A NEW state-of-the-art prison to be built on the site of a jail currently used to house the country’s worst sex offenders could be the first prison in the country to house both male and female prisoners.
The new £100 million HMP Grampian jail could become home to both sexes when it is completed in 2012.
Speaking at the release of the Inspectorate’s latest report of ‘Saughton’ prison in Edinburgh yesterday, Dr McLellan made it clear he was in favour of mixed-sex prisons.
Scots women discriminated against
He said: “The [Ratho House] wing which there was hope that women would be here has now been opened and is filled with male prisoners. That programme is not going to happen here.
“I’m disappointed about that, and I’m disappointed because at the moment women are discriminated against all across Scotland because they are all held in one central location and tend to be further away from their families.
“I would have liked to have seen prisoners in Edinburgh at least being able to see their families.
“The opening of a new hall here with that plan would have been a precedent which would have made it easier to happen in other places.”
He added: “It has been made clear that when they open HMP Grampian, which is the replacement of both Aberdeen and Peterhead, they have made it clear that they want to have a unit for women in the North East there.
“But that might well be three of four years from now and who knows what the circumstances will be then.
“At the moment, that is what the idea is.
“And that is one of the reasons I was keen they should do it here because that would have been a powerful engine for making sure that they did it in the North East as well.”
New jail to house 500 prisoners
The new super-jail will eventually replace Aberdeen and the Peterhead prisons when it is completed in around three years time.
It is to be built on the site of the notorious Victorian built Peterhead jail and will house around 500 prisoners.
Peterhead currently caters for exclusively sex offenders, while Craiginches in Aberdeen is among the most overcrowded prisons in the country.