THE parents of a young woman who killed herself in jail after enduring “horrific experiences” are to meet Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf to ask for a review of the prison system.

Katie Allan’s family are hoping the meeting will help to avoid similar tragedies in future.

The 21-year-old geography student was sentenced to 16 months in jail at Paisley Sheriff Court in March for a drink-driving offence in East Renfrewshire which saw her injure a teenage pedestrian.

Stuart and Linda Allan say their daughter was bullied in Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution, near Falkirk, and lost more than 80 per cent of her hair due to the state of her mental health.

Barrhead News:

Geography student Katie was just 21 when she took her own life

Katie had told University of Glasgow chaplain Stuart McQuarrie of her distress over repeated strip searches.

Staff also allegedly failed to act on warnings from her family that she was vulnerable and had a history of self-harm.

She died at Polmont in June.

Mum Linda said: “Katie absolutely broke the law, that is not in dispute. Katie pleaded guilty and fully accepted she should be punished, that also is not in dispute.

“What we didn’t realise is that one impulsive decision would ultimately cost Katie her life.

“The hardest thing for us to accept is how devastatingly Katie was let down by those that were ultimately responsible for her care.

“Some may say that Katie deserved what happened. She certainly deserved punishment but this is Scotland, this is the 21st century – what Katie did not deserve was the horrific experiences she endured daily at the hands of the Scottish Prison Service.”

The review would cover the prison service, women in custody and the provision of mental health services.

It would also look at how to reform the Fatal Accident Inquiry system, which the family say is no longer fit for purpose as hearings can take years to complete.

Their lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said: “This is an issue not just to the families of the deceased but to prison staff who do not have the resources to deal with mental health provision as well as the aftermath of a suicide.

“The Allans, like many other families before them, have seen a culture of secrecy and defensiveness which is not interested in learning the lessons or accepting responsibility.”

Relatives of the drink-driving victim, who was knocked down while jogging in Giffnock, had urged the courts not to impose a custodial sentence.

They have been in contact with Katie’s family since her death and were at the campaign launch last week to offer their support.

Figures released by the campaign show there have been 130 deaths in Scottish prisons since 2014.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “This is of course a set of very tragic circumstances and our sympathies are with all who have been affected by this sad death.

“All deaths that occur in Scottish prisons are subject to a Fatal Accident Inquiry and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further until this takes place.”

The family’s meeting with Mr Yousaf is set to take place at the Scottish Parliament within the next fortnight.

Mr Anwar said the Justice Secretary is “keen to hear directly from the family and offer his sympathies in person on the death of Katie.”