'Bored' prisoners accused of a brass neck


By Martin Graham

INMATES at a Scottish prison have been accused of having a ‘brass neck’ after claiming to be ‘bored’.

Prisoners at HMP Glenochil have access to snooker tables, a fully fitted gym and table tennis facilities.

They can also sign up for education classes and vocational training while they serve their time.

The boredom claims came to light in a report by Brigadier Hugh Monro, the Chief Inspector of Prisons after he carried out an inspection early in 2010.

In the report, Brigadier Monro notes “Prisoners complained about the recreation saying it was boring.”

Shadow Justice Secretary John Lamont MSP hit out at the prisoner’s claims.

He said: “I’m sure many people will be shocked at the brass neck of prisoners complaining about their recreational facilities at Glenochil prison.

“As well as protecting the public and providing rehabilitation, prisons exist to punish those who have broken the law.

“Prison isn’t there to give convicts a cushy life.

“If they’re bored, maybe they could turn their minds and time to rehabilitation or learning new skills to help them lead a life without crime when they are released.

“Many of their victims will read these complaints and think the prisoners have some nerve.”

Former Chief Inspector of Prisons Clive Fairweather said: “It would suit most of the public if prisoners were sat staring at walls on a diet of bread and water – but I believe prisoners should be put to work so they can repay society for their crimes.

“A maximum of 10 minutes recreation per day should be allowed and the rest of the time should be spent working, expanding their education and learning about offending behaviour.

“After all, it costs a lot to keep a prisoner, so we should be getting something for our money.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service confirmed that Glenochil had recently been upgraded.

He said: “SPS has a duty of care to the prisoners it holds.

“Prisons therefore have educational and physical education facilities available and many prisoners take advantage to improve their education and adopt a fitness regime.

“During reconstruction, some facilities may have been restricted, but are now first class and well used.”