Peterhead prison sex offenders sign petition against closure

Almost 200 inmates at Peterhead prison have signed a petition
demanding that the prison be kept open contrary to the Scottish
executive’s plans.

The signatories consisted of around two thirds of those detained
in Peterhead’s sex offenders unit, which the Scottish
executive intends to close.

The petition was handed to Jim Wallace, justice minister, by
Stewart Stevenson MSP for Banff and Buchan, the constituency where
the prison lies.

The petition says that Peterhead Prison offers prisoners an
opportunity to address their offending behaviour free from violence
and coercion, which cannot be guaranteed in other jails. Stevenson
said that the backing of the prisoners for the retention of
Peterhead Prison “blows out of the water” the executive’s
claims that the jail is too remote.

Bill Rattray, a former governor of Peterhead for six years,
warned that the transfer of the jail’s sex offenders unit is
a task on a scale that the Scottish Prison Service has never
tackled before. Rattray warned the executive that the utmost skill
and sensitivity will have to be deployed to “ensure continuity” in
the work of the highly acclaimed unit.

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