Perth prison is set to feature in a new documentary which lays bare the impact of overcrowding in Scottish jails.
HMP Perth is shown in an episode of the BBC’s Disclosure programme which will air on Monday.
The BBC was given access to film at the jail – the oldest in Scotland – for five days.
The documentary found the ratio of staff to prisoners on the halls is about one officer to 23 prisoners.
Reporter Lucy Adams also speaks to inmates, including Kieran Wallace, who is on remand and awaiting trial.
He sleeps in a cell built in the early 1800s. It was meant for one prisoner but now houses two.
He told Lucy “it would be hard enough for one person, never mind two”.
Andy Hodge, the governor at Perth prison, admits overcrowding pressures have led to increased tensions.
He said: “The pressure of population is forcing us to put more people into one room.
“That’s a real stretch.
“Two adult men into a room where you’ve got one TV, one kettle, tensions start to build, people start to fall out.
“Violence amongst the residents starts to go up.”
‘It’s difficult for most people’
Brian Kinloch, who is in HMP Perth on remand awaiting trial, described the difficulties he faced with his mental health.
He said: “Since I’ve been in, I’ve been trying to access mental health which has been very difficult.
“It’ll be a seven-month waiting list.
“It’s difficult for most people. There was a suicide just there. A young boy, 24 years old.
“This is more like a mental health facility than a prison.
“Like I said, the boy down there didn’t have seven months in him.”
Brian was one of 662 prisoners in Perth when Disclosure was filmed. The prison capacity is 630.
Fellow inmate Chris Martin told how he began taking heroin at 15 years old and has been in prison more than 30 times.
Chris, who is due to be released soon, also spoke of his long-term aspirations.
“I’m getting a job. I want to start a family”, he said.
“I want to just be able to live a normal lifestyle.”
Speaking in the documentary, the head of the Scottish Prison Service Teresa Medhurst said drastic measures may be needed to address the problem.
“If I have to say enough is enough then it is because we are at a tipping point,” she said.
“We cannot take any more. Prisons become very unsafe. The atmosphere, the tension, the volatility increases. Levels of violence increase, levels of self-harm increase.”
Disclosure: Prisons on the Brink, will on BBC One Scotland at 8pm on Monday.