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Pre-Budget Scrutiny

On 9 October 2019, the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee took Pre-Budget Scrutiny evidence from a number of witnesses, including Colin McConnell (Chief Executive, SPS). His evidence included discussion about contingency plans if all, or part of, a facility such as HMP Barlinnie failed, where the hypothetical situation was described as "unchartered territory". It was noted that this wasn't something that had been come across in work in three of the UK jurisdiction prisons, but that in the event of catastrophic failure, there would be a number of options. One was based on the knowledge that SPS has active contingency plans for up to 500 additional people to be located in other establishments, noting that in the early stages this would compromise of no more than a mattress on the floor and the provision of appropriate toiletries. It was outlined that if the whole prison became unusable, there would be a requirement to talk to the Scottish Government about executive release, because SPS could not find places for 1,400 people in a system which is already overstretched. 
 
The evidence stated that the SPS had a current operating capacity of 7,669 with an operating emergency capacity of 8,492. With current numbers at 8,297 this would leave headspace of 195 places.
 
 
 

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