Bar-L inmates are packed in ‘like sardines’
BARLINNIE prison is operating at more than 130 per cent of its capacity and packing inmates into cells “like sardines”, new figures show.
New data on the state of Scottish prisons show that HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow is the most overcrowded in the country, with 1371 inmates in a space designed for 987.
Just four in 10 prisons in Scotland were running under capacity, the latest figures from December show.
Other crowded jails included Inverness, running at 137 per cent of capacity, and Perth, at 110 per cent.
The figures, released by the Scottish government in response to a written question from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, were described by the party’s spokesman as showing prisons “bursting at the seams”.
Liam McArthur, the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Justice spokesman, said: “These new figures show that our prisons are bursting at the seams with the majority now full or overcrowded.
“People are being packed in like sardines.
“Those working in prisons have warned that the population surge is putting services at risk and jeopardising progress.
“Prison capacities are set for a reason. Staff need to work in a safe environment.
“Overcrowding makes it harder for them to work with individuals and help rehabilitate them.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scotland has the highest rate of incarceration per 100,000 of population of any Western European country, which is why we are focused on action to stop people going to prison in the first place.
“We are committed this year to extending the presumption against short prison sentences in favour of more effective community penalties.”