Criminals doing time in Tayside and Forth Valley will be tucking in to Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, The Courier has learned.
Inmates will be served up roast turkey and veg followed by Christmas pudding, before being handed goody bags containing Mars Bars, mince pies, fizzy drinks and hot chocolate.
But before all that many will put away a full Scottish “brunch” of bacon, sausage, egg, potato scone and baked beans.
The festive menus at Perth Prison, Castle Huntly Open Estate near Dundee, Polmont Young Offenders Institution, Glenochil Prison in Clackmannanshire and women’s prison Cornton Vale in Stirling were revealed to The Courier following a Freedom of Information request.
Castle Huntly, which oversees convicts nearing the end of sentences of 18 months or more, will offer a three-course lunch beginning with scotch broth.
Inmates will then be given a choice of three main courses roast turkey and trimmings, mushroom, spinach and cranberry wellington or curry.
Christmas pudding with vanilla sauce will then be served up, or fresh fruit for those counting the calories.
Their “evening bag” will include sausage rolls, cheese rolls, mince pies, satsumas, cola and Mars Bars.
Young offenders aged 16 to 21 at Polmont will enjoy a similar three-course meal before taking a goody bag containing a selection box, a snowball and hot chocolate back to their cells.
Menus vary across the prison estate and women prisoners at Cornton Vale will enjoy chocolate gateau, coffee and mints instead of Christmas pudding.
Perth prison will offer a breakfast of cereal and a roll, a cooked brunch with sausages, bacon and eggs, Christmas lunch and trimming as well as a “snack pack”.
Criminals at Glenochil will get a traditional lunch and an “evening meal” which will include crisps, fruit, biscuits, cake, chocolate and a cheese baguette.
Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Murdo Fraser questioned the SPS’s decision to offer a festive menu to inmates when many of his constituents are struggling to put food on the table.
He said: “When many families are struggling to pay the bills, here we have prisoners living it up with breakfast, brunch, Christmas lunch and an evening snack pack.
“Many families across the region will look on these luxurious menus with envy. Although I don’t begrudge inmates enjoying a Christmas lunch and some Christmas cheer, it is the scale of the goodies on offer that will shock many residents.
“Prison must act as a deterrent but if this is the kind of living they can look forward to then we must ask if it is doing its job.”
Eben Wilson, director of pressure group Taxpayer Scotland, said: “You have to question whether it’s proportionate when you consider there are many families who have literally no money at all at Christmas.
“Using our taxes to provide comfort to criminals is really not the best use of our money.”
An SPS spokesman said: “The serving of a festive menu in our prisons is a small gesture to mark the season, which can be a difficult time for many in our custody.”
He added: “There is no additional budget for Christmas meals.”