Prison in Bishopbriggs will take inmates from Barlinnie

An artist's impression of Low Moss from above
An artist's impression of Low Moss from above

THE new Low Moss Prison is all set to open in the spring – with inmates transferring from Barlinnie.

The new jail in Bishopbriggs will accommodate 700 inmates with approximately 300 staff.

The population will be more than double the old Low Moss, which closed in May 2007, while the facility itself is three times as big.

A Scottish Prison Service (SPS) spokesman said: “It’s very much nearing completion. We expect to take delivery of it in the next few weeks to begin the commissioning phase.

“We won’t be opening it until the spring. It’s going very well.”

The SPS has been recruiting “extensively” over the last few months, although the majority of the staff will be experienced officers transferring to HMP Low Moss from other prisons.

The old Low Moss originally started out as a World War II barrage balloon station, being converted into a ‘temporary’ prison in 1968.

The old prison was operated by the SPS for low-category prisoners who had sentences of less than 36 months to serve.

The SPS says all prisons – including the new HMP Low Moss – are now built to take the highest category of prisoner as standard.

The new Low Moss will also help to address overcrowding issues within Sottish prisons.

HMP Barlinnie in particular is a concern and prisoners will transfer from there to Low Moss – which will serve the north Strathclyde area.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill said: “We are continuing to invest in improving the whole prison estate and delivering two new prisons – HMP Low Moss and HMP Grampian – alongside the ongoing redevelopment of HMP Shotts. This will help relieve some of the overcrowding pressures faced at Barlinnie and the wider prison estate.”

The Scottish Government announced in January 2007 that Low Moss would be completely rebuilt.

However, the working title of the project – HMP Bishopbriggs – sparked controversy, with widespread local opposition to the ‘name change’.

Thousands of people signed a petition calling for Low Moss to be kept as the moniker, with fears over the negative connotations of HMP Bishopbriggs for the area.

Carillion has designed and built the new HMP Low Moss in a deal worth in the region of £116million.