HM Prison Barlinnie


Located in the East End of the city of Glasgow, Barlinnie Prison is the last remaining of the city's eight 19th Century prisons. Built in 1880 on farmland, the prison was created to alleviate the crowding which existed in the prison system in Scotland at that time. Designed to hold 1000 male prisoners, it regularly holds more than this. The inmates are predominately remand or short-stay prisoners, those prisoners serving sentences up to 4 years. The prison has a segregation unit and a specialist drug reduction unit. The latter used to be the Special Unit - an experimental rehabilitation centre and which opened in 1973. This accomodated around ten prisoners and was home to the infamous Jimmy Boyle (b. 1944). The Special Unit closed in 1994. Despite its successes and being lauded internationally, it was met with criticism from politicians and the public who saw it as a soft option for hardened criminals.

In 2002, following a unique trial in the Netherlands, Barlinnie became home to Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who was convicted of placing the bomb aboard the plane which exploded over Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 people. He was transferred to HMP Greenock in 2005.

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