Report on HMP Greenock 19 February - 2 March 2018

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Report on HMP Greenock 19 February - 2 March 2018

News Release

HMP Greenock is a local community facing prison. It holds remand and short-term convicted male and female prisoners, and provides a national facility for selected long-term and life sentenced prisoners. The prison opened in 1910.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland Mr Strang said:

“Staff, prisoners and those visiting the establishment told inspectors they felt safe. This sense of safety was acknowledged by all parties as being, in a large part, derived from the strong and positive relationships that existed within HMP Greenock. 

The main residential areas were built at the start of the 20th Century and do not meet modern standards nor were they comparable with the conditions found in the majority of prisons in Scotland. Ailsa Hall and to a lesser extent Darroch Hall, were suffering from water ingress resulting in unacceptable dampness within a number of cells. It was pleasing to note that the Governor had recently put 17 cells out of use as a result of this, but concerning that this was necessary. It is difficult to see how this issue can be addressed without significant investment, and should the status quo remain it will almost certainly result in more cells being put out of use over time. HMP Greenock requires significant upgrading or replacement within a short period.

The recent establishment of a clothing bank within the prison is an excellent initiative and one that should be rolled‑out throughout the SPS. 

The food provided in HMP Greenock was amongst the best seen during inspections.  The quality was greatly enhanced by it being made in close proximity to where it is served, and not being transported on heated trolleys

The Healthcare Team at HMP Greenock was a well-motivated and caring workforce.  Inspectors saw many examples of innovative practice and prisoners spoken to were positive about the healthcare they received. There was a strong emphasis on making sure that prisoners were involved in and kept informed of their care. 

The prison had established good links with healthcare providers in the community.  Inspectors saw the innovative use of tele-health care, were prisoners admitted late on a Friday evening were assessed by a doctor using this facility, thus allowing faster access to assessments by a GP. Prisoners who were due to be released from prison were well supported by the Healthcare Team. 

Unlike other establishments HMP Greenock do not have a full- time Family Contact Officer (FCO), and attempts to gain funding for this have failed.  This is a concern as FCOs are an important bridge between prisoners and their families.  The atmosphere within the visit room was positive and engaging where staff, visitors and prisoners interacted positively.

There was no offending behaviour programmes being delivered, which could cause issues for female prisoners who wished to progress and would therefore need to move to another establishment. 

It was of particular note that there was an impressive range of work placements available and good support for those who were on them. 

The quality of learning and teaching was good and most prisoners accessing the Learning Centre spoke highly of their learning experiences and positive relationships with education staff. The full implications of the change in education provider were not yet apparent, but had initially had an adverse impact on the opportunities available for prisoners to engage in educational activities. HMIPS will continue to monitor the provision of educational opportunities in HMP Greenock.

Prisoners benefitted from a well‑equipped and accessible gymnasium which was popular and well‑used.  However, only a minority of female prisoners attended the gym. 

HMP Greenock was active in supporting a large number of prisoners in returning successfully to their community at the conclusion of their sentence. A range of agencies worked well and in partnership to ensure prisoners’ needs and risks were addressed prior to returning to the community. Through-care Support Officers provided a valuable and effective service which was making a significant contribution to the successful resettlement of prisoners on release. 

Finally and of particular note was the creative service level agreements developed with a number of housing partners to support better housing options being available for prisoners on release. This sort of community engagement should be the norm across all of Scotland’s prisons, local authorities and housing providers”

David Strang HMCIPS