Local Lib Dems have backed a petition to save Noranside Open Prison to be submitted to the Scottish Justice Secretary.
Cllr David May commented:
“The SNP Minister’s decision to close Noranside will hugely affect the staff and their families from across all of Angus.”
“Whilst they have been offered choices to transfer to other prisons, prison officers may simply not be able to afford the extra travel or disruption to their family life. Some may even be forced to move home, out of Angus.”
“The decision may also limit their career prospects as more prison officers compete for fewer senior positions. The impact of this poorly thought through decision will be long lasting.”
Angus and Mearns campaigner, Sanjay Samani, added his support for the petition, saying:
“It is welcome that Nigel Don MSP and John Swinney MSP, have backed Lib Dem Justice Spokesman, Robert Browne MSP in his criticism of Kenny MacAskill’s decision.”
“However, it is entirely within Mr Swinney’s power as Finance Secretary to provide the funding to save Noranside. So the question has to be asked why he has not done so.”
“It is vital that Noranside Open Prison, and its staff continue their excellent work, rehabilitating criminals, giving them real prospects and minimising reoffending in the area.”
Cllr May also raised concerns about a bonus culture within the prison service, wasting funds that could be better used to keep Noranside open.
“Reports suggest that overcrowding payments, totalling millions, are encouraging prisons to hold on to prisoners that should be released to open prisons like Noranside.”
“There are questions that need to be asked about bonus payments to top officers.”
“In addition, there are plans to pay huge sums to repair Castle Huntly’s roof. How can that make economic sense, whilst closing Noranside.”