Scots lags have filmed themselves laughing and joking in prison on a smuggled mobile phone.
The shameless inmates filmed themselves rapping and dancing at HMP Addiewell in West Lothian, which they labelled “Hotel Addiewell” in the clip that was uploaded to TikTok earlier this month. The video has picked up over 10,000 views since it was uploaded on May 6.
The identities of those in the video have not been established. But as reported by Edinburgh Live, the inmates are seen posing and gesturing at the camera from inside a cell, which appears to be well-stocked with provisions, a TV and a games console.
Addiewell has come under increased scrutiny following a brutal report from the prisons watchdog. HM Inspectorate Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) said the jail, which is operated privately by contractor Sodexo on behalf of the Scottish Prison Service, has failed to address a chronic shortage of staff.
A spokesperson for HMP Addiewell said: “The use of mobile phones in any prison is illegal, and we constantly review our activity to tackle the issue. Where individual prisoners are identified, action is taken.”
The HMIPS report found that prisoners were regularly on the receiving end of abuse from prison officers. Four in ten lags claimed to have been assaulted or abused by staff and 60% said they have witnessed misconduct by prison officers.
The jail houses about 700 male prisoners serving long-term and short-term sentences, as well as others being held on remand and in protective custody. Sodexo said it is making substantial investments in the prison’s operations.
In its report, HMIPS said: “HMIPS is deeply concerned that prolonged feelings of unsafety, lack of security and fear could have a significant detrimental impact on prisoners’ mental health, not to mention the potential risk to physical safety.
“We were not satisfied that HMP Addiewell were taking sufficient action to address these concerns, and in our judgment there is a potential risk that violations of this right will arise.”
As well as concerns over prisoner safety, the Inspectorate reported poor levels of cleanliness in residential blocks. Access to healthcare was also rated as poor, with patient wellbeing compromised becauseof long waiting times.
The Scottish Prison Service said in response to the report: “It is reassuring to hear Sodexo take full responsibility for this, and we will robustly monitor its commitment to taking the actions necessary to deliver the improvements needed.
“We have a responsibility to all people in prison custody in Scotland and, as this report makes clear, standards at HMP Addiewell have fallen short of the level people have a right to expect.”
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