Inmates at HMP Perth submitted an average of 17 complaints every week this year, covering issues like bullying and the prison’s Covid restrictions.
Prisoners at the Category A lockup sent a total of 793 complaints in the year leading up to November 2021, data obtained by The Courier shows.
In one of the most serious cases, a prisoner claimed to have been sexually assaulted by another inmate.
The prison houses those on remand and awaiting trial, as well as adult men serving short and long-term sentences of over four years.
Inmates include John Styles, who is serving a minimum term of 15 years after stabbing artist Jeroen van Neijhof, 38, to death.
Objections about day-to-day life at HMP Perth made up the bulk of complaints, with complaints about property, the prison regime, visits, phone calls and work making up 123 of the 278 less serious class 1 complaints.
Less common complaints included eight criticisms each of staff and medical services, six about inmate clothing and four centred on prison wages.
Dozens of inmates also raised issues about the canteen and how they purchase sundry items like newspapers, the figures showed.
Restrictions put in place to control the spread of coronavirus in the prison also attracted numerous gripes, with prison bosses dealing with 12 such protests between January and November.
Covid complaints at HMP Perth
Hundreds of inmates at the jail have been forced to isolate at different points during the pandemic, including in October last year after 30 people at the facility tested positive for coronavirus.
Murderer George Greenshields, 68, who was serving time at HMP Perth, was among the first prison inmates in Scotland to die from Covid-19.
He had been convicted of murder in July 1988 after killing a homeless man and burning his body. Released in 2005, he was recalled under the terms of his life sentences the following year after admitting to slitting a man’s throat.
A total of 515 more serious PFC2 complaints were received, requiring resolution by senior members of staff at HMP Perth.
One case of sexual assault reported by prisoner
Prisoners are able to submit such objections, deemed to be of a “serious or sensitive nature”, direct to the governor, but the subject matter is not recorded.
Violence is closely monitored at HMP Perth, with figures released showing the number of cases of violent behaviour reported.
One case of sexual assault was reported by a prisoner at HMP Perth, while 21 cases of inmate violence were also raised with the governor.
No complaints about sexual assault against staff were recorded.
Warders did, however, raise grievances over 33 instances of prisoner violence towards them.
Those unhappy with how prison authorities deal with their complaint are able to escalate it to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
The Scottish Prison Service, which manages HMP Perth, says that the process for managing complaints is governed by legislation.
“An internal complaints procedure exists within the SPS and our handling of complaints is subject to scrutiny by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman as well as HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland,” a spokesperson said.