Kilmarnock private prison is named as the “softest” prison in Scotland where one in three inmates who break the rules goes unpunished. Kilmarnock prisoners have the highest offence rate of any adult Scottish prison, over 17,500 offences since 2006. The offences include nearly 2,000 cases of assault, drug abuse and destruction of prison property.
Shotts prison is the toughest where less than 1 in 10 offences goes unpunished and has fewer offences related to drugs and assaults. Shotts is far more likely to fine prisoners than to simply take away privileges such as TV.
Kilmarnock private prison’s reputation as a ‘soft touch’ for prisoners has continued since 1999 with prisoners having PlayStations, flat screen TVs, DVD players and Sky.
Critics of Kilmarnock claim the prison operates with fewer staff per prison, effectively leaving the inmates in control; prisoners are likely to feel more free to do as they wish as offences go unpunished.
Clive Fairweather (former Chief Inspector of Prisons in Scotland) blames human rights laws for making prisons much softer than they were. He voiced concern about the lack of discipline in private prisons but said he had been threatened with being sued should he publish a report on them.
Serco the company who operates Kilmarnock said they are committed to safe, cost-efficient prison management and that the prison was rated a ‘safe and operationally stable environment’ by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland.