Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid was given an insight into life at the “old” and “new” Peterhead prisons during visits this week.
The Scottish Conservative MP took a tour of both the former jail that is now a museum and the modern HMP Grampian on South Road that opened just four years ago.
There have been more than 160,000 visitors to the prison museum on the Admiralty Gateway since it opened in June 2016.
Mr Duguid said: “It is now 133 years since the Peterhead Convict Prison opened and I was fascinated to hear the history of the jail.
“I was particularly interested to hear that prisoners were put to work breaking down granite for use in building the Harbour of Refuge – but they did not build the breakwater itself.
“This project has been a great success since opening – with an average of 300-500 visitors a day and between 800 and 900 in the summer months.
“I am very passionate about encouraging tourism in the whole of the north-east, but particularly here in Banff and Buchan. There is certainly plenty to offer, but I think some local attractions have been under-represented – something I want to help remedy.”
On his visit to HMP Grampian, Mr Duguid added: “After the visit to the old jail, it was very interesting to see the 21st Century approach to the penal system, with an emphasis on rehabilitation.
“This was stressed during my visit, that prison and the withdrawal of liberty is in itself the punishment, not the place for punishment to be meted out.
“I was given an insight into the ways in which staff work with offenders to ensure they can be re-integrated into society provided they no longer pose a risk.
“Most of us never consider what happens behind prison walls so it was fascinating just to be given a small taste of what is experienced by inmates and of course the hard-working staff.”