The cost of violent inmates trashing and setting fire to cells at Perth Prison amounts to more than £60,000 in four years, it has been revealed.
Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, hit out at the alarming figures, stating Perth Prison has a reputation as one of Scotland’s most violent jails and these figures will do little to change this view.
Figures released by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) through the Freedom of Information Act show a total cost of £59,159.82 from the 2015/15 financial year to the present one (2018/19).
The statistics also show the cost of cell damage from fires being started deliberately by inmates in the 2018/19 financial year has been £1,326.37 so far.
Rioting inmates caused damage of around £30,000 in the 2015/16 period at the prison, when violent prisoners set fire to a pool table in the jail’s C-Hall. Other inmates were evacuated and the scene of mayhem was eventually brought under control by police in riot gear.
Two prisoners, convicted killer Kristopher Marshall and Ronald Smith, had staged a stand-off in C-Hall.
The FoI figures are the latest data to tarnish the reputation of Perth Prison. The penal building in the city’s Edinburgh Road has been criticised for drug seizures over recent years and has also seen attempts to land drones full of illegal contraband in its grounds.
On Wednesday, Mr Fraser said it was disappointing to see so much money being spent “needlessly” every year at the prison.
“Perth Prison has a reputation as one of Scotland’s most violent jails and these figures will do little to change this perception,” he said.
“It is important that those guilty of committing criminal damage on the inside are held accountable in order to discourage this type of behaviour.”
A SPS spokesperson said: “SPS has a duty to ensure that the prison establishments, including the living areas, are in a good state of repair and as such have to repair damage caused.”
The FoI figures showed that the cost of damage to cells at Perth Prison in 2015/16 was £32,391.18 (10 cells), falling to £7,560.80 (13 cells) in 2016/17. It then rose to £17,017.34 (22 cells) in 2017/18 and totals £2,190.50 (seven cells) so far in 2018/19.
SPS confirmed there were no repair costs caused by deliberate fires to cells in the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years.