New £120m prison boasts gym, health centre and football pitches

HMP Low Moss Prison, the gym. Photo by Emma Mitchell 23/1/12
HMP Low Moss Prison, the gym. Photo by Emma Mitchell 23/1/12

THE finishing touches are being made to a new £120m development which offers a health centre, gym, full-size astroturf, five-a-side pitches, library, TVs and more.

It’s not a hotel though and you can’t book a stay – not in the conventional sense at least.

It’s Her Majesty’s Prison Low Moss – the first new public sector prison built from scratch in more than 30 years.

The £120million high-security jail on the outskirts of Bishopbriggs has been created under budget and on time.

It’s been built on the site of the old Low Moss, which was a temporary low security prison.

With the finishing touches being put to the state-of-the-art jail, the Herald was given a sneak preview inside and met with Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill and governor Michael Stoney.

Around 700 inmates of all categories will be accommodated at Low Moss and there will be more than 300 members of staff.

The new prison will help tackle overcrowding in jails across Scotland and focus on reducing reoffending and equipping prisoners with skills to reintegrate into the community on their release.

They will work a 35-hour week, choosing from workshops in painting and decorating, brick laying, plumbing, furniture making, and hairdressing.

Inmates can also choose to study in education classes and use the prison library.

And they will carry out prison duties, such as working in the laundry room.

High security is deployed throughout the prison, with more than 500 cameras keeping constant watch.

Mr MacAskill was impressed with the new Low Moss.

He said: “This new building, and the way it is designed, will allow prison management to impose tough new crackdowns on inmates, such as cutting the power to cells during the day and operating a 9-5 working week.”

As well as a health centre and gym, the new Low Moss has a link centre where prisoners will be able to deal with matters relating to employment, housing, social work, addictions and other issues.

There’s a full size astroturf football pitch and five-a-side pitches.

Cells in the new prison are on four wings over three levels and all are kitted out with a bed, desk and chair, toilet, shower and television, which they will pay a small sum to view.

Prisoners will relocate to Low Moss on a phased basis from March 19. Some will be transferred from other jails and many will be newly sentenced inmates.

Jobs have been created locally, with officers and administration staff recruited from the community and surrounding area.

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