South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has praised prison workers as the ‘unsung heroes’ of the pandemic, during a visit to HMP Dumfries on Friday.
The local MSP met with Governor Linda Dorward to hear about how the prison has coped during the pandemic.
A recent report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland praised the prison for its handling of two Covid outbreaks during the pandemic.
It said: “HMP Dumfries was the first prison in Scotland to suffer a COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020 and a second more severe one in February 2021. However, there were no positive cases amongst prisoners between these two outbreaks, and the resilience, professionalism and flexibility shown by SPS and NHS staff in responding to the pandemic, particularly the second outbreak, is highly commendable. Positive relationships between staff and prisoners helped when large parts of the prison had to be put into full lockdown during the second outbreak.
“The Governor in Charge is a strong and capable leader who deserves credit for her team’s management of this second outbreak when at times there were very few staff, including senior management, available to maintain the service.”
Colin Smyth said: “It was fantastic to be able to visit HMP Dumfries and speak to Linda and her staff about how the prison has coped during the pandemic.
“It’s been a completely unprecedented time for everyone but the difficulties of keeping so many prisoners safe from the virus have been enormous.
“While Covid-19 has produced huge challenges for prisons, prison workers have been the unsung heroes of the pandemic and I’d like to say thank you to them all and to Linda for her leadership which was rightly recognised by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.
“Those who work in our prisons are often forgotten and overlooked but they do a vital job and I can’t praise them enough.”