Inmates have assaulted almost 900 staff working in Scotland’s prisons in the last three years, figures show.
Scottish Prison Service (SPS) data reveals there were 265 assaults by inmates on prison staff last year, bringing the total for the period 2020-21 to 2022-23 to 895.
There were also 4,786 assaults by prisoners on fellow inmates over the three years, including 1,501 in 2022-23.
Numbers are down from 2019-20, when there were 3,009 assaults by prisoners on other inmates, and 375 assaults on staff.
That was said to be due to a number of factors, including a change in reporting practices in prisons, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, when a number of prisoners were freed early.
Speaking about figures, released by the SPS under freedom of information laws, Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: “No one should go to work expecting to be assaulted.”
He added that “overworked prison staff are finding themselves with less time to work with individuals” and are “increasingly encountering unsafe situations” inside Scotland’s jails.
With the figures also showing an increase on attacks on inmates by prisoners in Addiewell Prison in West Lothian, where such incidents increased from 112 in 2020-21 to 232 in 2022-23, McArthur said: “It’s troubling to see that there has been a rise in assaults in the privately-run Addiewell Prison over the past two years.
“Prisons can be a pressure cooker but the Government must ensure that high safety standards are maintained across the entire prison sector.
“These staff need proper support if prisons are to be a safe space that breaks the cycle of reoffending.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Assaults on prison staff and other prisoners are completely unacceptable.
“We have provided an extra £29m this year to support the Scottish Prison Service to deliver a stable and secure prison system on top of the £97m in capital funding that we are giving to continue the modernisation of the prison estate to better meet the needs of staff and prisoners.”