My Third Annual Report is a reflection of inspecting year 2011–12. It focuses on the main issues I have seen whilst formally inspecting Barlinnie, Kilmarnock, Dumfries, Glenochil1 and Cornton Vale and also informally visiting all of Scotland’s prisons and speaking to prisoners, staff, prisoner families as well as those Third Sector organisations which bring so much to helping prisoners. The Inspectorate also
looked at every Legalised Police Cell (LPC) in Scotland and reported in December 2011 that five out of nine could be considered for closure. During the reporting period we have also inspected all cells in Sheriff Courts and prisoner escort arrangements. This Annual Report will look at a number of issues,most notably female offenders and Cornton Vale. In last year’s Annual Report I commented on ‘The Context of Young Offending in Scotland’ and, this year, I am able to report on some follow-up visits I have made to look at this issue.
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HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland Brigadier Hugh Monro CBE
My third Annual Report is a reflection of inspecting year 2011–12. It focuses on the main issues I have seen whilst formally inspecting Barlinnie, Kilmarnock, Dumfries, Glenochil and Cornton Vale and also informally visiting all of Scotland’s prisons and speaking to prisoners, staff, prisoner families as well as those Third Sector organisations which bring so much to helping prisoners. The Inspectorate also looked at every Legalised Police Cell (LPC) in Scotland and reported in December 2011 that five out of nine could be considered for closure. During the reporting period we have also inspected all cells in Sheriff Courts and prisoner escort arrangements.
Gardens, HMP Dumfries
This Annual Report will look at a number of issues, most notably female offenders and Cornton Vale. In last year’s Annual Report I commented on ‘The Context of Young Offending in Scotland’ and, this year, I am able to report on some follow-up visits I have made to look at this issue.
There are a number of common themes that I pick up when speaking to young offenders in prison. The vast majority realise they have made a poor choice at a critical time in their lives and this has often led to a prison sentence. Based on my focus groups at Polmont, almost all of them have been excluded from school and this has caused, among other issues, a very poor start in life. Last year I reported: “It is these young people I eventually get to talk to in Polmont or Cornton Vale. It is not only a tragedy that they have taken this route (because the majority will inevitably re-offend) but also that the talents they have been given have not been developed and nurtured at an early age, so that they can, like their peers, be a positive asset.”
I am privileged to be invited to see a number of groups who address areas of youth risk. I want to deal briefly with two examples I have seen during this year, where the growing up process can be improved and the risks of offending reduced.
Firstly, and as a direct result of my call in last year’s Annual Report for more inclusion at schools, I visited the Inclusion Unit at Dunfermline High School. Here the determination is that disruptive and challenging children are not excluded but included and spend time within the Inclusion Unit. I was impressed by the youngsters whose lives are being turned around by the Unit, which is staffed, not by teachers but employees of Apex Scotland. As a result, school exclusions are down by 75% and there is real hope amongst the youngsters I see that they will get to college and go on to get a job. I am even more optimistic now that Includem, a Third Sector organisation that works with challenging young people, have joined the Dunfermline High School scheme in order to work with the youngsters outside of school hours. The scheme is being expanded to two other schools in Fife and I strongly support the efforts to make this concept of inclusion more widespread across Scotland.The value for money is very attractive: Dunfermline High School Inclusion Unit costs about £28,000 per year; compare this with the cost of a single prison place at around £32,000. I hope this shows that efforts to reduce exclusion from school and to include challenging children should be supported. There is good work currently going on across Scottish Government, and within the Justice and Learning Directorate, to produce more positive outcomes in this area in the future, and I support these initiatives.
Opportunities to participate in sport at HMYOI Polmont
My second example is a recent visit I made to the Spartans Community Football Academy in North Edinburgh, which opened in December 2008. This is a true community youth club, using football as the primary vehicle to attract in youngsters and to encourage them to participate and to socialise. The club’s vision is to provide the community of North Edinburgh with a community-inspired, developed and managed facility, to help develop people of all ages in sporting, social and life skills. They achieve this through the process of the youngsters agreeing to rules and boundaries, by using football coaches as life coaches and also as mentors and by helping the local primary schools to carry out their PE requirements. The difference the youth policy is making across the community is remarkable. This is a community youth club but it is making a difference in an extraordinary way. They told me they visited community clubs in Sweden, Denmark and Germany where facilities similar to the Academy are part of the local communities. Lessons learned from these visits have been adopted by Spartans. It was clear to me that Spartans is a project that is welcoming in young people from areas of risk and is proving to be very successful and it may provide a good model for Scotland. I have met young people from the Club whose lives of offending behaviour have been turned around and who are now in either full or part-time employment.
Both these projects, like so many in Scotland, need financial support from charitable trusts. I would like to pay tribute to The Robertson Trust, in particular, who help finance both projects and I also compliment charitable trusts in general for the good they do by funding Third Sector organisations to deliver a range of projects that I see inside and outside prison.
Young Offenders – Young Offenders in HMP and YOI Cornton Vale
In the past in Scotland it may be that we have failed to grasp the opportunities provided by a strong sports ethos, although there are considerable efforts being made to improve this. The advantages in the context of offending are not just about social inclusion, role models and understanding boundaries; there is also the connection with improved health, based on well-taught and regular physical education. For example, Sir Harry Burns, the Chief Medical Officer, is keen to encourage the assets-based approach to people’s health which focuses on behaviours and influences and also the social factors which impact on peoples’ health and wellbeing, especially in their early lives. I support the efforts being made to enthuse our children about sport as well as the ‘Active Schools’ programme which aims to get school children more active more often, using activities such as dance and the martial arts. I have visited sportscotland; the national agency for developing sport in Scotland dedicated to helping increase participation and improve performance in sport. There is no doubt that there is considerable work going on, alongside sports clubs, to provide new opportunities for children and young people to play sport, although much of the emphasis is taking place outside of the education system.
And it’s not just sport. The effect of the Big Noise Orchestra in the Raploch Estate in Stirling, where primary school children learn to play and co-operate with each other in the orchestra is very positive indeed. This is having a remarkable affect on the children as they grow up, as well as on parental attitudes. Youth movements such as the Scouts, Guides, Boys Brigade and the Cadet Forces provide the interest, activities, role models, values and standards that are often not as well resourced in those areas with high levels of offending. I have seen Operation Youth Advantage+, an organisation which supports vulnerable youth: those on the cusp of crime, the disadvantaged and the disengaged, working alongside community police and school authorities, co-ordinating opportunities for young people to take part in exciting outdoor activities using appropriately trained military instructors. All these youth activities and organisations help young people to grow up in a more structured and focused way and I hope these types of opportunities can be expanded.
The year has been marked by overcrowding in prisons, an unwelcome issue which has returned. Prison numbers reached a record 8,461 in March 2012, up by 469 on the previous March. The numbers of prisoners on remand showed an increase and this gives cause for concern. In 1997, prisoners on remand were 15% of the total prison population. In 2011/12 the female remand population was 23% of the average daily prison population and the figure for male prisoners was 19%. Why is this a cause for concern? Firstly, because a significant percentage of untried prisoners are subsequently not given a custodial sentence. Yet those people could serve, on average, one month in prison, which perhaps could lead them to losing their home and/or their job. The risks of offending on release can consequently be higher because housing and employment are the positive factors most likely to reduce the risks of offending. Is it possible that the use of remand is increasing re-offending rates rather than reducing them?
Reception area – facilities for receiving prisoners at HMP Barlinnie
Secondly, I have a concern that prisoners on remand have the poorest access to purposeful activity. In many prisons the main activities available to prisoners on remand are limited to family visits and exercise, including PE; remand prisoners are likely to have a lower priority for access to education, vocational training and work.
A previous Inspectorate report, “Punishment First, Verdict Later”, published in December 1999 stated that: “given the presumption of innocence or their legal status as un-sentenced prisoners, we recommend that the conditions in which remand prisoners are held should be the best available in the relevant establishment.” Conditions have, of course, improved for all prisoners since 1999, particularly in those new or development prisons, however, the provision of activities for prisoners on remand still remains, in my view, poor. Indeed the plight of remand prisoners was commented on by Andrew McLellan, my predecessor as Chief Inspector, in his Annual Report of 2007-08: “Remand prisoners regularly live in the worst conditions and have the worst regime in any prison: ‘Innocent until proved guilty’, they are at the bottom of the heap – every convicted prisoner, however poor his or her conditions, however empty and frustrating his or her day, will be better off. No doubt this is another consequence of overcrowding, for there was a time, not so long ago, when the SPS sought to provide the best living conditions for remand prisoners.”
Residential Hall – where accommodation is provided at HMP Barlinnie
This situation has not changed and I would like to see the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) give more attention to the way prisoners on remand are treated. Why is the priority of prisoners on remand in prison so low? In general, it is important to ask, why are the numbers so high? What is the effect of increasing the use of remand on re-offending rates? To what extent is pre-trial remand in custody used when the punishment does not necessarily warrant a custodial sentence?
Shotts prison is close to completion. It will be interesting to see how this new prison embraces new technology and new practices. Low Moss prison opened on 12 March 2012. The inspectorate visited Low Moss prior to the prison opening and we were impressed by the commitment that the Governor is giving to improving the quality of family access as well as access to activities.
The way in – the modern entranceway to HMP Low Moss
During another busy year I have carried out full inspections of Dumfries, Barlinnie and Kilmarnock, an unannounced follow-up inspection of Glenochil and a 2nd follow-up inspection of Cornton Vale. The Inspectorate has reported on all Legalised Police Cells. All of these are discussed in general below and in more detail in Chapter 2. During the reporting period we have also inspected all cells in Sheriff Courts and prisoner escort arrangements; this report has been published in the reporting year 2012/13. All our reports are available on our website at
Holding cell – one of the cells used at Glasgow Sheriff Court
In this section in last year’s report I made three comments that require to be commented on in this year’s annual report:
- I posed the question as to how the Inspectorate would inspect the new NHS-run healthcare system in prisons. I can report that I use a professional healthcare inspector from Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and have done so since the NHS assumed responsibility for the provision of healthcare in November 2011. This new inspection system works well and I am grateful to HIS for the provision of such an able inspector.
- I made specific comment about the welcome new builds at Shotts and Low Moss. I, and members of the Inspectorate have visited both prisons. I will be inspecting Shotts in March 2013. I will continue to visit Low Moss now that it is fully operational. The increased capacity that Low Moss provides has resulted in significant reductions in overcrowding, thus allowing for the sensible redeployment of prisoners. In general this has meant improved regimes at Barlinnie and Aberdeen prisons, meaning better access to purposeful activities and easier access for family visits. The Inspectorate will continue to monitor progress.
- I also made specific comment about Prisoner Visitor Centres in this section and I provide more detail later.
Health centre – the newly renovated healthcare facilities at HMP Dumfries
There has been a national focus on Women Offenders in Scotland throughout 2011-12. In 2009 I first inspected Cornton Vale and reported on the poor state of the prison. In 2010 I carried out my first follow-up inspection in order to gauge progress and reported on the prison, again, with a number of recommendations for improvement. At this point the Cabinet Secretary for Justice announced that a Commission on Women Offenders, led by Dame Elish Angiolini would look at the whole issue of female offending in Scotland. Dame Elish duly reported in April 2012. Because so little progress had been made by 2010, I re-inspected the prison in January 2012.
Bike repairs – one of the practical skills taught in workshops held at HMP and YOI Cornton Vale
In Cornton Vale I had previously reported that access to purposeful activity was very poor, with only 35% of prisoners being out of their cells at any one time. I had also been critical of disgracefully poor access to toilet facilities in Bruce and Younger Houses. In last year’s Annual Report I said of Cornton Vale: “Consequently the dignity, safety, infection control, mental health and general health issues are even more stark than in 2009.” Overcrowding was one of the principle factors in this situation. There was a population of around 400 and a ‘design capacity’, set by the SPS of 375, yet I considered that the population needed to be no more than 300. Another major factor was that Cornton Vale was failing to attract sufficient investment priority, hence why I also reported that: “I felt that there had been insufficient strategic direction from SPS HQ and there remains a need for improved and strong national and local leadership to deal with the shocking and challenging issues in the prison.”
Crucially, as a result of my 2010 Report on the follow-up inspection, the SPS transferred 114 prisoners from Cornton Vale to Ratho Hall in Edinburgh. This was a sensible move in order to reduce the overcrowding at the prison. So, when I inspected Cornton Vale for the 3rd time in January 2012, I expected to see extensive progress. In the report of that third inspection, I praised the considerable planning and logistical effort to move the 114 female prisoners to Edinburgh which also required a considerable movement of male prisoners to other prisons.
The essentials – a wide range of toiletries are available to buy in the shop at HMP and YOI Cornton Vale
The Third Report on Cornton Vale is a much more positive report. At last I have seen progress in terms of access to activities with 68% of women attending work, education or being engaged in programmes. Issues such as access to toilet facilities have largely been resolved. I have also seen work commence on a new ‘Separation and Re-integration Unit’, something I have been calling for since 2009. This unit should not only ensure that difficult prisoners can be treated better in greatly improved conditions, but also produce a more stable regime across the prison, thus providing a positive impact on other prisoners.
Cornton Vale – Dumyat – Newly opened Separation and Reintegration Unit, HMP and YOI Cornton Vale
Nevertheless, progress has been slow and this highlights for me the poor strategic leadership and direction shown by the SPS Board in giving sufficient focus, priority and support to the prison. After the 2009 Inspection, I had recommended that:
“Female prisoners should have a focus at SPS Board level, with a view to setting the agenda for the future and ensuring such an agenda is implemented quickly and with purpose.”
I was gratified to read that the Commission on Women Offenders came to the same conclusion that I had and made precisely the same recommendation. I very much hope that we can now see real strategic and local leadership given to Cornton Vale in particular, and to the imprisonment of female offenders in general. Such leadership and priority will be required during the next few years as new facilities are built and Cornton Vale closes. During this period standards at the prison must certainly not regress and must continue to improve. The conditions at Cornton Vale were a cause for shame; never again must such a situation exist.
My view is that ‘purposeful activity’ is any activity which, during the working day, encourages the process of improvement. This includes work, vocational training, education and programmes to address offending behaviour (such as addictions), access to PE and visits. If prisoners are not engaged in such activity, they are most likely locked in their cells and this I deem not to be purposeful activity.
Vocational training at HMP Dumfries – in a British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICS) training workshop
My opinion is that access to activities is a vital part of the rehabilitation process. If prisoners, including those untried or un-sentenced prisoners on remand, are not participating in purposeful activities during the day, there is much less likelihood of them being prepared for release back in to the community. If Scotland is to reduce re-offending, then prisoners need as much access to purposeful activities as possible.
Last year I reported that the activity situation in Scotland’s prisons is not as good as it should be. On average, in SPS-run prisons, less than 50% of prisoners were out at purposeful activity, with the figure for Cornton Vale being only 35%. I particularly commented that: “it is usually those on remand or serving short-term sentences who lose out.” I also made specific reference to Glenochil where the arrival of sex offenders from Peterhead had complicated the regime, further reducing access to purposeful activities.
Textiles – A textile workshop in HMP Kilmarnock
This year I have re-inspected both prisons. Due to the sensible reduction in the population at Cornton Vale, there has been a good improvement in the access-to-purposeful-activities figure. When I re-inspected Cornton Vale in 2012, some 68% of prisoners had access to purposeful activities, which is significant progress, although I was unhappy with the poor access to education for prisoners on remand. The situation has still not improved in Glenochil, although the greater capacity provided by the new Low Moss prison, may assist the Governor and I will re-visit the prison to report on this before 2013/14.
I have also inspected Dumfries in this reporting year; I found a similarly poor picture with only 39% of prisoners having access to purposeful activity.
I inspected Kilmarnock in April 2011 and found
that “out-of-cell activities are limited and lack stimulation”. Only 40% of prisoners were out of the house blocks during the day.
Vocational training at HMP Barlinnie – where skills such as joinery can be learned
Barlinnie was coping with a very large population when we inspected it in May 2011. I reported that, although most of the work places are of high quality, too many prisoners are locked in cells instead of being engaged in purposeful activity. This situation should improve as a result of the opening of Low Moss and a reduction in the population at Barlinnie.
Overcrowding is a factor and it is certainly true that our prisons, as I discuss below, are coping with too many prisoners. I strongly endorse the work of the 2008 Prisons Commission which recommended a maximum prison population of 5,000. Currently Scotland’s prisons are coping with record numbers of prisoners and this is bound to affect the access to purposeful activity figures.
However, it is my view that the prison population figures have been consistently high now for some years and the SPS should be more able to cope with these numbers in a more satisfactory way. If a major part of imprisonment is the emphasis on rehabilitation then perhaps a much larger proportion of prisoners should have access to activities? Should short-term and remand prisoners not have greater access to activities in order to try to reduce re-offending? There is a view that prisoners not accessing purposeful activity are merely being ‘warehoused’ and one might conclude they are purely serving the ‘punishment’ aspect of their sentence. I continue to recommend that rehabilitation and improvement be given a higher priority.
Learning Centre – The Learning Centre at HMP Barlinnie
What is the way forward? In many respects it would be correct to state that the SPS have insufficient resources to cope with the number of prisoners and with the ever-increasing proportion of remand and short-term prisoners. If this is the case, I have not seen what the SPS consider to be an acceptable percentage of prisoners engaging in activities, nor have I seen what the costs would be to achieve that. I believe that the SPS Board should commission such work in order to set a strategy to increase access to activities. It is also possible that improved ‘timetabling’ could increase the proportion of prisoners provided with purposeful activities. In this regard I have taken notice of the computerised prisoner management system used by Addiewell. It may be that such systems can make a contribution to improving the percentage of prisoners engaged in purposeful activities.
Life Skills – Training in the kitchen is a useful and practical way to spend time at HMP and YOI Cornton Vale
I conclude this section by stating that the current poor access to purposeful activities is not acceptable and contributes to a negative picture when considering whether prison is working. Ways and means require to be found to improve access to work, vocational training and education.
Visitors Centre – The Croft Visitor Centre near HMP Barlinnie
I see family access as being very important in two vital areas. Firstly, to ensure the best possible rehabilitation of the prisoner back in to the community. Secondly, to ensure that families are supported and advised in the best possible way both in terms of their own situation and also with regard to the prisoner’s rehabilitation. If both of these areas are effective then the chances of success are enhanced. In terms of rehabilitation, I believe that family access to Integrated Case Management (ICM) case conferences is a positive step forward as it allows the family to better understand the prisoner’s situation and also their needs on their return to the community. I continue to support efforts to increase both the family attendance at such conferences and their quality.
The overall picture of family access is variable. In some ‘community facing’ prisons, family access can be excellent as journeys are shorter and therefore cheaper and easier. For those prisons which serve the whole of Scotland (Glenochil, Polmont, the Open Estate, Shotts National Induction Centre and Cornton Vale), access can be much more challenging. Many families have long distances to travel, often by public transport and this makes regular visits expensive and time consuming. Visits with children may often only be able to take place at weekends and this can also be stressful and challenging. Prisoner families are also serving the sentence.
For all of these reasons and many more, it has been my view for three years now that each prison should have a Prisoner Visitor Centre to provide support and advice for prisoner families both on arrival for a visit and also prior to the trip home. The Visitor Centres at Edinburgh, Kilmarnock and Perth prisons are very good examples of how prisoner families can be supported in the way that I envisage. These centres are run using Third Sector income, although the provision and maintenance of the building requires support from the prison. Unfortunately, SPS has not been proactive in terms of the provision of further Centres. In my opinion, the prisons that require a Visitor Centre the most are the national facilities at Cornton Vale, Glenochil, Shotts and Polmont.
The example of Cornton Vale shows the extent of the struggle to obtain a Visitor Centre there. Fife and Forth Valley Criminal Justice Authority and CrossReach, and other organisations have offered to open a Visitor Centre at the prison for some months, yet they have received little encouragement or help from the SPS, even though there is a suitable prison building almost ready for use. I am much more optimistic now that it has been agreed by the SPS that a Visitor Centre will be provided at Cornton Vale as a direct result of the recommendations from the Women’s Commission. This change in approach is greatly welcomed. A good news story is that a new Visitor Centre has opened at Barlinnie because the prison has been supportive of the community and Third Sector determination to open one. This shows that progress is possible and I hope that we will see further progress at other prisons.
Visitor Centre – The Opening of the Croft Visitor Centre near Barlinnie, which will provide services to the families of prisoners
However, if the prize is not only improved family access but, eventually, improved family involvement in ICM case conferences, then Visitor Centres need to become more joined-up ‘Help Centres’ ticking all the boxes for families: housing, travel to prison, advice on health and other issues such as children’s learning difficulties. Working with Link Centres and ICM co-ordinators inside prisons, these Centres could greatly advance the quality of family involvement. I think that such ‘Help Centres’ are the way ahead in Scotland, but there will need to be enthusiastic support from the SPS.
At the prisons I have inspected this year, a proper Visitor Centre would have greatly improved the quality of family access:
- Glenochil desperately needs such a facility due to the very poor transport links to the prison. As I have reported before, a building outside the prison entrance had been available but was demolished during the rebuild of the prison. I continue to question how such a decision was taken, to demolish a perfectly good and useable facility. Family involvement at ICM conferences at Glenochil is insufficiently good.
Visits – The Visit Room at HMP Glenochil
- Dumfries has limited space for a Centre, but, given its mixture of population and standing as a national facility for sex offenders it requires a small facility for visitors, many of whom may have travelled some distance.
Visit Room – The Visit Room at HMP Dumfries
High quality visiting facilities are important to ensure links are kept between prisoners and their families. These are good practice examples from three of Scotland’s prisons.
- Kilmarnock has a small Centre. It is a useful place for visitors to book in and does good work but would benefit from further development. Family involvement at Kilmarnock in ICM conferences is low at only 13%; this could be improved if Family Contact Officers (FCOs) and ICM co-ordinators worked together to persuade both families and prisoners of the merits of such involvement.
Visitors Centre – The Visitor Centre at HMP Kilmarnock
- I have often commented about the poor facilities for visits at Cornton Vale, but commended FCOs. It continues to be my view that Cornton Vale, above all other prisons requires a Visitor Centre.
In summary, whilst there are areas of good practice in terms of family access, I believe there is much to be done to transform the way families are welcomed to prisons and included in prisoners’ progression and development. As I have already commented, I have noticed a ‘wind of change’ blowing at SPS Headquarters. I hope that this situation will now rapidly improve.
Preparation for release should, in my view, be at the very centre of prison activity; it is a main reason why the State sends offenders to prison so that on release they can take their place in society with the very best chances of success.
Liberation is often not well done. Too often prisoners are still liberated directly from the prison gate with all the consequences that follow. This particularly affects short-term prisoners, the very prisoners who have not received the best preparation for reintegration back in to the community. I have seen excellent examples of good practice whereby prisoners are mentored prior to and after release, ensuring that they meet their initial appointments in the community and settle in to the rhythm of life with support.
The Links Centre – providing facilities at HMP Addiewell to prepare prisoners for release
Routes Out Of Prison (ROOP) and Circle are good examples of organisations ensuring that individuals have the connections and the confidence to cope with a vastly different situation. In 2011/12, 14,387 prisoners were liberated from prison, with the majority of these serving shorter sentences. The significant volume of liberations means that the SPS and local authorities cannot possibly ensure that every liberated prisoner is treated and mentored in such a way. Nevertheless, I suggest that the ‘throughcare’ of prisoners released back in to communities needs to improve and I hope that work is done to develop current liberation and throughcare practices.
Access to purposeful activity is also an essential part of the preparation process, as how else are offenders able to pick up the tools to ensure they can cope with the daily necessities of life such as housing and employment?
The Links Centre resource is an example of good practice within the SPS, for it is there and in the majority of prisons that such realities can be accessed. In these centres there are normally excellent links with local authorities and job centres.
In terms of preparing prisoners for release, one of the most valuable assets within the SPS are Residential Officers. It is essential, in my view, that these officers are properly trained as Personal Officers so that they can mentor prisoners to engage in preparation for release, including the ICM and prison progression processes. Although some prisons use the Personal Officer scheme well, I feel that there has been little progress on this resource and I have regularly commented on how poorly the Scheme works. Given the cost of Residential Officers, this unfortunate situation represents poor value for money in my opinion. As I write this, there is still no job description or training for such officers. The Personal Officer Scheme, if well designed and implemented, could make a significant difference to how prisoners are mentored and prepared for reintegration. I recommend that the SPS Board urgently reviews the scheme and takes action to improve it.
Recreation – D Hall, HMP Barlinnie
In this report I have addressed those issues at the top of the Inspectorate’s priority list:
Firstly, to seek to improve the treatment and conditions for female offenders. Improvement is slow, but the reduction in the number of prisoners in Cornton Vale and the creation of a proper Separation and Re-integration Unit there is beginning to change the situation at the prison. Equally, I am optimistic that acceptance of the recommendations of the Commission on Women Offenders will bring about a strategic change in the way female offenders are managed in Scotland.
Secondly, to facilitate the introduction of Prisoner Visitor Centres. Again progress is slow, but I am encouraged by the new Visitor Centre at Barlinnie and by the promise of another at Addiewell. I hope that this will encourage other prisons and communities to set up new Visitor Centres. I am greatly encouraged by the change of approach by SPS Headquarters with regards to Visitor Centres.
Thirdly, to seek improved prisoner access to purposeful activity. Here, I am less optimistic as the figures are bleak. But, as I have tried to demonstrate, improvements can be made through better management and by more effective and rigorous ‘timetabling’.
Fourthly, to better prepare prisoners for release. There is still much to be done here, particularly in coordinating action for individual prisoners using Personal Officers.
During this year I inspected Dumfries Prison which has a significant population of long-term sex offenders. Because many of these prisoners deny their offending behaviour, they are unable to engage in the sex offender programmes available elsewhere. I quote from the Dumfries inspection report: “this policy puts the prisoners at Dumfries in a penal ‘cul de sac’ because there is little hope of progression. The risks of this policy are high because when such offenders are eventually released they are unlikely to have received the offence focused interventions; nor will they have been tested in less secure conditions prior to release.”
Last year I encouraged the SPS to improve the way it passes on ‘Good Practice’. This could be widened to become a ‘Lessons Learned’ process that encompasses not just good practice but areas where improvements could be made as well.
The Links Centre – providing facilities at HMP Low Moss to
prepare prisoners for release.
Ever since my first inspection of Cornton Vale in 2009, I have been calling for greater use of TV link technology for pre-trial hearings. Progress is ongoing and I hope that a trial project can be run in the Highlands in order to reduce the sometimes wasteful and lengthy journeys prisoners are forced to undertake. The use of technology of this type should be encouraged and SPS should look at ways to expand it to include the facilitation of visits between prisoners and their legal agents and, where visits in person are difficult due to distance or illness, with their families and friends.
The Inspectorate has taken on a number of challenges and I can report that considerable improvements have been made. The arrival of a new Chief Executive of the SPS in May 2012 heralds a new approach in the leadership and management of the Service and I am optimistic that real transformational change can now take place.
HUGH MONRO CBE HM
Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland
15 August 2012
2. SUMMARY OF INSPECTIONS UNDERTAKEN
Full inspection 4-12 April 2011
The prison is clean although the cells are showing distinct signs of wear and tear. The dormitories are too small for the number of prisoners living in them.
The prison does a good job in keeping different categories of prisoners separate. Admission procedures in Reception are inadequate. The Suicide Risk Management arrangements are very good and the Listeners Scheme is working well. The management of risk is handled extremely effectively.
Relationships between prisoners and staff are good but inspectors were concerned that some staff regularly use nicknames which could be interpreted as being derogatory. There is no job specific training for staff working with non- compliant sex offenders.
The visits room is bright, spacious and welcoming, and an excellent range of information is available to visitors in this area. Visitors say that they are treated with respect by staff.
Most prisoners know what they are entitled to. The disciplinary procedures are operating to a good standard and there is little use of Rule 94 to segregate prisoners. Complaint processes are operating fairly and in a transparent fashion.
Prisoners have good access to learning, skills and employability opportunities and report positively on their experiences within LSE. However, there is a limited range of vocational and educational qualifications available and links between and amongst employability, vocational and educational activities are not sufficiently strong and effective.
At the time of the inspection healthcare services were operating under the difficult conditions of providing all clinical services from one single room due to an upgrading and refurbishment of the Health Centre. This, along with staff shortages has restricted the delivery of healthcare services. Prisoners did not have access to a mental health nurse. Waiting times for dental treatment far exceed those in the community. Despite this, the remaining healthcare provision is comparable with that in the community and is responsive to prisoners’ needs.
The Integrated Case Management processes work very well. A number of prisoners have been assessed as requiring intensive programmes to address serious offending behaviour, but the prison does not run these programmes and there are difficulties in accessing them in other prisons. Progression for the majority of long-term sex offenders is difficult. The prison has developed an impressive range of contacts with community agencies.
For SPS Headquarters
The SPS should develop a national sex offender strategy.
Ways should be found to progress prisoners who have been assessed as requiring the Violence Prevention Programme and the Good Lives Programme so that they can receive them.
For the Establishment
The security fence around the sports pitch should be improved to allow prisoners to use this pitch and allow more prisoners to access the garden.
The reception area should be re-designed to facilitate a proper reception process.
The role of the Family Contact Officer should be given a higher priority.
Ways should be found to support officers who have to deal with complaints and requests under Freedom of Information legislation from Dumfries prisoners.
The processes for the Risk Management Group and Multi Disciplinary Progression Management Group meeting should be reviewed and brought up to the required standards.
Given the complexity and level of potential risk presented by the long-term sex offender population, the parole and prisoner case management functions should be properly resourced.
A good succession planning process ensures that new Listeners are trained in good time to fill anticipated vacancies.
A high proportion of staff on night duty are trained in first aid.
Information to support transitional and post training of officers is available through the SharePoint site.
The arrangements for dealing with unmarked privileged correspondence.
The inclusion of both short-term and remand prisoners in educational activities.
The BICS programme.
The use of video conferencing for Integrated Case Management Case Conferences.
The Citizens Advice Bureau and housing authorities liaise to ensure that tenancies are often held open in the early stages of Home Detention Curfew assessment.
Preparation for release from prisoners on Home Detention Curfew.
A group of residential officers are trained in risk and assessment and can complete SA07 risk assessment for sex offenders as part of the parole process.
The long-term prisoner pre-release programme.
This was a full, announced inspection looking at all aspects of the prison. The focus was on the conditions in which prisoners live and on the way prisoners are treated.
The accommodation is clean, and the basic necessities are met. The food at the points of serving is not as good as at the point of cooking. Some of the clothing issued to prisoners, particularly denim trousers, needs to be improved.
The prison is safe in terms of levels of violence and appropriate steps are taken to protect prisoners from harming themselves. The First Night in Custody Centre is an excellent initiative and arrangements for induction are very good. However, the ‘safer cells’ are not up to standard and the prison needs a new Reception facility.
Relationships between staff and prisoners are good.
The quality of visits is good and the visits room is an excellent facility. However, visitors sometimes have to wait too long between booking in for a visit and the visit starting. Great care is taken to bring families into the prison for specially designed events and good links with community-based organisations help facilitate this.
Most prisoners know what they are entitled to. The disciplinary procedures are operating to a good standard and there is limited use of Rule 94 to segregate prisoners. The complaints process is accessible, fair and transparent.
A good range of educational and vocational activity is available and the quality of provision is very good. However, there is very little available for long-term prisoners. The Learning Centre and the gym are not fit for purpose, and the Activity Centre is unattractive.
A Primary Healthcare Service is being delivered which is equivalent to that in the community. An excellent Day Care Centre has been created for prisoners with high dependency needs. A comprehensive addictions service is being delivered. The Health Centre itself is not fit for purpose.
The Integrated Case Management processes and Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements work very well. The prison is actively involved with community based organisations with a focus on engaging prisoners, developing skills and addressing needs and issues. The Links Centre works very well, and arrangements for preparing prisoners for release are very good.
For SPS Headquarters
In the light of Low Moss opening in 2012, SPS should review the long-term future of Barlinnie and then plan and implement the re-development of the prison as soon as possible.
Given the poor physical conditions and the large number of prisoner movements, a new Reception facility should be created as a matter of priority.
Child protection training for SPS staff should be provided.
For the Establishment
The ‘safer cells’ in ‘C’ Hall should be upgraded to full ‘anti-ligature cells’.
The time between visitors booking in for a visit and the visit starting should be reduced.
Management should consider alternative methods for a greater number of prisoners to access purposeful activity.
The processes for Risk Management Team meetings should be improved.
Arrangements should be put in place to transfer long-term prisoners to a long-term establishment as soon as possible, so that they can access purposeful activities more readily. Suitable arrangements for the provision of work and interventions for this group should be made for as long as they are held in Barlinnie.
A booklet has been produced showing pictures of canteen items, with the goods being described in 10 different languages.
There are several information DVDs in different languages along with a TV and DVD player for prisoners to use in their cells in the First Night in Custody Centre.
The operation of the First Night in Custody Centre.
The PowerPoint presentation used during induction.
The induction documents with Frequently Asked Questions and common phrases translated into nine different languages.
The weekly audits of the ACT process, paperwork, assessments, quality of information recorded and care planning.
The arrangements for development training for staff.
The Positive Parenting Programme.
The Chaplaincy run project ‘Faith in Throughcare’ which helps former prisoners with the transition from custody to community. The Chaplains hold family services twice a year in the prison.
Complaints from prisoners are audited by the Deputy Governor and results are fed back through Unit Managers and First Line Managers.
The opportunities for prisoners on the National Progression Award in Construction to develop vocational skills and gain self confidence.
The Day Care Unit.
The ‘Well Person Clinic’.
The high levels of information sharing between the prison and the Strathclyde Police Force Offender Management Unit and a work experience exchange scheme between the two.
The identification of a training need to address poor report writing skills and the provision of training through bespoke interventions from Strathclyde Caledonian University to address the lack of a Personal Officer Scheme.
The ‘Partnership Meetings’ between community- based organisations and the prison.
The arrangements for preparing prisoners for release.
The prison is safe in terms of levels of violence and the suicide risk-management processes work well. The allocation of prisoner security levels is fair and transparent.
Prisoners are treated with respect for their dignity at all times.
The living accommodation is clean and the fabric and fittings are in a good condition. Prisoners, except prisoners on protection, have access to one hour of exercise in the fresh air. The catering arrangements and the arrangements for issuing clothing and bedding are also good.
Relationships between staff and prisoners are, in general, good. Staff usually address prisoners by their first name. Mutual respect was observed during reception, searches, escorting and visits, and in the Links Centre, Multi-Faith Centre and Learning Centre.
The prison puts a lot of effort into providing good- quality visits and a number of initiatives for families and prisoners are in place and are given a high priority. The visitors check-in centre and the visits room provide a welcoming environment. Prisoners often get more than their visits entitlement. Visitors are well treated by staff.
The complaints system and disciplinary procedures are working effectively and prisoners have access to a range of legal texts, Human Rights texts and Prison Rules. There was no evidence of racial or disability discrimination by staff towards prisoners.
Out-of-cell activities are limited and lack stimulation. Although there is an entrepreneurial approach in workshop production areas, too few prisoners attend these workshops and there are too few vocational training programmes. Too few prisoners attend education and the educational facility is under-utilised. The standard of pastoral care is excellent.
A Doctor’s clinic takes place six days a week, although appointments are often cancelled at short notice with no reason given.
The prison has developed an excellent range of links with community-based organisations to help prisoners reintegrate back into the community. The arrangements for managing risk in relation to reintegration are also very good.
For the Establishment
HRAT should be reviewed and the sharing of best practice should be further developed to ensure that prisoners transferring from public to private prisons, or vice versa, experience no difference in terms of standards of care or treatment.
The number of prisoners attending production workshops and vocational training programmes should be increased.
The number of prisoners attending education should be increased.
A review of accommodation and associated facilities for programme delivery should be undertaken.
Management should consider the introduction of a multi-disciplinary system for the management of prisoners deemed to be at risk of self-harm.
Clinical treatment should stop immediately in the medical room in house Block 1.
A system should be introduced immediately to ensure all prisoners on Methadone are tested regularly.
A community-based provider should confirm that a prisoner is on Methadone before it is commenced in the prison, and a support package should be in place before commencing a prisoner on Methadone.
The SPS video and information package aimed at prisoners progressing to the Open estate should be made available to Kilmarnock.
Additional training in report writing should be considered for Personal Officers, and thereafter a quality assurance system put in place to ensure improved standards are maintained.
All night staff are first-aid trained.
The Prisoner Supervision System Boards.
The ongoing programme of cleaning and maintenance.
The training kitchen.
Remand prisoners can order their meal the day before.
Catering staff visit the halls when meals are being served and record the temperature of the food at time of eating.
Staff development training.
The visits experience.
The approach adopted by PE staff.
The standard of pastoral care, the facilities in which prisoners can worship and the level of purposeful activity within the Multi-Faith Centre.
The self-help and guided help workbooks for prisoners with low mood and depression, sleep problems and self-harm.
The alcohol awareness courses carried out by the Addictions Team.
The Smoking Cessation Services provided by NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
The Family Strategy includes actions required, target dates and progress against each key area.
The protocol for dealing with people who are on a Home Detention Curfew who just turn up at the gate to hand themselves in.
The standard of record keeping, accuracy and attention to detail in relation to the management of Integrated Case Management.
The action plans contained in the Family Strategy.
The inspection of Glenochil was carried out
18 months after the full inspection, which had taken place in April/May 2010. The purpose of the inspection was to follow up areas of concern and areas of good practice.
In general, there has been fair progress since the main inspection. Good practice has largely continued and been further developed in some instances. Many of the recommendations and action points originally made in the full inspection, have been taken forward.
Glenochil has improved the provision of library facilities. It has created a full-time Family Contact Officer post but still requires a Family Visitor Centre and to make more progress in providing support to families visiting Glenochil.
In October 2010, 150 sex offenders were transferred from HMP Peterhead to Glenochil. Inevitably, the requirement to separate these prisoners from other prisoners complicated the regime.
Overcrowding has become more acute since the original inspection and access to purposeful activity would benefit from being improved.
Glenochil continues to need to improve access to purposeful activity, including programmes to address offending behaviour.
The role of the Personal Officer should be clarified and appropriate training and support provided.
The follow-up inspection of HMP and YOI Cornton Vale was carried out two-and-a half years after a full inspection and one year after a follow-up inspection.
The purpose of the inspection was to follow up on areas of concern as well as good practice. It focussed on progress made in relation to those Recommendations and Action points where no satisfactory progress had been made at the time of the first follow-up inspection carried out in February 2011.
Unsatisfactory progress has been made in taking forward around one-third of the Recommendations and Action points outlined in the previous follow-up inspection report.
Following the publication of the February 2011 follow-up inspection, SPS transferred 114 female prisoners from Cornton Vale to Ratho Hall in HMP Edinburgh. As a result of this, at the time of the follow-up inspection, the total population at Cornton Vale stood at 280, which is in accordance with a previous inspection recommendation that the population be reduced to below 300. The SPS Board, and staff at Cornton Vale, HMP Edinburgh and other prisons, such as Addiewell, have worked hard to achieve this positive change.
Staff morale seemed much improved.
How prisoners are treated has improved through a reduction in numbers of women held at Cornton Vale and by an increase in resources. An example is much improved access to toilet facilities during periods of lock up.
Cornton Vale has introduced a ‘First Night Custody Unit’. This has contributed to a reduced need to move prisoners around the prison. The atmosphere is therefore calmer and more stable.
Access to purposeful activity has improved, rising from 35% of prisoners being out of their cell during the day, at the time of previous inspections, to 68%. The sense of boredom has greatly been reduced.
Provision for prisoners with mental health problems has improved through better, more personalised, Care Plans, the availability of more psychology and other interventions. Improvements have been made in Healthcare more generally. However, for some women with complex mental health needs, being located at more appropriate facilities is preferable.
The fabric of the prison needs to be improved, e.g. Bruce and Pebbles House, the Health Centre, the visits area and the outdoor exercise area.
Cornton Vale does not have a Prisoner Visitor Centre and current facilities for family visits are very poor.
Prisoners requiring to be separated from the main prison population are held on a temporary basis in ‘silent cells’ in Younger House. The conditions are disgracefully poor and their use is inappropriate. On moral and health grounds these cells are unacceptable. Cornton Vale are building a new modular, Separation and Reintegration Unit, which should now be completed.
Arrangements for women travelling to distant courts continue to be unsatisfactory. Court video links are not available. Opportunities to house prisoners who are in transit overnight in HMP Aberdeen or HMP Inverness are not considered on a case-by-case basis. Consequently, women are required to take long and uncomfortable journeys in order to attend court, often, for very short hearings. This continues to be a weakness.
While some progress has been made, much more requires to be done to bring Cornton Vale up to an acceptable standard. HMIP will continue to regularly inspect, monitor, and report on the establishment.
There are currently nine police stations in Scotland where police cells have been legalised. This means that prisoners – as opposed to those taken into police custody – can be detained in them for up to 30 days. These cells are in police stations which are not near to prisons, where prisoners would otherwise be held. Currently there are legalised Police cells in Hawick, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Lochmaddy, Stornoway, Thurso, Campbeltown, Dunoon and Oban.
The legalised police cells in Lochmaddy, Thurso, Campbeltown, Dunoon and Oban be discontinued.
Prisoners are assessed for vulnerability on reception.
There are good relationships between court, police and escort staff.
Across the legalised police cells in Scotland a number of common issues have been identified.
Prisoners are not always provided with an opportunity to exercise in the fresh air.
Information on how to access the relevant Visiting Committee and how to make a complaint is not always available.
Basic information notices are not always available.
Toilets in cells are not screened.
This was an inspection of Scotland’s 58 Sheriff and JP courts, together with the treatment of prisoners under escort between court and prison.
This was not an inspection of the escort contractors (Reliance or G4S), nor of the Scottish Prison Service or the Scottish Courts Service. It examined the collection of prisoners, and their delivery to, and reception into, court custody; the condition of cells and associated facilities; the general management of prisoners while in court custody; safety, administration, catering and medical provision and the onward transfer of prisoners after court hearings.
Despite a number of logistical challenges including the large number of people attending court in the central belt and the need to travel to distant courts in the north and south west of Scotland, the escort service functions well.
Relationships between escort staff and prisoners are generally good. Prisoners are well treated by staff.
The cleanest custody cells are those where arrangements are in place for the police to charge those who damage cells. A number of custody suites do not have such a procedure in place.
Where public scrutiny of prisoners occurs in certain locations, this is managed well by escort staff.
Reception, infrastructure, facilities and processes vary between courts. Some require to be improved.
Limited use is made of video technology for court appearances. Prisoners often need to be transported in uncomfortable vehicles large distances to attend remote courts for what are often very brief hearings. This is a weakness and a waste of both resources and time and does nothing to enhance justice. Prisoners who undertake such journeys are often not in a fit state to properly participate in the court proceedings that they are attending. This is especially the case for women prisoners being transported across Scotland from Cornton Vale. Women are often faced with being transported to and from distant courts in one day.
Further detailed information on individual courts is available in the full report, which is available from the HMIP website.
The Scottish Prison Service and Scottish Courts Service should work together to introduce video conferencing links to courts, and particularly distant courts, as soon as possible. Cornton Vale should be a priority in this area.
Escort staff in all locations should be provided with the standardised induction.
Police and custody contractors should work together to establish a protocol to charge those who damage cells, across the Scottish Courts Service estate.
The Scottish Prison Service should ensure that all prisoners are given the opportunity to shower before travelling to court.
Remote courts in the Highlands and Islands face significant logistical difficulties. However, working arrangements between the various agencies (police, court and escort) in Lerwick, Kirkwall and Fort William, are examples of Good Practice.
All escort staff are ‘first aid at work’ trained. This is above the minimum standard required.
There is a standardised induction process for new escort staff. While this is positive not all areas provide this.
Court-based escort managers strive to build very good working relationships between police, lawyers and court staff.
3. REVIEW OF THE PRISON INSPECTORATE’S YEAR 2011-2012
Inspections for the year were completed as follows.
|4-12 April 2011
|23-31 May 2011
|26 Sept-3 Oct 2011
|22-24 November 2011
|HMP & YOI Cornton Vale
|30 Jan-2 Feb 2012
| Inspection of the conditions in which prisoners are transported
and held in Sheriff and JP courts while under escort,
|October 2010-March 2012
|Legalised police cells,
The 2010-11 Annual Report was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 23 September 2011.
Brigadier Hugh Monro, HM Chief Inspector
Margaret Brown, Deputy Chief Inspector
Dr David McAllister, Assistant Chief Inspector
Mick Armstrong, Inspector
Dorothy Halliday, Personal Secretary
Specialist and Associate Inspectors
Dawn Ashworth, Associate Inspector
Carol Stewart, Associate Healthcare Inspector
Dr John Bowditch, Education Adviser, Education Scotland
Peter McNaughton, Education Adviser, Education Scotland
Juliet Fraser, Education Adviser (observer), Education Scotland
John Carroll, Associate Inspector
Adrian Clark, Associate Inspector
Sandra Hands, Associate Healthcare Inspector
Peter Connelly, Education Adviser, Education Scotland
Donald Macleod, Education Adviser, Education Scotland
John Carroll, Associate Inspector
Adam Quin, Associate Inspector
Lesley McDowall, Associate Healthcare Inspector
Stewart Maxwell, Education Adviser, Education Scotland
Andrew Brawley, Education Adviser, Education Scotland
Adrian Clark, Associate Inspector
Lesley MacDowell, Associate Healthcare Inspector
David Thomson, Healthcare Inspector, Health Improvement Scotland
Peter Connelly, Education Adviser, Education Scotland
HMP & YOI Cornton Vale
Juliet McAlpine, Education Adviser, Education Scotland
David Thomson, Healthcare Inspector, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Tony Martin, Inspector
The Inspectorate’s costs for the year were as follows:
|Subsistence and motor mileage
|Printing and Binding
|Travel and Accommodation
|Other running costs
*No employees earned in excess of £150,000.
Photographs courtesy of
Dougie Barnett Photography.
1 Unannounced follow-up inspection.
2 2nd unannounced follow-up inspection.
3 Report recommends that only Hawick, Kirkwall, Lerwick and Stornoway should remain as LPCs, the remainder should close.
4 The average cost per prisoner place in 2011/12 was £32,371. SPS Annual Report and Accounts
5 Scottish Government analysis of SPS prison numbers.
6 According to Scottish Government data linkage research and analysis of prisons data, about half of remand cases resulted in a custodial sentence. This figure is an estimate since remand prisoners may be released on bail at several points in the judicial process.
7 HMIP report dated 14 April 2011
8 HMIP Report dated April 2012
9 HMIP Report dated December 2011
10 The Personal Officer Scheme
11 According to the SPS Job Description for a Residential Officer dated 1 September 2011, one of the Major Tasks of Residential Officers is to undertake the duties of Personal Officer, “ensuring positive engagement with allocated prisoners and accurate maintenance of records”. These duties include prisoner liaison, supporting prisoners at ICM case conferences and liaising with the prisoner prior to release.