21 December 2006

Stevenson Raises Prison Staff Pay Rise

Shadow Deputy Justice Minister, SNP MSP for Banff & Buchan Stewart Stevenson has today ( Thursday 21 December) received a response from Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson to his parliamentary question regarding pay increases for prison staff in light of the current conditions of overcrowding.

The Minister stated that pay negotiations for prison staff were the responsibility of the Scottish Prison Service and not the Scottish Executive.

Mr Stevenson said:

"Due to the extreme overcrowding of Scottish prisons a massive strain has been placed on prison workers who are being stretched to their limit without receiving any corresponding pay increase.

"The Minister by choosing to answer in this way has clearly passed the buck fully into the hands of the SPS. This illustrates the Scottish Executive’s failure to offer leadership while ducking responsibility for the appalling state of Scottish Prisons. As Justice Minister Ms. Jamieson has a duty to ensure that prison staff needs in relation to pay, conditions and working environment are satisfactorily met.

"I am sorely disappointed by the Scottish Executive’s meagre response to this issue. The prison population has continually ballooned year on year under this Lib-Lab government and today we have a prison population almost topping the 7,000 mark - a shambolic statistic. These numbers have a severe impact not only on prisoners but also on prison staff who continue to go uncompensated for their deteriorating working conditions.

"Prison workers perform a vital role in Scotland’s criminal justice system and it is disgraceful that the Scottish Executive has failed to take their welfare seriously. I fully intend to raise this issue with the Justice Minister as a matter of priority when I meet with her in the New Year.

Stewart Stevenson
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