More than a dozen prisoners at a north-east jail have been released early in an effort to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
A total of 13 prisoners have been freed from HMP Grampian under the initiative.
The releases follow new legislation introducing powers for the early release of a specific class of inmates in Scottish prisons.
This includes short-term prisoners nearing the end of their time in custody.
The scheme is limited to those sentenced to 18 months or less and who on had 90 days or less left to serve as of April 30.
Release of prisoners under the regulations is subject to exclusions to ensure public protection, such as those who are imprisoned for life or with convictions for sexual offences, domestic abuse or terrorism offences.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary and north-east MSP Liam Kerr said: “While it’s important the risk of Covid-19 is minimised in prisons, victims of crime across the north-east will be concerned at the prospect of 13 inmates being released early from HMP Grampian.
“In order for victims to rebuild their lives, they should feel the justice system has recognised the consequences of what has happened and releasing prisoners early lets victims down.
“The SNP Government must ensure local authorities in the north-east have the resources they need to monitor these criminals to ensure the public are kept safe which is of paramount importance.
“It’s vital criminals are not able to take advantage of their early release which is why they should be tagged to ensure safety is maintained throughout our communities.”
A spokesperson for Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Our priority remains the safety of the public, of those working in prisons and those in custody and we are extremely grateful to the prison officers, NHS staff and others undertaking essential work in Scotland’s prisons during these unprecedented times.
“This emergency legislation, supported by Liam Kerr and the Conservatives and with similar measures in place in England and Wales, means we have a wide range of options to limit the spread of the virus and ensure the continuing safe operation of Scotland’s prisons.
“There are clear limitations on which short-term prisoners may be considered for this release scheme and detailed lists of all those eligible, including those subject to the governor’s veto, have been shared with local authorities for planning purposes.”