prison.  Talent, who was taking medication for epilepsy, had not been examined by a medical officer after his transfer to Kilmarnock from Barlinnie. He had also been givem methadone but this had not been entered on his medical records.  Sheriff Ireland said the Scottish Executive and Premier Prison Services, who run the jail, should ensure staff are 'advised of the importance of meticulous record-keeping'.  (Daily Record, July 19, 2004)

AN East Kilbride prison officer could find himself behind bars after being convicted by a High Court jury of attempting to pervert the course of justice.  St Leonards man David Allen, 44, was accused, along with Ayrshire colleague John Robertson, of hiding heroin in the belongings of Steven Little at Kilmarnock's Bowhouse Prison -- which is Scotland's only private jail -- and putting the prisoner at risk of prosecution.  Allen denied the charge but on Tuesday 26-year-old Robertson, of Auchinleck, dramatically changed his plea to guilty, claiming 'Dai' Allen, who was his supervising officer, had ordered him to stash the drug in a bag of medication belonging to Little.  A short time later the jury at the High Court in Kilmarnock retired to consider the evidence and returned with a verdict on Allen of guilty.  (Court Reporter, July 14, 2004)

PRISON officers at Scotland's only private jail planted drugs on an inmate, a court heard yesterday.  Warder James Callaghan claimed that his boss told him to hand over a suspected heroin wrap found on a prisoner at Kilmarnock's Bowhouse jail.  Supervisor Dai Allen said it "could be used to get another inmate or con with", the High Court at Kilmarnock heard.  A package found later during a cell search looked "very similar" to the wrap seized by Allen, said Mr Callaghan.  When asked if it had been planted, another warder, John Robertson, "grinned ear to ear", he claimed. Allen, 44, and Robertson, 26, are accused of hiding heroin in prisoner Steven Little's belongings, then ordering a search of his cell at the jail in September 2002.  (The Mirror, July 8, 2004)

FIVE prisoners at Scotland's only private jail have appeared in court charged with causing a major disturbance in which an officer was injured.  Derek Thomson, 41, James Cowan, 27, Kenneth Duffield, 24, Craig Scoular, 23, and George Ralph, 21, deny throwing chairs and TV sets at staff at Kilmarnock Prison on January 9.  They also deny wrecking property, including setting fire to rubbish bins, and Cowan denies throwing a TV set and injuring prison officer Paul Kennedy. All five face trial at a later date.  (Evening Times, July 1, 2004)

Lowdham Grange Prison, England
March 28, 2005 Nottingham Evening Post
An investigation has been launched after a man was found hanged in his prison cell. The discovery of Thomas Maughan's body at Lowdham Grange Prison was made by officers on a routine check at 11.45pm on Saturday. He was pronounced dead shortly after midnight, the Home Office said. A spokeswoman for the prison service said: " A staff patrol found him hanging from his cell's toilet door. "They tried CPR and paramedics continued when they arrived, but he was pronounced dead at 12.20am." The 45-year-old, from Sheffield, was jailed for six years in 2003 for burglary. Premier Custodial Group spokesman David Bandey said: "I can confirm he was found dead. It will now go to a full inquiry." In January, a report by the Prison Reform Trust called Private Punishment: Who Profits? said private prisons like Lowdham - one of ten in the country - were missing key targets on reducing serious assaults, drugs and 'purposeful activity' among inmates.

Nottinghamshire Prison
Inmates at a Nottinghamshire prison have too little to do, according to a new report.  An unannounced inspection was carried out at privately-run Lowdham Grange by the Prison Inspectorate in March.  The study also said low staffing levels identified four years ago are still a problem.  Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said the prison is generally doing a good job and is "managing some difficult prisoners well".  But she said: "They must provide more purposeful activity for the prisoners because that is very important."  She said the prison has "a low staffing level, inexperienced staff and a high staff turnover", but added the prison does have control of its prisoners.  (BBC, June 23, 2004)

Prisoner Tagging, Scotland
December 5, 2005 The Sun
A CRIMINAL was allowed to roam free after a second blunder by a jail tagging firm. Justin Keefe, 25, was meant to have been contacted at home and have a tag fitted after being released early from jail. But nobody got in touch - even after his mum phoned ASKING them to monitor him. The mistake has been blamed on Premier Monitoring Services - slammed for failing to keep tabs on jewellery raider Peter Williams. He had torn off a tag meant to monitor his movements before a robbery in Nottingham in which an accomplice shot dead jeweller Marian Bates. Williams, 19, was later jailed for life for his part in the murder. The latest gaffe came days after Home Office vowed there would not be a repeat. Keefe, from Streetly, West Midlands, who was jailed for eight months for two offences of affray, said: "It seems that nobody can even be bothered to tag me." Premier claim the blunder happened because private prison firm UKDS failed to fax them to say Keefe was being released. UKDS deny doing anything wrong. The Home Office is investigating.

September 19, 2005 The Herald
THE private security firm set to take over the electronic tagging of prisoners in Scotland has been censured for its failings in monitoring a teenager convicted of the murder of a jeweller while under its supervision. Serco, which runs Scotland's only private prison, has been awarded preferred-bidder status for the tender to operate electronic tagging on teenage and adult offenders north of the border for five years from April. However, the electronic tagging firm Premier Monitoring, which is owned by Serco, displayed an "inadequate understanding of its responsibilities", according to an official report into the murder of Marian Bates, a Nottingham jeweller who was killed two years ago. Mrs Bates, 64, was shot dead in her family shop as she tried to shield her daughter Xanthe from armed robbers in September 2003. Peter Williams, now 19, was a cocaine addict who had been in trouble with the law since the age of 11 for offences including burglary and indecent assault. He had been released from a young offenders' institution on licence just 20 days before the murder of Mrs Bates. An official report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation into the killing found probation workers and Premier Monitoring made a catalogue of errors in their supervision of Williams. He had breached his curfew order at least six times, and even removed the electronic tag that was supposed to restrict his movements, yet little was done. However, Premier failed to inform his youth offending team of this until the morning of Mrs Bates's murder, by which time he had removed the tag completely. Serco, which also owns Premier Custodial Services, operator of Kilmarnock Prison, is set to take over the contract for tagging offenders in Scotland from Reliance, the private security firm. Premier was criticised earlier this year amid claims of staff shortages and negligence at HMP Kilmarnock.