Monday 1 December 2008

Taking The Piss

25,000 old people died of hypothermia in their own homes last year - and this is how we treat nonces and criminals.

New prison has en suite cells and flatscreen televisions

Inmates at a new maximum-security prison are to have en-suite cells with flatscreen televisions.

By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent
Last Updated: 5:58PM GMT 01 Dec 2008

Prisoners at the privately-run HMP Addiewell in West Lothian will also be able to check dinner menus and order their meals in advance.

The first 30 prisoners - who volunteered to be housed there - will arrive next week.

Politicians have raised concerns over the level of comfort at the jail, but the new governor defended the modern facilities.

While many prisoners in Scotland still suffer Victorian conditions, the inmates at Addiewell will enjoy facilities including a Microsoft computer room, a library and a gym hall and fitness suite.

The 12 wings also have "electronic kiosks" so that prisoners can check menus and order meals, check how much money they have in their accounts, top-up phone accounts and order goods from the canteen.

Audrey Park, the prison director (governor), said that only flatscreen televisions were available to purchase, they were "only 15in" and they came with Freeview built in.

She added: "You can't not have it. I would describe the cells as decent cells for a 21st-century Scotland where prisoners have the ability to shower in their cell.

"At the end of the day, any prison cell is a concrete box which we shut at night. The punishment is losing one's liberty.

"I'm always hoping for innovation and prepared to try things without getting lambasted by the media."

But Bill Aitken, the Scottish Tory justice spokesman, questioned whether the conditions would provide a real deterrent.

He said: "I do not wish prisoners to live in Dickensian squalor, but there does come a time when the level of comfort does not provide any real deterrent to offending.

"By the sounds of Addiewell, we have reached that stage there.

"There are many people who might think that in these times of financial hardship, prisoners are getting a chance to live in conditions not available to the poorer, law-abiding sections of our society."

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