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Concerns raised over prison move

7 January 2009

Plans for a single “super prison” in the north east of Scotland have been criticised by charities supporting prisoners and their families.

The Aberdeen Prison Visiting Committee, Families Outside and Sacro are concerned that scrapping Aberdeen’s Craiginches prison and moving inmates to a new jail in Peterhead, which would also replace the existing Victorian-built prison in the town, would make it more difficult for families to visit inmates.

The new prison, to be named HM Prison Grampian, is expected to take at least four years to build and will cost an estimated £100 million. Its capacity will be about 500.

The Aberdeen Prison Visiting Committee is leading a campaign to have the Scottish Prison Service decision reviewed by the Scottish Parliament.

Dr Nancy Loucks of Families Outside said the charity was deeply concerned about proposals to close Craiginches, as Peterhead was 32 miles north of Aberdeen and public transport links were not adequate. This, she said, had serious implications for family contact.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has been asked to appear before the Parliament's petitions committee to address the concerns raised.

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