Scottish prisoners released for the holidays
December 8, 2009
Prison officials in Scotland have announced that as part of the parole process they will be sending a number of convicts home for Christmas when they close Noranside prison over the festive period. Representatives of the prison have pointed out that those prisoners for whom Christmas leave is not an option will be sent to Castle Huntly prison which is located nearby.
However, this could still mean that prisoners such as Thomas McCulloch who is coming close to the end of his sentence for killing a nurse, a policeman and a mental patient with an axe could be walking the streets over the Christmas period. Last year the prison closed on Christmas Eve and prisoners were taken by bus to a number of towns and cities throughout Scotland. Pictures of Neil Dalziel, who had only served two years of an eight year sentence for killing Andrew McInnes with a knife, were quickly being circulated on the internet. The pictures were of Dalziel attending a party in a pub less than a mile away from where he had committed his crime when he should have been in Edinburgh with his sister.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government has pointed out that those who are released into the community have already undergone very strict assessments. He said that being allowed to go home over Christmas allows officials to see how they behave in a home environment and that this form of testing is vital for those prisoners who are coming up for parole. John Lamont, a Conservative community safety spokesman is not so sure and said that families of the victims of those released were probably not going to be very pleased.