What was the jail riot in Scotland about

01:00 Fri 05th Apr 2002 |

asks Bronski:
It all went badly wrong at Shotts maximum security prison in Lanarkshire last Wednesday evening. There was an electrical storm that cut off the electricity just after 8pm. At the time, the prisoners had gathered to watch the European Champions League tie between Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen.

Unfortunate timing...
Yes. The prisoners were angry because they couldn't see the end of the football match. They were ordered back to their cells by prison officers, but two groups of inmates - about 200 men in all - refused to go. Scuffles and stand-offs followed as fires were lit, causing a fair amount of damage

Q. Did the power cut open the cells
No, says the prison service, the prisoners were already out of their cells when it happened. However, during the power cut, only manual locks - not the automatic ones - were working.

Q. Has anyone been hurt

Q. How long did it last
The trouble continued through most of Thursday. According to the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), the situation was resolved at 0508 BST on Friday.

Q. So it was just caused by a power cut
There will be the usual police investigation, of course, but politicians want an urgent review to find out how a simple thing like a short power cut could lead to a riot.

Karen Whitefield, Airdrie and Shotts Labour MSP, said 'I think we need to get to the bottom of what actually happened. Why did the outbreak occur, was it connected with the power supply cut-off or is that a red herring '

The SNP's depute justice spokesperson, Michael Matheson, demanded to know why the prison's back-up generator was not working.

Q. Is this the first time there has been trouble in Shotts prison
No. The purpose-built prison, which holds around 500 long-term prisoners, has seen a few incidents. In the early 1990s, for example, a group of prisoners destroyed their cells while a prison officer was held hostage.

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