PROBE INTO ‘COSTA HMP’ face­book POSTS

Pris­on­ers com­pare N-east jail to hol­i­day camp

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY CRAIG PA­TON

A PROBE has been launched af­ter in­mates at a north-east su­per­jail were caught post­ing on so­cial me­dia – just months af­ter a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent at the prison. A Face­book page cre­ated by pris­on­ers at HMP Grampian – dubbed Costa HMP on the site – shows in­mates pos­ing for pic­tures and talking about the use of Class B drug spice. They even call the prison “Costa del hol­i­day camp”. It comes af­ter the Evening Ex­press re­vealed in Au­gust that a pris­oner at the jail posed for self­ies and posted them on Face­book. The page has now been taken down af­ter the Scot­tish Prison Ser­vice (SPS) was alerted to its ex­is­tence. It was first posted on Novem­ber 19 and showed pris­on­ers pos­ing for the cam­era, with their faces ob­scured. One pic­ture of three in­mates has the cap­tion “Costa del hol­i­day camp” with a wink­ing face emoji next to it. Two videos were also posted on the page, with one cap­tioned “Man down on the spice”. Both videos showed in­mates ap­par­ently un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs, be­ing met with the taunts of other pris­on­ers in the background. Sev­eral pic­tures were posted, one of which car­ried the cap­tion “another man down!” and another which refers to “Spice life”. The SPS is now in­ves­ti­gat­ing and has said it is look­ing to pros­e­cute those re­spon­si­ble for the page. Tom Fox, the head of cor­po­rate af­fairs at the SPS, said: “When we are told that an in­mate is us­ing so­cial me­dia like Face­book or Twit­ter from within our prison, we act on that in­for­ma­tion. “This type of ac­tiv­ity is an of­fence and we will take ac­tion, in­clud­ing the con­fis­ca­tion of the de­vice which was used and the pros­e­cu­tion of those in­volved.” Another source within the prison sys­tem said: “It’s great when peo­ple do some­thing like this, be­cause not only is there a record of them do­ing it, but they leave a trail that leads right back to them.” Liam Kerr, north-east MSP and jus­tice spokesman for the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives, said: “Un­for­tu­nately, these scenes have be­come all too com­mon in jails across Scotland. “It goes with­out say­ing that pris­on­ers should not have ac­cess to so­cial me­dia in the first place.” North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald added: “Be­hav­iour like this flies in the face of all the rules and ex­pec­ta­tions of pris­ons, but it also lets down the vic­tims of peo­ple that have been con­victed.”

In­set, two of the pho­tos posted on so­cial me­dia by in­mates at HMP Grampian, main photo – a prac­tice not al­lowed

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