Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland is required to inspect the 15 prisons across Scotland in order to establish the treatment of, and the conditions for prisoners and to report publicly on the findings. The Public Services Reform (Inspection and Monitoring of Prisons) (Scotland) Order 2015 came into force on 31 August 2015 and from this date HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland assumed overall responsibility for the monitoring of prisons, which is carried out on a day to day basis by independent prison monitors.
The United Kingdom is a signatory of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatement or Punishment (OPCAT). HMIPS is one of 21 bodies that comprise the UKs National Preventative Mechanism (NPM), which has a duty to regularly monitor the treatment of detainees and the conditions in which they are held.
The Chief Inspector also has responsibility for the inspection of the treatment of and conditions for prisoners under escort.
The Chief Inspector produces and publishes an Annual Report which is presented to the Scottish Ministers and laid before Parliament.