What is Perth Prison Like?

Perth Prison, located in Perth, Scotland, is the oldest operational prison in the country, originally built to house French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars. Opened in 1812 and later converted to a civilian prison in 1842, it serves as a medium-security facility with a capacity of over 700 inmates, primarily housing adult male prisoners​​​​.

What is Perth Prison Like

Rehabilitation Programs at Perth Prison

Perth Prison is dedicated to the rehabilitation of its inmates through various educational and vocational programs. These programs are designed to help inmates acquire new skills and qualifications that will aid in their reintegration into society. The prison offers courses in carpentry, computer skills, and other trades, alongside academic subjects to support inmates in achieving their educational goals​​​​.

Educational and Vocational Training

Inmates at Perth Prison can access a range of educational opportunities, from basic literacy and numeracy to more advanced vocational training. The facility provides real-life training and accreditation, with new employment initiatives aimed at improving inmates’ job prospects post-release. These programs are part of the prison’s broader effort to reduce reoffending by equipping inmates with practical skills​​​​.

Life Inside Perth Prison

Life at Perth Prison is structured around a routine of meals, work, exercise, and educational activities. The prison has several halls, including a modernized C Hall that accommodates 365 prisoners. Despite efforts to modernize, some areas of the prison, such as A and B Halls, are criticized for cramped conditions that do not meet modern standards. Efforts are ongoing to improve these facilities​​​​.

Visiting Perth Prison

Visits to Perth Prison can be arranged through a booking system. The prison provides facilities for both physical and video visits, allowing inmates to maintain connections with their families. Visitors must adhere to security protocols, including presenting valid identification and undergoing security checks. A Family Contact Officer is available to assist with any queries related to visits​​​​.

Communication and Support

Inmates at Perth Prison can keep in touch with their families through phone calls, emails, and letters. The prison also provides various support services, including addiction support and mental health care, to address the diverse needs of its population. These services are crucial for maintaining the well-being of inmates and supporting their rehabilitation​​​​.

Community and External Support

Perth Prison collaborates with several external organizations to enhance its rehabilitation efforts. These partnerships provide additional resources, such as mental health services and educational programs, ensuring a comprehensive approach to inmate rehabilitation. The prison’s recovery hub, developed in partnership with agencies led by individuals with lived experiences of substance use, is a notable initiative​​​​.

Security and Safeguarding

Ensuring the safety and security of inmates and staff is a top priority at Perth Prison. The facility employs advanced security measures, including surveillance systems and controlled access points, to maintain order. Regular inspections and continuous improvements aim to address any safety concerns and enhance the overall environment within the prison​​​​.

Accommodation at Perth Prison

Perth Prison accommodates over 700 inmates in a mix of single and double cells. While some parts of the prison have been modernized, others still reflect the age of the facility and require further improvements to meet modern standards. Efforts are ongoing to address these issues and provide a safer, more comfortable environment for inmates​​​​.


Perth Prison combines a rich history with modern correctional practices, aiming to rehabilitate inmates through comprehensive educational and vocational programs. Despite challenges such as overcrowding and outdated facilities, the prison is committed to improving conditions and supporting inmates in their reintegration into society. Continuous efforts and collaborations with external organizations are key to maintaining and building upon these improvements​​​​.


  1. What type of offenders are housed at Perth Prison?

    • Perth Prison houses adult male inmates, including those on remand, short-term sentences, and long-term sentences.
  2. What facilities does Perth Prison offer?

    • The prison offers healthcare services, educational courses, vocational training, and addiction support programs.
  3. How does Perth Prison support rehabilitation?

    • Rehabilitation programs include education, vocational training, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and addiction support.
  4. Can inmates at Perth Prison make phone calls?

    • Yes, inmates can make phone calls to approved contacts, following the prison’s regulations regarding communication.
  5. How can I book a visit to Perth Prison?

    • Visits can be booked via the prison’s dedicated phone line or online system, with visitors required to provide valid identification and undergo security checks.
  6. What are the visiting hours at Perth Prison?

    • Visiting hours are scheduled throughout the week, with specific times confirmed upon booking.
  7. What kind of educational opportunities are available at Perth Prison?

    • The prison offers courses in literacy, numeracy, and vocational training, as well as higher education opportunities.
  8. How does Perth Prison address inmate safety and well-being?

    • Advanced security measures, regular inspections, and dedicated support services ensure the safety and well-being of inmates.
  9. What external organizations work with Perth Prison?

    • Perth collaborates with various organizations to provide additional support and services, including healthcare and educational programs.
  10. What challenges does Perth Prison face?

    • Challenges include managing overcrowding and ensuring adequate rehabilitation opportunities, but ongoing efforts aim to address these issues through infrastructure and service improvements.

External Link for More Information

For more detailed information about Perth Prison, you can visit the Scottish Prison Service page.

Research URLs

Visit our other prisons such as Mountjoy Prison.