Tayside and Central Scotland

Report criticises 'extremely cramped' Perth prison

HMP Perth Image copyright Google
Image caption At the time of inspection, 626 men were held at HMP Perth, which has a capacity of 631

Perth prison has been criticised by inspectors for "extremely cramped" conditions amid reports single cells regularly housed two inmates.

The report from David Strang, chief inspector of prisons for Scotland, made 41 recommendations to improve performance at the jail.

However he said the report was "good" overall, with positive points raised about food, visiting arrangements and staff-prisoner relationships.

The jail was inspected in December.

The prison, Scotland's oldest, was built in 1810 by Napoleonic prisoners of war and has an agreed capacity of 631. At the time of inspection, there were a total of 626 prisoners held there.

The jail has previously been criticised for overcrowding.

'Insufficient room'

Mr Strang said the standard of accommodation at the prison was "reasonable", but noted: "Some cells are designed as single cell accommodation were regularly occupied by two people, and were extremely cramped with insufficient room to move around in."

He also reported that while prisoners have "good access to a varied regime" including work, education and recreation, "work party spaces are insufficient, which results in some prisoners spending longer periods of time within their cells".

Between 1 January and 30 November there were 94 recorded violent incidents in the prison, including nine attacks on staff, 48 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults, and 37 fights between prisoners. The prison authorities responded to this by introducing a revised violence reduction strategy.

Mr Strang concluded that "overall this is a good report for HMP Perth", and said the inspectorate would continue to monitor progress made in relation to the 41 recommendations.

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