The mother of a 21-year-old woman who took her own life in Polmont young offenders institution has told MSPs her family are still experiencing trauma.

Linda Allan said they are still waiting for a fatal accident inquiry into the death, with the five-year anniversary approaching this summer.

University of Glasgow student Katie Allan died at Polmont in 2018 while serving a sentence for a drink-driving offence that led to a 15-year-old boy being knocked unconscious on Eastwoodmains Road in Giffnock. 

Her mother spoke to Holyrood’s Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday, as it considers legislation which would extend the use of the children’s hearing system to older teenagers.

Welcoming her to the committee, convener Audrey Nicoll thanked Ms Allan and said the MSPs were “aware of the traumatic experience you have had of the criminal justice system”.

Ms Allan said: “We are experiencing – it’s not finished.”

She said her daughter was a first-time offender who was sent to Polmont.

Ms Allan said she and her husband have been researching and collecting data as they try to “come to terms and understand what happened in the establishment”.

She said: “We still wait on a fatal accident inquiry into our daughter’s death.

“It will be five years on June 4 since our daughter died.”

The main reason for the delay is the fact the family are pursuing a criminal conviction of the prison service, she said, something the Crown Office is still investigating.

Due to the principle of Crown immunity, a direct prosecution of the prison service has proved to be legally difficult.

Ms Allan said the Children (Care and Justice) (Scotland) Bill should go further in ensuring young people are not incarcerated.

She said: “Katie was probably a bit different from many people who end up in custodial settings.

“It makes no sense to me why we as a society put traumatised, disenfranchised young people into a traumatic environment.”

She noted there have been 49 deaths of under-25s in the prison system since 2005, most of whom took their own lives within the first three months of incarceration.

Ms Allan added: “Young people should not be dying in prison.”