Party in Scotland’s plushest prison

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By Michael MacLeod

PRISON bosses partied last night (Friday) as the wraps came off Scotland’s newest prison.

One week before inmates arrive, fat cats from the private firm running HMP Addiewell celebrated the completion of the £90million building with a prison block bash.

Around 100 guests were treated to drinks and a tour of the cells on Friday night, ahead of the arrival of murderers and rapists.

The jail’s comfortable conditions have already sparked controversy, with lags treated to en-suite shower rooms and flatscreen TVs in their cells, along with a Microsoft computer room.

Touch-screen kiosks in each of the 12 cell blocks let inmates pick their meals, top up phone accounts and even check their bank balances.

Friday night’s party was attended by officials from Kalyx, whose 350 staff will manage the prison, Interserve, who built it, and Scottish Prison Service big wigs.

But SPS Chief Executive Mike Ewart insisted the celebrations were “well deserved.”

He said: “We have come in for a lot of simple-minded criticism for our modern approach to this project, with people saying it’s luxurious.

“Well I have no shame in treating people well, because we have a duty to be ethical and improve people’s lives so they leave prison with better opportunities than when they arrived.

“We are marking the opening with a small internal event, to celebrate the work of everyone who has worked incredibly hard to make this happen and I think that’s well-deserved.”

The facilities on offer to the 796 inmates include a library stocked with, among other books; Sid Vicious’ “No One Is Innocent,” Celtic manager Gordon Strachan’s biography and Marvel comics including X-Men and Spiderman.

Inmates will be allowed out of their cells for 12 hours each day, during which they can consult ‘Life Coaches’ and careers advisors.

Tony Leech, managing director of prison managers Kalyx, said the services offered to cons would be “an effective use of taxpayers’ money.”

He said: “Our slogan is ‘Everyone should be given a second chance’ and we have an exceptional record in delivering top class services.

“Losing your liberty is the punishment, that is the whole point of prison, and it’s up to us to ensure nobody suffers once people leave.

“We’re very proud to provide these services and give every individual the chance to develop their employability skills.”

Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken hit out at Addiewell’s modern approach.

He said: “With facilities like these, it is astonishing that we have the number of abscondees we have.

“You would have thought they would have been queuing up to break in.”

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