A Dundee family fear they could be left hundreds of pounds out of pocket after a prisoner was relocated from Perth to Alloa.
Murray Mitchell was sentenced to seven months behind bars last month, after driving a car while banned and without insurance in December 2019.
The 52-year-old – who had 30 previous road traffic convictions – was sent to HMP Perth.
But he was later told he would be moving to HMP Glenochil in Alloa, 52 miles from Dundee.
Relatives and friends tried to contest the move – saying it would cost them more to visit Mr Mitchell on a regular basis.
Dad Les Jack, from Douglas, claims his son has not caused any problems since arriving at Perth.
He said: “It’s like the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing when it comes to the Scottish Prison Service.
“Why would you punish a ‘model prisoner’ by making it harder for his family to see him?
“We realise he has to serve his time but the added costs of having to make the further commute has made this challenging for us.
‘We can’t afford it’
“There was a letter sent to the governor at HMP Perth before him moving by his friend Elaina Clark asking for him to remain at Perth.
“We could be facing considerable costs now, which would go into the hundreds depending on the number of visits, but we can’t afford it.”
Elaina, who has also been lobbying prison chiefs, says they are trying to get the dad-of-nine returned to Perth.
The 31-year-old said: “A man deemed a ‘model prisoner’ has been punished by being moved further away.
“We can only visit him twice a month whereas when he was in Perth it was once a week.
“We’ve been looking at the commute costs and it is proving a lot more costly. It was simply a train from Dundee to Perth previously.
“I was of the opinion that the prison service were trying to work with families during this process but we’ve heard nothing back in connection with the letter.
“We all realise Murray needs to serve his time but all that’s happened here is that his loved ones have also been punished with this decision.”
Family contact ‘helps reduce reoffending’
A spokesperson for Families Outside, Scotland’s only national charity that works solely for families affected by imprisonment, said: “In principle a person should be placed in a prison close to their home to make family visits as easy and as smooth as possible.
“This is embedded in the Scottish prison rules.
“Supporting positive family contact reduces the likelihood of reoffending after release and supports the rights of children to maintain a relationship with their parents when that’s in their best interests.
“If circumstances mean that it’s not possible then the prison must take into account any impact their decision might have on a family, particularly on children, and communicate clearly with the family throughout, including reasons for their decision.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “Individuals in custody may be transferred for a number of operational reasons, a risk assessment is carried out prior to any transfer taking place.”