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Kirk bid to run prison units

The Church of Scotland could take over parts of the country’s beleaguered
jail system under radical reforms. Kirk managers would run specialist
prison wings or remand units on behalf of the state, according to
proposals in a report being sent to the church’s general assembly in May
which seeks to change public opinions on crime and punishment.

A
major influence on the planning is the Very Rev Andrew McLellan, a former
Kirk moderator and now Scotland’s chief inspector of prisons, who has
voiced increasing frustration that jail conditions are unacceptable.

He
said there was a need to create much smaller prisons, similar to
Scandinavia, where the average number of inmates is below 100. Scottish
prisons, mostly Victorian, retain that era’s commitment to jails more than
seven times the size.

Dr McLellan also backs the import of an idea
from the Netherlands which would see churches and other voluntary groups
running jails for less dangerous inmates.

Full story at The Herald.

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