Central Scotland SNP MSP Alex Neil today welcomes a report by Professor Kevin Power that indicates Kilmarnock Prison has taken steps to better ensure the safety and security of prisoners at risk of committing suicide. Furthermore he urges the prison to immediately adopt the recommendations and suggested best practice made in the report, made public today. Mr Neil also urges the prison’s operator, Premier Prisons Ltd, not to overlook the significant problems the prison faces in other respects, such as low staff morale and an ongoing drugs culture.
The Premier Prisons Ltd released the report today, in which Professor Power explains his findings after investigating the suicide risk management strategy at Kilmarnock Prison. The investigation was commissioned by the Prison itself largely in response to a BBC documentary (broadcast on 9th March 2005) which indicated that there are serious problems in the way the Prison is run; and the results of the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of James Barclay at the Prison. The FAI report issued in March highlighted massive failings in Kilmarnock’s process for identifying and observing individuals at risk of committing suicide.
Mr. Neil said:
“It is no secret that Kilmarnock Prison has been plagued with problems from its opening, and it’s good to see that it seems the prison has finally taken the problems with its suicide watches seriously. Though the changes the prison has made are far too late for James Barclay, I hope that further loss of life at the prison can be avoided.”
“I strongly urge the prison to immediately adopt all of the recommendations made in the report by Professor Power so that we can avoid any further tragedy.”
“However all is still not well at Kilmarnock Prison. The mismanagement of prisoners on suicide watch has been just one factor. The prison still needs to address other big issues, including drug abuse and violence, as well as low staff morale.”
“I am still against the prospect of government auctioning off its responsibility for the care of prisoners. Whilst today’s report indicates some signs of improvement I am still strongly of the opinion that the experience of Kilmarnock Prison indicates that privatised prisons are nothing but a disaster.”