Inmates serving time at an Inverness prison have been visited by martial arts masters who trained alongside Buddhist monks.
Forres-based Shaolin Scotland – the only traditional Shaolin school in the country – visited HMP Inverness to demonstrate what can be achieved through training the body and mind.
Inmates took part in a training meditation session, while some even witnessed a daring martial arts demonstration involving a bed of nails.
According to prison magazine, The Gallery, the “highlight” for many was seeing two demonstrators “sandwiched between a bed of nails, a concrete block laid over the top person and then smashed with a sledge hammer”.
Last night, a victim support group said the visit was “as far away from punishment as you can get”.
However, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) confirmed that no prisoners were involved in the bed of nails demonstration, and that the session came at no cost to the prison service.
The event was organised as part of a partnership between Fife College and SPS to allow prisoners to experience other cultures.
During the visit to Inverness, Shaolin Budhist disciple Paul Nicol, from Nairn, and his students taught the inmates about Qi Gong, a system of body posture and movement used to improve health and spirituality.
Mr Nairn has been made a disciple of the famous Shaolin Temple in eastern China, the 5th-century monastery which has become a shrine for aficionados of kung fu the world over.
David Hines of the National Victims’ Association said: “Victims don’t get any help, funding or recognition whatsoever.
“I find it abhorent and outrageous that this sort of thing is allowed to go on in prisons – it is about as far away from punishment as you can get.”
An SPS spokesman said: “This was a partnership event between Fife College and SPS to allow those in our care to experience other cultures.”
No one from Shaolin Scotland could be reached for comment last night.