Anger as Sex Offenders Are Allowed Home Visits

Daily Mail (London), September 28, 2006 | Go to article overview

Anger as Sex Offenders Are Allowed Home Visits


Byline: SIMON JOHNSON

NOTORIOUS sex offenders are being let out of prison for home visits to expose them to normal society before they are released.

Supposed low-risk deviants are allowed out without handcuffs from Peterhead Prison, whose inmates include rapist and murderer William Beggs and suspected serial killer Angus Sinclair.

They can visit their homes, shopping centres and cafes for up to two hours at a time while escorted by guards.

Dozens are later freed without taking part in a scheme to stop them reoffending because waiting lists for the programme are too long.

Andrew McLellan, Scotland's Chief Inspector of Prisons, is increasingly concerned that 'manipulative' offenders are only signing up so they are more likely to be released on parole.

The home visits were yesterday labelled a disgrace by victims' organisations but the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) maintained they were for the benefit of public safety.

Margaret Watson, of campaign group Justice for Victims, said: 'It makes you sick to your stomach.

'There have been a number of cases where prisoners have been allowed out on day release and have gone on to commit other crimes - and a lot of these are violent sex offenders.' The scheme is unveiled in a report on Peterhead Prison by Dr McLellan.

The jail houses Scotland's most dangerous sex offenders but towards the end of their sentences they are considered for home leave if they are deemed 'low risk'.

Dr McLellan argues in the report that the initiative reduces the risk long-term sex offenders pose to the public. …

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