§ Mr. McMahon
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in the interests of preserving the marriages of inmates, he will review the number of visits and the times allocated to visitors to prisoners in Scottish prisons; and if he will make improvements to the visitors' halls in those prisons.
§ Mr. Rifkind
The minimum of ordinary visits for convicted inmates serving two months or more in Scottish prisons is three half-hour visits every two months: additional visits are allowed for special purposes. There 309W are no immediate plans to increase this minimum scale but governors have a general discretion, and are encouraged, to improve on it wherever suitable accommodation and staff coverage are available. In many cases, governors have used this discretion to extend the length of visits, particularly for long-term prisoners.
Improvements in accommodation used for visiting, where these are needed, are already included in the agreed building programmes for a number of prisons and improvements will continue to be made as quickly as available resources allow this to be done.