The current COVID-19 pandemic emergency situation has resulted in the suspension of all prison, court custody unit, and prisoner transport inspections, along with all services carried out by Independent Prison Monitor (IPM) volunteers. However, HMIPS’ statutory obligations continue and we are committed, where possible, to undertake a visit to any prison or CCU establishment where we believe the urgency to visit outweighs any risks that our visit might pose and we will of course follow all recognised protocols in relation to COVID-19.
HMIPS have been working on the development of a remote monitoring framework to enable us to continue to provide some assurance to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and to the UK National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) about the conditions and treatment of prisoners in these exceptional circumstances. To that end, the HMIPS team have been working collaboratively with the Scottish Prison Service and we are pleased to share with you a copy of our remote monitoring framework document. The framework will go live on Monday, 27 April 2020, and is for use temporarily until normal business can resume. We will revise the framework if necessary as we gain experience implementing it.