EXCLUSIVE: BBC slammed over violent Fife prisoner’s appearance in Perth jail documentary

The BBC has been criticised for featuring a violent Fife prisoner in a new documentary filmed in Perth’s jail.

The thug, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is one of several inmates interviewed about overcrowding in Scotland’s prisons.

But Tory MSP Russell Findlay questioned whether the convicted criminal should be given air time on the Beeb’s latest Disclosure documentary, which airs on Monday night and is available on iPlayer.

The HMP Perth prisoner was jailed in 2022 for attacking his former partner with a bottle before biting off part of a man’s ear during an unprovoked attack.

A year later he was convicted of kicking a stranger in the head during an attack at a Fife pub.

‘Disgusting record’

The inmate is currently on remand and awaiting trial.

Mr Findlay, a former investigative journalist, said: “Viewers of this BBC documentary are unable to know the background of certain prisoner’s backgrounds due to live criminal proceedings.

“But if they were aware of this individual’s disgusting record of extreme violence, it would likely dispel any sympathy he seems to think that he deserves.

“A report provided to a court stated that he had little insight into his crimes, so it seems jarring for the BBC to seek his insight into prison conditions.”

Scottish Conservatives’ Shadow Justice Secretary, Russell Findlay.

The Disclosure documentary, presented by Lucy Adams, explores the impact of overcrowding, drug use and suicides behind bars as Scotland’s prisons come under heavy pressure.

The BBC spent five days filming in HMP Perth, the country’s oldest jail.

Andy Hodge, the prison’s governor, says a lack of space for inmates has led to increased tensions, with footage of a jail fight shown in the programme.

He said: “The pressure of population is forcing us to put more people into one room. That’s a real stretch.

“Two adult men into a room where you’ve got one TV, one kettle…tensions start to build, people start to fall out.

“Violence amongst the residents starts to go up.”

‘Sensitive subject’

A spokesperson for the BBC said: “We interviewed several prisoners in HMP Perth for a documentary looking at the impact of overcrowding in Scotland’s prisons.

“We acknowledge this is a sensitive subject, particularly for those who have been the victims of crime.

“The film provides a rare and valuable insight into current conditions.

“Both Victim Support Scotland and the Head of the Scottish Prison Service talk in the programme about how relieving pressure to be able to focus on rehabilitation work on the inside can help keep communities safe outside prison.”

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