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Prison visiting committees are vital for justice

December 12, 2011 2:35 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Commenting on reports that the Scottish Government plans to replace Prison Visiting Committees with a Government run advocacy service, Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

"Scottish Liberal Democrats have made it clear that we would be extremely concerned about any plans to abolish Prison Visiting Committees.

"Prison Visiting Committees are independent to the prison authorities, local and, most importantly, trusted. They are a vital part of our justice process, allowing prisoners to raise concerns over treatment, staffing or conditions to people outside the system. In turn, they are then able to liaise directly with prison governors to address those concerns.

"It is the very independence of the Committees that provides assurance to prisoners that their rights will be protected. Any move to abandon that and move to a centralised, government-run service would be deeply worrying."