Sex offenders unit to be relocated

The internationally acclaimed sex offenders
treatment unit in Peterhead prison is to move to central Scotland
as part of a Scottish executive review of penal resources.

Announcing the strategy, which will result in
three new prisons providing 2,200 new places, justice minister Jim
Wallace revealed that Low Moss and Peterhead prisons would close
and be replaced by privately run prisons by 2005.

Contrary to original fears of privatisation by
prisoner support groups, the sex offenders unit at Peterhead will
remain within the public sector but be relocated to prisons within
Scotland’s central belt from where most prisoners originate.

Making the announcement, Wallace said:
“Prisons are a crucial element of the criminal justice system. It
is an uncomfortable, but undeniable, fact that the existing prison
estate does not meet the needs of many prisoners or address the
public’s interest in effective rehabilitation as well as it

Two new prisons will be built and a third kept
in reserve. Other developments include substantial investment in
Barlinnie prison in Glasgow, where modernisation will put an end to
slopping out.

Overall, work on existing prisons will
increase the number of new places by 1,100.

The proposals are based on estimates that the
overall prison population will increase by 1,000 over the next

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