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Prison visit impresses politicians

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By Christie Breen
Dumfries and West
Prison visit impresses politicians
MSP Emma Harper (middle) with Keith Brown, Scotland’s Justice Secretary (left) and prison Governor, Andrew Hunstone (right) outside HMP Dumfries.

POLITICIANS visited Her Majesty’s Prison Dumfries this week to see the effects of the progressive approach which is being taken to support people in custody.

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper visited the facility with Scotland’s Justice Secretary, Keith Brown, on Monday to meet with the Governor, staff and those in custody.

They toured the skills development unit, wellbeing garden, custody unit and family visiting area.

Ms Harper said that she was impressed by the “positive atmosphere at the estate on site” and by the close relationships the staff have with those in their care in custody, and with their focus on supporting mental health and wellbeing.

The prison also enables local community groups, and in particular those working to support people with dementia, into the garden to use the facilities and they have held events in the garden with the family members of those in custody.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Harper said: “I was really impressed with the work of the Governor, and all staff, who are absolutely focused on the health and wellbeing of people in their custody, and who go above and beyond the call of duty to come up with innovative ideas which will ultimately be key in helping people in custody to be equipped to rebuild their lives following their release.

“During the visit, I was able to hear from young men who were attending a support group to talk about adapting to life after custody and who were learning new and valuable skills which are crucial for obtaining employment. Such skills include barista training, joinery, masonry, gardening and other courses.”


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