SPS Confirms Closure of Noranside
John Ewing, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) confirmed on Tuesday 2 August that the operational decision to close the part of HMP Open Estate located at Noranside. All prisoners at Noranside will be transferred to the remaining Open Estate facility at Castle Huntly by 31 October 2011. Staff at Noranside will be redeployed to other prisons.
The proposal to close Noranside was first announced by SPS in December 2010. Given the strict criteria now applied in the interests of public safety in the selection of offenders before they move to the Open Estate, the numbers qualifying to go to Open conditions have reduced and the facility at Noranside is now surplus to requirements. The facility is not suitable to house any other type of prisoner without substantial investment.
Following representation from staff, unions and other partners, the SPS has looked carefully at the arrangements for progression to the Open Estate. SPS are satisfied that the criteria and procedures applied are the right ones to protect the public. There will be sufficient capacity at Castle Huntly to accommodate those prisoners eligible for the Open Estate.
There will be no compulsory redundancies. All affected staff will be given the option to re-deploy to other sites across the Prison estate. SPS staff and Trade Union partners were told about the decision.
The savings from closing Noranside will be re-invested into further improving the Prison Service. The opening next spring of the new publicly run prison at Low Moss, near Bishopbriggs, is part of the sustained development of the prison estate, and will be another exciting opportunity for staff.
John Ewing, Chief Executive for the Scottish Prison Service, said; “SPS is committed to delivering a modern offender management regime that supports the Scottish Government’s reducing reoffending agenda and contributes to public protection. We now apply the strictest ever criteria for assessing who is suitable to progress to open conditions. This has reduced considerably the capacity requirement for HMP Open Estate to the point where the facility at Noranside is no longer required in its current form and it cannot be used for other prisoner groups. I did not take lightly the decision to close Noranside but the SPS has a duty to secure the best value for taxpayers’ money. The hard-working, dedicated and professional team at Noranside will be given the opportunity to transfer to other parts of the estate or to opt for voluntary early severance. But there will be no compulsory redundancies. ”
“The savings from the closure will help support the ongoing improvement of the Prison Service. Our investment has seen the recent opening of the new HMP Shotts and the movement of women to HMP Edinburgh to improve conditions for women generally. And next spring we will open the new publicly run HMP Low Moss which offers another exciting recruitment opportunity for our staff.”