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Concerns over prison monitors

Replacing prison visiting committees with two types of monitors could "cause real confusion" among inmates, the Scottish Government has been told.

A member of Holyrood's Justice Committee has raised a number of concerns about plans to set up a new independent monitoring system for Scotland's jails.

The Scottish Government has put forward proposals to axe prison visiting committees - whose members get free access to prisons to monitor conditions and hear complaints from inmates.

A draft order to abolish the bodies and create new roles for prison monitors and volunteer lay monitors was laid at the Scottish Parliament last year.

Under the proposals, paid prison monitors will be supported by the lay monitors - but only the lay monitors will hear complaints.

Justice Committee convener Christine Grahame said: "We're not convinced that two levels of monitoring are needed and if paid and lay monitors have different roles, such as in dealing with prisoners' concerns, it could cause real confusion."

In its report, the committee called for "clarification from the Scottish Government of why there is a difference in the powers of prison monitors and lay monitors to hear complaints from prisoners, which would seem to cause unnecessary confusion".

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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