Christmas feast for prisoners doing porridge

Castle Huntly.

Criminals doing porridge in prisons across Tayside will be treated to lavish Christmas meals with all the trimmings.

Full details of the huge lunches being served up behind bars over the festive season have been released by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).

Jail bosses have stressed that the meals, which are delivered at no extra cost to the taxpayer, are an important part of inmates’ rehabilitation.

And despite criticism of previous years’ servings, the SPS was praised for not going overboard on this year’s menus.

Inmates at Perth Prison will be enjoying breakfast, brunch and lunch on Christmas Day as well as a snack pack including Pot Noodle and a satsuma in the evening.

The day begins with breakfast cereal and a roll, followed by a brunch of bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomato and egg.

At lunchtime, they will be treated to roast turkey, stuffing and gravy alongside potatoes, sprouts and carrots.

Their main meal will be completed with a Christmas pudding covered in “festive sauce”.

Perth Prison, which is also hosting a pantomime for inmates and their relatives this year, offers a vegetarian alternative of vegetable kiev instead of turkey.

At Castle Huntly, where many of the 300 population will be allowed home to their families on Christmas Day, brunch will be served between 9.30am and 10am.

It includes a choice of cereal, cooked breakfast, halal-prepared sausage, veggie burger and potato scones.

Prisoners can chose from a late lunch of chicken Balmoral and trimmings; mushroom brie, hazelnut and cranberry wellington or Halal curry.

In the evening, they will relax with a goody bag containing a sausage roll, cheese roll, mincemeat pie, satsuma, coke and a Mars bar.

At HMP Glenochil, offenders are being treated to a three-course lunch of spiced parsnip soup, followed by roast turkey with stuffing, bacon-wrapped chipolata and roast potatoes and finished off with a chocolate orange gateau.

A similar dinner will be served up at Stirlingshire’s women’s only jail, Cornton Vale.

In recent years, the SPS has come under fire for serving up restaurant-style festive fare, while many law-abiding families struggle to make ends meet.

MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, Murdo Fraser, said jail bosses had come up with a sensible compromise.

“Clearly the prison service has listened to its critics,” he said.

“While I can understand the public being concerned when prisoners appear to be more comfortable than they maybe deserve to be, it is important to remember that prison is about rehabilitation as well as punishment.”

An SPS spokeswoman said the Christmas meals are a gesture of goodwill at a time of year when many in custody find it difficult to be separated from their loved ones.

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