Anger at flat-screen TV prison order
- 13 November 2010
- From the section Scotland
The Scottish Prison Service is ordering hundreds of flat-screen televisions for inmates in order to meet energy efficiency targets, it has emerged.
It wants to acquire 1,600 19-inch sets for use across the estate, including at new sites at Shotts and Low Moss.
Labour expressed anger at the move and said it would "shock" the public.
However, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said the TV sets would not cost the taxpayer any money as prisoners were charged for television access.
Richard Baker, Labour's justice spokesman, said: "Many of my constituents can't afford new televisions, and particularly not swanky 19-inch flat-screen affairs. What sort of message does this send?"
The SPS said televisions had been "a feature" of prisons since 1999 when Labour began its eight-year term at Holyrood.
A spokesman for the service said: "SPS are seeking a future supply of in-cell televisions which are energy efficient to meet SPS green targets.
"It will require that the supplier holds stock that prisons will draw down as required."
The spokesman added: "Prisoners are charged £1 per week for televisions and we have around 7,800 prisoners at the moment. There is, therefore, no cost to the taxpayer.
"Televisions are not a right but a privilege, and prisoners have them at the discretion of the governor."
A Scottish government spokeswoman added: "Prisoners have to pay a weekly fee for this use and any purchase of equipment is paid for by prisoners themselves."