MP objects to prison visiting committee proposal

A LOCAL MP has hit out at plans to ditch the civilian prison visiting committee system.

The long-standing system by which members of the public comprise the visting committees may be abolished as part of a proposal mooted by Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill MSP.

But Linlithgow constituency Westminster MP Michael Connarty has criticised the new ‘‘prisoner’s advocacy’’ scheme which it is claimed will be a non-statutory body.

Said Mr Connarty,a former member of the visiting committee to Cornton Value prison, Stirling: ‘‘I am deeply concern at Kenny MacAskill’s decision to abolish prison visiting committees.

‘‘It appears that the present Scottish Government is tryingn to avoid public scrutiny by objective members of the public.’’

Mr Connarty spoke after being contacted by the Association of Visiting Committee’s convener, Neil Powrie.

The local MP has written to First Minster Alex Salmond in support of the AVC’s position.