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Whining criminals accused of thinking Tayside jails are “more akin to a Premier Inn”

Perth Prison.
Perth Prison.

Moaning inmates making complaints in Tayside jails have been accused of thinking prison “is more akin to a Premier Inn”.

Mid Scotland and Fife Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser was speaking after figures revealed just a handful of 400 complaints being made every year are being upheld.

Murderers, rapists and other criminals have been griping about a range of issues at HMP Perth and HMP Castle Huntly including privileges and supervision levels.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser.
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser.

Mr Fraser said: “Obviously serious complaints need to be investigated thoroughly but the low percentage that have ruled in favour of prisoners suggests that criminals think prison is more akin to a Premier Inn than a chance to repay a debt to society.

“Ultimately, prison must act as both a deterrent and an opportunity for rehabilitation.

“A balance must be struck between providing an environment to change behaviour and one that does not encourage future re-offending.

“Victims of crime would be appalled to think that criminals are being offered five-star treatment and conditions in prison must reflect the need for justice to be served.”

HMP Castle Huntly.
HMP Castle Huntly.

There were 358 complaints made by prisoners in Perth in 2015/16 and 335 last year with 54 at Castle Huntly in 2015/16 going up to 69 in 2016/17.

Just 9% of complaints were upheld in Perth in 2015/16 and 12% last year while no complaints were upheld at Castle Huntly in 2015/16 with just 6% upheld last year.

The most commonly complained-about issues in Perth were security, control and progression, followed by health, welfare and religion – mainly about the provision of religious diests.

Mike Rumbles MSP.
Mike Rumbles MSP.

On the open estate the most common complaint regarded leave from prison, followed by concerns about security, control and progression.

North East Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles said: “It is right that complaints are properly investigated and that we learn from the occasions where something has gone wrong.

“Scottish Prison Service staff do an important job under difficult circumstances.

“The best way help them and help aid rehabilitation is to reduce the number of complaints by relieving the pressure on our prisons.”

Complaints must be filed to the SPS directly, but prisoners can then contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman if they are unhappy with a decision.

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