SCOTS prisoners are to be treated to a host of parties, concerts and competitions over Christmas including karaoke and comedy nights.
Inmates will enjoy stand-up comedians, live music and table tennis championships during the festive period. They will also be given gifts if they win festive quizzes and bingo games.
Activities laid on by jail bosses for Christmas and New Year also include a pantomime, football and strongman events.
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said more than £4,000 will be spent on the Christmas parties and events with most of the cost paid for through “common good funds”, made up of charitable donations and prison workshop profits.
Inmates at Barlinnie in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest prison, will be treated to a comedy gig, a chat show and a variety show.
At HMP Grampian there will be a ‘champion table tennis and pool competition’ and bingo games and quizzes with cash prizes being presented to the winners.
Low Moss jail near Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, will host a karaoke night, ‘guess the sweets in jar’ contests and a three-day multi-sports competitions.
At Polmont Young Offenders Institution there will be a talent contest while at HMP Edinburgh there will be an ‘interactive quiz’, a live band and carol services.
Shotts maximum security prison in Lanarkshire, home to some of the country’s worst offenders, will hold sports days, quizzes and a children’s pantomime.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Liam Kerr MSP said: “No-one expects prisoners to be left neglected in their cell with no sense of Christmas spirit.
“But prison bosses should also consider the impact these festivities have on victims, some of whom have had their lives ruined by the crimes these inmates committed.
“A balance has to be struck, and many will look at these activities and say they’re excessive.”
Earlier this month, it was revealed inmates will be tucking into cooked traditional breakfasts and three-course turkey dinners with all the trimmings over the festive period.
Dishes on offer include nut roasts, lamb curry, chicken balmoral, hazelnut cranberry wellington, meat platters and deserts such as Black Forest Gateau, followed by coffee and after-dinner mints.
Many prisons are offering a vegetarian alternative plus a Halal option for Muslims. They will also be treated to top-of-the-range New Year’s Day dinners including homemade steak pie and braised beef slice.
More than half of the offenders held in Scotland’s open prison are being allowed home over the festive period. A total of 131 of the 218 inmates in Castle Huntly have home leave during Christmas week.
A spokesman for the SPS said: “The vast majority of these events where there are costs associated are paid for through the common good fund which the prisoners contribute to. Other events are paid for from existing budgets.
“Christmas is a very important time for everyone and it is also a time when families have the opportunity to spend time with people in our care. These events can nurture family relationships which help to reduce reoffending.”