The purpose of HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland is to inspect the conditions and treatment of prisoners in prisons, court custody units and under escort, and to report publicly on our findings. The Public Services Reform (Inspection and Monitoring of Prisons) (Scotland) Order 2015 came into force on 31 August 2015 and from that date HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland assumed overall responsibility for the monitoring of prisons, which is be carried out on a day to day basis by independent prison monitors.
The UK is a signatory to the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). HMIPS is one of 21 bodies that comprise the UKs’ NPM, which has a duty to regularly monitor the treatment of detainees and the conditions in which they are held. The NPM was set up to ensure regular visits to places of detention in order to prevent torture and other ill-treatment. OPCAT recognises that people in detention are particularly vulnerable and requires States to set up a national level body that can support efforts to prevent their ill treatment. HMIPS fulfil this function through our regular inspection of prisons and court custody units, and our IPM monitoring framework. Our Chief Inspector sits on the UK NPM Steering group.