Vice chair Phil Fairlie said
"The POA fully supports the steps taken by the Justice Secretary in addressing the transfer of prisoners to the open estate.
"The fact that at present it is only holding roughly half its capacity, despite record numbers of prisoners, would suggest that the conditions for admission to the open estate are far more stringent than was ever in place under previous administrations.
"In our dealings with the Justice Secretary, he has always shown a great understanding of the issues facing us within the prison service, and has been extremely supportive of the staff within it.
"Prison staff take their role on behalf of society very seriously and carry it out with great commitment and professionalism. At present we have a Justice Secretary who both recognises and supports them in that, and until such times as that changes, he
will continue to have the support of this union.
"This union is deeply concerned that some of the comments made this week simply undermine both the morale and confidence of the staff in our open estate, who are carrying out a very important role on behalf of the public in preparing prisoners for release back into our communities."
Who's the better judge of the efficacy of the Justice Secretary on prison policy? Would you rather trust Phil Fairlie or Iain Gray? On this, as on so much else, Labour is quite simply wrong.