The Scottish Prison Service is ordering hundreds of flat-screen televisions for inmates to meet energy-efficiency targets.
The service wants 1,600 of the 19in sets for use across its estate of prisons.
Labour said the move will “shock” the public, but the SPS insisted the TVs do not cost the taxpayer any money.
Richard Baker, Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, said: “Many of my constituents can’t afford new televisions, and particularly not swanky 19in flat-screen affairs. What sort of message does this send?”
The SPS said TVs have been “a feature” of prisons since 1999, when Labour began eight years in administration at the Scottish Parliament.
A spokesman for the service said: “SPS are seeking a future supply of in-cell televisions which are energy efficient to meet SPS green targets. It will require that the supplier holds stock that prisons will draw down as required.”
The spokesman added: “Prisoners are charged £1 per week for televisions and we have around 7,800 prisoners at the moment. There is, therefore, no cost to the taxpayer.
“Televisions are not a right but a privilege, and prisoners have them at the discretion of the governor.”