Criminals pocket £8m of taxpayers' cash for 'indignity' of slopping out

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SCOTTISH prisoners have been paid almost £8 million of taxpayers' money over the past three years in compensation for the "indignity" of slopping out, figures have revealed.

Some of Scotland's most dangerous inmates including murderers and rapists are among those to win compensation from the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), after judges ruled that "slopping out" - emptying their own waste buckets - breached their human rights.

The figures, revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that 7,682,800 was paid to prisoners in compensation between 2007-8 and 2009-10.

The SPS paid out 3,690,400 in 2007-8 and 3,761,400 in 2008-9, with the figures dropping to 231,000 in 2009-10 after the Scottish Government plugged a loophole which meant a one-year time limit was put on any new claims for compensation.

Prison chiefs claim slopping out has been axed in all Scots jails - but lawyers for rapists and paedophiles claim the rules are still being flouted as inmates at Peterhead Prison in Aberdeenshire have to use chemical toilets in their cells.

The cases flooded in after armed robber Robert Napier, lodged a successful claim in 2004. He was awarded 2,400 by Lord Bonomy who agreed with Napier that the slopping out process at Glasgow's Barlinnie jail was enough to "arise in him feelings of anxiety, anguish, inferiority and humiliation".

Other prisoners then came forward following that ruling, and the SPS have been forced to pay out on average 3,000 each to thousands of prisoners. Many other claims are understood to have been lodged after two convicted rapists were each awarded 500 damages at the Court of Session last week for having to empty a chemical toilet.

In the latest cases, the notorious Da Vinci rapist Robert Greens and double rapist Robert Stanger had a single cell in Peterhead prison and the use of a chemical toilet.

The men claimed the sanitary arrangements diminished their human dignity, and Lady Dorrion said when individuals had to slop out the chemical toilet themselves, and queue to do so, it constituted an interference with the respect for their private life.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "No-one likes seeing compensation paid out to convicted criminals. By closing a loophole that allowed prisoners to claim compensation beyond a one-year time bar, 50m was saved from a budget of 67m set aside for such payments."