HMP & YOI Polmont Longitudinal Inspection

Wednesday, 10 May 2017



The management and staff in Polmont faced considerable challenges in managing the transfer of over 100 women from HMP & YOI Cornton Vale to HMP & YOI Polmont and should be commended for the successful transfer and integration of the women into the new arrangements.  While there were inevitable teething problems with such a transfer, these were tackled quickly and appropriately according to a report published today by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, David Strang.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, David Strang, said:

“It is concerning to me that 34% of the young people supported by the Throughcare Support Officers upon liberation do not have an place to live on their day of liberation.  No young person should be liberated from custody without a pre-identified and suitable place to live on their day of liberation.”

“The management and staff in Polmont should be commended for the successful transfer and integration of the women, whilst at the same time maintaining delivery of a full regime for the young men they continued to hold.”

“It was encouraging to note that NHS Forth Valley had developed their provision and delivery within Polmont, in particular improved and extended arrangements were in place for assessing the mental health needs, of the increased and more complex population, with an associated improvement in access to the mental health nursing team and the psychiatrist support, for both the young men and the women.”

“As I have stated in previous reports, too many young men spent long periods of time locked in their cells. Additionally not all young men were able to participate in recreation each day with access to the open air particularly restricted at the weekend, especially for those held on remand.”

“Finally the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service should be congratulated the work they are engaged in within Polmont, as part of their youth engagement programme. Their  commitment to engaging proactively with the young men in this way is commendable and with the support of the Polmont management and staff produce such positive results.”

The main findings of David Strang’s report are:

  • Relationships between staff and the women and young men and the staff, at Polmont were good.
  • It was noticeable that relationships played a key role in developing the ethos at Polmont.The inspection team found that there was a greater level of engagement by the staff into the direction and plans set out in the vision for Polmont.
  • There was also an improved level of engagement by the young men in the impressive range of activities on offer, however they remain at a relatively low level.
  • The arrangements for healthcare had improved, with a number of positive developments being introduced following the arrival of the women from Cornton Vale.
  • A recurring theme during the last inspection that prevailed during this one was in relation to enemy management.Whilst it is essential individuals are kept safe, enemy management did appear to have a disproportionate impact on the regime and the individuals themselves.
  • Overall, we assessed that the arrival of the women at Polmont had not had a detrimental impact on the regime and opportunities for the young men.Similarly, the women were able to benefit from accommodation which was more modern than at Cornton Vale and which had in-cell sanitation facilities.