5 September 2002

Banff & Buchan MSP Comments on Ministerial Statement

Commenting following an official statement from the Justice Minister today (Thursday) that Peterhead Prison is to stay open, Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the reversal of the decision to close HMP Peterhead, but condemned the Executive’s failure to commit to the rebuilding the world renowned prison – and investing in what is recognised as a centre of excellence.

Mr Stevenson said:

“We are delighted that Peterhead Prison is to stay open and be upgraded – we never expected anything less - but the failure of the Executive to announce long-term investment in the prison remains a matter of concern and frustration.

“Indeed, the failure to commit to the long-term investment, demanded by the public and parliamentary response to the Estates Review, serves only to undermine the government’s own justice policy, and continue the damaging erosion of morale amongst those in the front line in the SPS.

“It was proper for the Minister to pay tribute to the dignified and effective campaign pursued by the community of Peterhead, and in particular the partners of prison officers who have been inspirational.

Commenting on the Justice Minister’s announcement that there will be a further consultation on the publication of the Spencer report into the delivery of sex offenders programmes, Mr Stevenson commented:

“I look forward to digesting Alec Spencer’s report, and trust that his investigation will reflect and take forward the overwhelming case for long-term investment in the sex offenders facility at Peterhead.”

Stewart Stevenson
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