The Press and Journal can reveal that a state-of-the-art north-east prison accidentally released one of its inmates last year.
HMP Grampian opened in 2014 and was hailed as the first of a new generation of jails in Scotland.
However, since the £150million superjail opened its doors, it has been plagued by controversies and was branded a “white elephant” by a local councillor who suggested the money would have been better spent on local infrastructure.
Now, through a Freedom of Information request made to the Scottish Prison Service, HMP Grampian has admitted that one of its prisoners was let out into the community earlier than they should have been.
It is not known what the prisoner, who cannot be identified, was serving time for in the jail.
A spokesman for the SPS said providing this information would cost more than the budget available to deal with FOI requests.
Legislation brought in through the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 means that public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if it considers the cost of producing the information would exceed the upper cost limit – £600.
The spokesman continued: “The costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. We would have to manually interrogate every individual prisoner record and warrant
“A search of individual records would therefore exceed the cost limit on this occasion.”
It is the latest blow that the jail has suffered since opening.
Over Christmas, it was revealed that HMP Grampian was paying more money than in the past to feed its inmates holiday lunches.
At the time, Eben Wilson, of Taxpayer Scotland, said: “Letting these costs go out of control must not be allowed to happen – they need a full audit to ensure we are getting value for the money spent.”
And, in November, a former prisoner came forward with several complaints about her time at HMP Grampian, ranging from being taken from hospital with hypothermia when the heating failed, to the plumbing being infested with maggots.