HM Chief Inspector’s Annual Report 2016-17
ISBN 978 1 78851 374 6 (web only publication)
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HM Chief Inspector
At the end of March 2017, there were just under 7500 people detained in Scotland’s prisons. This represents a small reduction in the overall number of people in prison in Scotland over the last year. It is important, however, to note that there continues to be a growing number of older prisoners, those serving longer sentences and those convicted of sexual offences. These factors are likely to continue to place pressure on the size of the prison population for some time to come. The number of prisoners on remand awaiting trial has grown to 1046.
As Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS), I am responsible for the inspection and monitoring of the conditions in prison and the treatment of prisoners. The general conditions in prisons have improved in recent years, as old prisons have been replaced or refurbished and new prisons have been built. The majority of prisons have modern facilities and residential accommodation of a suitable standard.
Across the 15 prisons in Scotland, prisoners have generally told me that they feel safe. It is a fundamental requirement of a well-run prison that people who live and work there should feel confident in its stability and order. We should never take for granted the good order that is maintained in Scotland’s prisons and that they are in general stable and secure environments.
One of the key factors affecting the atmosphere in a prison is the quality of relationships between prisoners and those who work in prison. I continue to be impressed with the commitment of staff and their ability to care for and protect prisoners, a substantial proportion of whom are vulnerable. We know, too, that some may pose a serious danger to themselves or others. Throughout the year, I have seen many examples when staff have engaged constructively with prisoners, in order to support them through their sentence and in preparation for their return to the community.
"I have seen many examples when staff have engaged constructively with prisoners."
During this year, we saw the start of the implementation of the Scottish Government’s refreshed strategy for women in prison. Following Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) report of the inspection of HMP & YOI Cornton Vale in 2016, approximately 100 women transferred from Cornton Vale to HMP & YOI Polmont. This allowed them a welcome improvement in the conditions in which they were held, including better access to in-cell sanitation.
The strategy includes plans to build a smaller national prison for those with more complex needs, and a number of Community Custody Units where women will be able to serve their sentence closer to their home and family.
The number of women held in custody in recent months has increased from a low of 316 in January 2017 to almost 380 during the first week of April 2017. Given that the new configuration of the female custodial estate will provide only 230 places, much work is still required to reduce the numbers in custody, ahead of the new prison opening in 2020.
"I have been encouraged to see improvements being implemented as staff respond positively to the findings of the IPMs."
Independent Prison Monitoring
2016-17 was the first full year of the operation of Independent Prison Monitoring, a new responsibility of HMIPS since August 2015. Over 130 volunteer Independent Prison Monitors (IPMs) ensured that every prison was visited every week to monitor the conditions and treatment in prison. They monitored the standards in prison through the use of observed practice, and responded to prisoners’ requests for assistance. IPMs conducted over 900 prison visits and responded to over 1,400 prisoners’ requests. The findings from IPMs’ visits are communicated regularly to prison Governors and Directors throughout the year. Quarterly one-page summaries of their findings are now published on the HMIPS website https://www.prisonsinspectoratescotland.gov.uk/publications. Monitoring reports relating to each prison are contained in the online version of this Annual Report.
I have been encouraged to see improvements being implemented as staff respond positively to the findings of the IPMs. Some of these changes have related to the circumstances of individual prisoners, while others have led to improvements in processes affecting the wider population in the prison.
There are real benefits from having both inspecting and monitoring under the remit of HMCIPS. This allows information sharing, joint working and a coordinated approach, without in any way compromising the independence of the Monitors. I am grateful too, to the Independent Prison Monitoring Advisory Group for their support in reviewing the operation of independent monitoring; a separate report from the Advisory Group is in the online version of the Annual Report.
HMIPS conducted full inspections at three large prisons: HMPs Barlinnie, Kilmarnock and Edinburgh. Each inspection was carried out by a multi-disciplinary team from a wide variety of inspection and scrutiny bodies: HMIPS, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Education Scotland, the Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Human Rights Commission. I am grateful to each of them for their support throughout the year.
In addition to the full inspections, three shorter inspections were conducted as a result of the decision to transfer the women from HMP & YOI Cornton Vale to HMP & YOI Polmont. HMP & YOI Polmont was inspected twice, once before and once after the women had been transferred. This was to assess the impact on the young men of the arrival of the women. We found that the transfer had been managed well and that the arrival of the women had not resulted in a detriment to the opportunities available for the young men. HMP & YOI Cornton Vale was also inspected after the transfer had taken place. I am grateful to Professor Lesley McAra from the University of Edinburgh for her contribution to the inspections at HMP & YOI Polmont, informed by her longitudinal study of youth transitions and crime.
During the year we also conducted a thematic study of the experience of older prisoners in Scotland’s prisons. The report, entitled “Who Cares?” was published in July 2017 – www.prisonsinspectoratescotland.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publication_files/SCT03172875161.pdf. Professor Richard Sparks of the University of Edinburgh provided expert advice to support the study.
"An ageing prison population brings with it greater challenges."
Court Cells Inspection
Following our report of the conditions of the cells at Glasgow Sheriff Court, we were encouraged by the positive response from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS). The custody suite, where detainees had been held in unsatisfactory conditions, had been transformed by the removal of graffiti, increased lighting, improved decoration and better operational processes. We were pleased to see the sustained improvement to the conditions in the cells and the treatment of people detained in the custody suite. HMIPS subsequently developed and published a set of Standards for Inspecting Court Custody Provision, following consultation with both the SCTS, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and the external contractor G4S. The Standards can be found on our website – https://www.prisonsinspectoratescotland.gov.uk/publications/standards-inspecting-court-custody-provision-scotland
National Preventive Mechanism (NPM)
The United Kingdom 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 which comprise the UK’s NPM, which has a duty regularly to monitor the treatment of detainees and the conditions in which they are held. In May 2016 the NPM appointed its first independent chair, John Wadham QC.
There have been a significant number of aspects of prisons in Scotland which have provided grounds for encouragement.
Positive relationships are key to the successful running of a prison. It has been encouraging to see good relationships between staff and prisoners in most prisons across Scotland. There have been good examples of staff encouraging the maintenance of positive relationships with family members, particularly with the children of people in prison. Family Contact Officers have played a key role in supporting these relationships.
Where Personal Officers engage positively with prisoners to encourage their participation in purposeful activity, real benefits are evident. Likewise the work of Throughcare Support Officers has enabled a significant number of people leaving prison at the end of their sentence to be supported in the important areas of housing, welfare benefits and healthcare.
The Integrated Case Management process is designed to support a prisoner through their sentence. On the occasions when individual prisoners and their family members are encouraged to attend and contribute to case conferences, there are more positive outcomes and engagement.
There were many good examples of the provision of healthcare services in prisons in Scotland. These included clinics in relation to blood borne viruses, and the provision of training for the use of Naloxone and its supply to people leaving prison, to be used in response to a suspected drugs overdose. The recent introduction of trained Advanced Nurse Practitioners was having a positive benefit in the provision of healthcare by appropriate staff. This also enabled GPs to target their time more appropriately. We saw a number of health promotion clinics in operation and other initiatives to encourage healthy choices about lifestyle, diet and exercise. These were often jointly run by NHS staff and other staff from education, catering and the gymnasium.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was instrumental in delivering an impressive fire skills training programme to the young men in Polmont.
A number of citizenship awards and tenancy training workshops equipped prisoners to understand what was required of them when they were responsible for their own flat. These were popular and useful qualifications which made it more likely that they would be able to obtain and maintain their tenancy.
"We saw a number of health promotion clinics in operation and other initiatives to encourage healthy choices about lifestyle, diet and exercise."
Despite the introduction of the role of Personal Officers and the availability of suitable training for them, it was disappointing to find that in many prisons the full roll-out of Personal Officers had not yet been achieved. The potential benefit of engaging constructively through these processes is substantial.
Time in cell
We were concerned to find that in many prisons, some prisoners were being confined to their cells for long periods of time each day. This was particularly true for prisoners who were held on restricted regimes, often for their own protection. We observed that prisoners on remand, too, are frequently held on restricted regimes. It is a legal requirement for all prisoners to be able to have at least one hour in the open air each day. They should not be restricted unnecessarily in their cells as a result of any form of informal isolation.
We regularly found that places on treatment programmes to address offending behaviour were limited. This meant that prisoners who had been identified as needing to complete a programme were unable to progress due to the lengthy waiting lists.
"Successful healthcare depends on a shared responsibility between the healthcare staff and the operational management and staff in a prison."
Healthcare concerns were raised consistently in both inspection reports and in the findings of IPMs. The inquiry into healthcare in prison conducted by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee was welcome. HMIPS provided both written and oral evidence to assist the Committee in its deliberations. I hope that the Committee’s report will lead to improvements in the provision of healthcare in prisons, as the SPS and Scottish Government respond to the Committee’s report.
It is apparent that barriers to good healthcare can come from a number of sources. Staffing levels in health centres are sometimes inadequate, compounded by high levels of staff turnover. The operational prison regime can make it difficult for prisoners to be brought for clinical appointments. The arrangements for the dispensing of medications can often have an adverse impact on the wider operation of the prison. Successful healthcare depends on a shared responsibility between the healthcare staff and the operational management and staff in a prison. Clear governance is required to ensure clarity of responsibilities. Similarly, there needs to be greater clarity about responsibility for delivering the growing need for social care in prisons.
Access to opiate replacement therapy can be inconsistent between prisons and often does not reflect the practice in the community. Variations in prescribing practices between different prisons and between the community and prison provide further causes of dissatisfaction and are unsatisfactory. There is a need for a national IT prescribing system.
There continues to be a rise in instances of the use of novel psychoactive substances, commonly known as legal highs. These substances are illegal in prison and often lead to unpredictable behaviour, linked to high levels of violence.
Strategic challenges for the criminal justice system
The criminal justice system in Scotland is facing a number of strategic issues which require a coordinated response.
Without a doubt there is a growing number of older prisoners in Scotland’s prisons. This trend is likely to continue, due to the increasing numbers of historic sexual offences being prosecuted in the courts, and the increasing lengths of prison sentences being issued by the courts. An ageing prison population brings with it greater challenges, particularly because of their more complex needs and restricted mobility. The need to provide social care to more prisoners will increase. In the main, prisons have been designed for younger prisoners; there is a need for appropriate facilities to be available for older prisoners. Clear decisions are also required about where older prisoners should be placed and about staff selection and training. Our report entitled “Who Cares?” can be found on our website – https://www.prisonsinspectoratescotland.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publication_files/SCT03172875161.pdf
Increasingly, we are finding that a significant number of prisoners are not able to progress through their sentence, by meeting critical dates, due to a lack of availability of or capacity within suitable treatment programmes. There are lengthy waiting lists for many key programmes, which means that a substantial number of prisoners are not able to demonstrate to the Parole Board that they have completed the programmes which were required for them to be considered for parole.
Of perhaps greater concern is that prisoners are at risk of being released into the community without having completed treatment programmes designed to reduce future reoffending.
"We will continue to monitor how well all prisoners are able to access purposeful activities and developmental opportunities."
The SPS has for some time been reviewing the management of its overall population, particularly older prisoners, those convicted of sexual offences and prisoners held on remand. At present there are too many people held in prisons where there are insufficient places for those categories of prisoners, resulting in restricted regimes or a lack of suitable programmes.
The provision of services to people leaving prison are critical to their successful reintegration to the community after the end of their sentence. In the main, these are the responsibility of service providers other than the SPS, such as housing, education, employment, healthcare (addictions, mental health and primary care services) and welfare benefits. We have regularly found that for many people leaving prison, one of the biggest difficulties is being able to access suitable accommodation. Some are able to find accommodation with family or friends, but others end up sleeping rough. We know that the outcomes are poorer for people who leave custody without arrangements in place for housing, healthcare and welfare benefits.
Priorities for 2017-18
HMIPS will continue to focus on these strategic issues and concerns during the year 2017-18. Both the inspection teams and the IPMs will report on the progress which has been made. The weekly reports from IPMs in every prison across Scotland enable us to develop a national picture. We are able to identify areas of good performance as well as where improvements are needed.
Healthcare will continue to be a priority area for HMIPS, as we seek to encourage consistency of service provision to all prisoners in Scotland.
We will also consider how consistently prisoners are able to progress through their sentence by accessing treatment programmes which meet their needs.
We will continue to monitor how well all prisoners are able to access purposeful activities and developmental opportunities. This is particularly relevant for prisoners who are more likely to be subject to a restricted regime in the prison due to their sentence classification or circumstances. We are particularly concerned about prisoners who may be confined to their cells for long periods of time each day, in what may amount to informal isolation. The recently published UK NPM guidance on the scrutiny and monitoring of people held in isolation will be used to inform the work of both IPMs and inspectors in the year ahead.
Finally, the provision of throughcare services to people before and immediately after their liberation from prison remains essential to the successful reintegration back into their communities. These are responsibilities which lie not just with the SPS, but with wider service providers such as education, housing, health, employment and welfare benefits. Fundamentally these are dependent not so much on the criminal justice system, but on wider social justice issues of poverty, inequality, exclusion and marginalisation.
Inspecting and Monitoring 2016-17
The purpose of HMIPS is to inspect and monitor the conditions in prisons and the treatment of prisoners, and to report and publicly our findings. The Public Services Reform (Inspection and Monitoring of Prisons) (Scotland) Order 2015 came into force on 31 August 2015, and from this date HMCIPS assumed overall responsibility for the monitoring of prisons, which is carried out on a day to day basis by IPMs. The Inspectorate is independent of both the SPS and the Scottish Government. This allows us to report our findings with integrity and impartiality.
We inspect and monitor against a set of published standards launched in March 2015, which can be found at
www.prisonsinspectoratescotland.gov.uk. We also have Standards for Inspecting Court Custody Provision in Scotland launched in March 2017 which are also available on our website. https://www.prisonsinspectoratescotland.gov.uk/publications/standardsinspecting-court-custody-provision-scotland
The information that we gather allows us to obtain a full picture of the prison. This enables us to ensure that our assessments are fair, balanced and accurate.
Respect for human rights
The experience of those in prison lies at the heart of our inspection and monitoring process.
Our programme of regular inspections is informed by an assessment of risk and requirement. We will continue to follow-up on our inspections, with visits by inspectors and IPMs.
Independent Prison Monitors (IPMs) are volunteers from local communities who monitor treatment and conditions in Scotland’s prisons. Each prison is monitored at least once per week. IPMs make observations about treatment and conditions, and also look into issues prisoners raise. Any prisoner can ask to see an IPM by:
- Calling the IPM Freephone on 0800 056 7476. Calls are confidential and free.
- Submitting a paper request form via request boxes in prisons.
- Approaching IPMs while they are visiting prisons.
|Region and Prison||Average contracted places1||Population on 31 March 20172||IPM Visits||Prisoner Requests|
|North of Scotland|
|HMP & YOI Grampian||474||439||53||89|
|HMP Open Estate||285||180||55||35|
|East of Scotland|
|HMP & YOI Cornton Vale||111||86||60||60|
|HMP & YOI Polmont||607||514||60||24|
|South and West of Scotland|
|HMP Low Moss||784||742||64||135|
1 Data from SPS Population and Accommodation Report
2 Data from SPS Population and Accommodation Report
For the year 2016–17 inspections were completed as follows.
HMP & YOI Polmont 19-21 April 2016
HMP Barlinnie 16-27 May 2016
HMP & YOI Cornton Vale 11-13 October 2016
HMP Kilmarnock 7-18 November 2016
HMP & YOI Polmont 23-27 January 2017
HMP Edinburgh 6 -17 March 2017
Summary of Inspections Undertaken By Rating
Note: Polmont and Cornton Vale were undertaken as a result of the decision by the Minister to move women to Polmont, as such they were not subject to the full standards of inspection and monitoring.
The full report can be found on the HMIPS website
Independent Prison Monitoring In 2016-17
Following the launch of Independent Prison Monitoring on 31 August 2015, 2016-17 marked the first full year of operation for the new system. During this time, IPMs volunteered almost 5,000 hours of their time, monitoring Scotland’s prisons on 945 occasions and dealing with more than 1,400 requests from prisoners.
The following sections set out for each prison key IPM findings, positive changes observed and issues for ongoing monitoring. There are a number of consistent themes across Scotland arising from IPM teams’ findings:
- Relationships: On many occasions IPMs report observing positive staff-prisoner relationships, facilitated by professional and proactive staff. This is particularly notable in IPM findings about potentially challenging and sensitive aspects of life in prison, such as reception processes and Separation and Reintegration Units, where staff are often observed taking particular care to ensure prisoners’ needs are understood and met. Work underway across SPS to support and enhance this professionalism is welcomed.
- Healthcare: Healthcare is the most common issue raised with IPMs by prisoners, whose key concerns relate to medication and waiting times for appointments. When IPMs look into concerns raised by prisoners, often the conclusion is that the healthcare available is reasonable. However, communication about appointments and decision making is often an issue. Linked to this the lack of consistency in prescribing practice between the community and prisons and across health board areas can result in confusion and frustration for prisoners.
- Progression: Access to courses and programmes to support rehabilitation and sentence progression continues to be a common theme raised with IPMs. IPMs have found that places are limited, the nationally maintained waiting list is long, and prisoners’ understanding of and trust in the process for allocation is poor.
- Equity of regimes for different groups of prisoners: IPMs continue to note concerns about the different levels of access to and engagement in activities available in prisons for different groups of prisoners. In particular, women (where they make up a small proportion of the population), young people, those held under protection regimes and remand prisoners often do not have equity of access to purposeful activity, time out of cell and other interventions and services.
Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and Orderly Room Hearings: Both ICC hearings and Orderly Room hearings were found to be undertaken in a fair and consistent manner.
Healthcare: Health complaints (made by prisoners to IPMs) mostly centred around access to medication. IPMs found that the management of prisoners’ medication was carried out appropriately.
Purposeful Activity: Purposeful activity was observed to be well attended, however IPMs were informed that there was capacity for more prisoners to take part, particularly from the mainstream prisoner population. A small number of prisoners were observed in some workshops not appearing to be engaging in the activities available.
Reception: IPMs found that the prison’s reception area was clean, well-kept and efficiently run by helpful, friendly staff. IPMs noted that this was a positive environment for new arrivals to the prison.
Dignity and respect: Good professional working relationships between Personal Officers and prisoners were evident. Prison Officers were observed discussing matters with prisoners in a discreet way. One terminally ill prisoner praised the care he received from staff. However in some cases IPMs observed officers ‘shouting down the halls’ for prisoners by name and stating the nature of the appointment. IPMs felt this practice did not allow prisoners appropriate dignity and privacy.
Healthcare: The prison is planning to introduce ‘social prescribing’, which aims to reduce reliability on prescription medication in favour of other holistic methods of improving well-being.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Purposeful Activity: The prison had initially instigated an ‘engagement index’ project aimed at improving engagement in purposeful activity. IPMs were informed however that this work has been superseded by a national approach to tackling the issue across the prison estate. We will continue to seek progress on the roll-out and effectiveness of this project.
Dignity and Respect: We will continue to monitor interactions between prisoners and staff throughout the prison, with a focus on how officers ensure prisoners’ privacy and dignity.
HMP & YOI Grampian
Healthcare: NHS services were seen to be being delivered to an acceptable level, with staff appearing approachable and proactive with prisoners. However issues with staffing levels were noted.
Community Integration Unit (CIU): The Aberlour CIU appears to be an excellent facility. Prisoners are keen to be able to make use of it, but reported being unsure about how to progress to this. There was clear documentation explaining the application process, however this information could be more proactively promoted.
Progression: The process and rationale for prioritisation of places on programmes to address offending behaviour was poorly understood by long-term prisoners. While in discussion with the prison, IPMs felt that while the policy for allocation was being applied fairly, it should be more clearly explained to prisoners.
Access to programmes for women: Some women at HMP & YOI Grampian were required to be temporarily transferred to HMP & YOI Cornton Vale to access the Female Offending Behaviour programme as part of their rehabilitation. This often meant women were situated far from their families, affecting visits.
Laundry process: There were a number of reported instances of prisoners’ clothing going missing during the laundry process, and IPMs found that it often took some time for items to be located and returned.
Prisoner wages and personal cash: IPMs found that the rules around prisoner wages and prisoner personal cash (PPC) should be better explained to prisoners.
Access to programmes for women: The Female Offending Behaviour programme is now being provided at HMP & YOI Grampian, removing the need for women to be re-located to HMP & YOI Cornton Vale and ensuring women stay close to their families where possible.
Laundry process: Prison staff have worked with prisoners to improve the laundry process in order to address the issue of laundry going missing. Instances of missing laundry reported to IPMs has significantly reduced.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Healthcare: IPMs will continue to monitor the impact of NHS staffing shortages.
Communication: IPMs will promote the need for improved, proactive communication with prisoners, particularly around key issues such as access to the the CIU, prioritisation of places on programmes, and rules around the use of wages and personal cash.
Healthcare: Prisoners raised a number of complaints relating to the dispensing of medication. However IPMs spoke with NHS staff and were of the opinion that medication was dispensed fairly, and in line with local NHS policy. IPMs also learned that some prisoners leaving the prison early in the morning to go to court (specifically Wick and Elgin courts) were not able to receive prescribed medication as the healthcare service is not staffed at that time.
Visits: Prisoners were concerned about access to and use of the Visit Room by different categories of prisoner. IPMs have spoken with prisoners using the Visit Room, as well as speaking to staff about how it is operated, and are satisfied that it is being managed safely and fairly for different prisoner categories.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs have found that while opportunities for prisoners to engage in purposeful activity are evident, the range of such opportunities could be improved. Staff at the prison have explained that the size and age of the prison hinders this possibility.
Throughcare: IPMs have noted that there appeared to be insufficient training for prisoners on the subject of applying for and maintaining access to Universal Credit and other benefits, that may help them when returning to the community.
Visits: HMP Inverness is working in consultation with prisoners to explore options for reviewing visit availability, to consider different visit sessions for different prisoner groups.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Healthcare: IPMs have been told that the issue of medication for prisoners leaving the prison early to go to court is being addressed at a national level by NHS, SPS and G4S. Locally, staff in HMP Inverness are monitoring the situation and are keeping the IPMs updated, however progress appears to be slow.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs understand that the issue of a lack of purposeful activity opportunities will be addressed in the long-term via the design of the proposed new HMP Highland.
Throughcare: IPMs will continue to monitor whether prisoners receive adequate training and support in relation to applying for and maintaining access to Universal Credit and other benefits.
HMP Open Estate
Home Leave: The availability of temporary accommodation in some locations across Scotland was reduced (by the providers), meaning that home leave opportunities were shorter for some prisoners, potentially adversely affecting their eligibility for parole.
Population Size and Purposeful Activity: IPMs note that HMP Open Estate is operating below capacity. This raises concerns about best use of opportunities to support progression and transitions to the community, and it also has a number of implications for prison management, particularly in terms of the provision of purposeful activity. IPMs found that staff work hard to provide work opportunities for prisoners, and prisoners engage with such opportunities, both within the establishment and at externally provided work placements. However, small population size limits the provision of work parties that require a certain number of prisoners in order to function effectively.
Substance Misuse: IPMs noted evidence showing that a high proportion of returns to closed conditions related to substance misuse. This contributed to the low numbers of prisoners at HMP Open Estate.
Home Leave: Staff proactively engaged with local authorities and third sector accommodation providers to address the concerns around home leave in temporary accommodation. Availability has since increased and home leave opportunity has improved.
Substance Misuse: The establishment is looking at improving the admissions process to better support new admissions for a longer period of time. It is hoped that this will create more stability and reduce the number of prisoners returning to closed conditions. In support of this, a relapse prevention strategy is being developed by SPS and NHS staff, to support prisoners with substance misuse issues.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Substance Misuse: IPMs will continue to monitor the impact that substance misuse is having on the population, and the work underway to tackle the issue.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new admissions unit in increasing the numbers at HMP Open Estate, and whether this has a positive impact on the provision of work parties.
Purposeful Activity: Participation in a wide range of purposeful activity was evident, with high levels of attendance at workshops, education services, gym and so on. However, there appeared to be less opportunity for some prisoner groups (for example protection prisoners and untried prisoners).
Healthcare: IPMs found that healthcare provision was adequate. A number of positive initiatives aimed at supporting and improving prisoners’ mental health were noted. However, more could have been done to ensure prisoners better understood healthcare related decisions and were aware of appointments that had been made for them.
Personal safety: Some prisoners reported to IPMs that they were being bullied or pressured by other prisoners for their medication. SPS and NHS staff are working to identify how best to prevent this, and a number of options are being explored.
Family relationships: The prison has taken steps to maintain and improve the relationships between prisoners and family members, which can prove to be a strong support for prisoners transitioning back in to the community. One such initiative, in partnership with local authority education services, made it possible for school children to visit their parent at HMP Perth on a Friday afternoon to do homework and other learning together.
Purposeful Activity: The prison undertook a review of the various prison regimes, and changes aimed at improving opportunities (such as purposeful activity) for prisoners are now in operation.
Healthcare: NHS Tayside implemented some improvements to communication with prisoners. For example, all prisoners are now notified by letter of all medical appointments – usually receiving notification within two days of requesting an appointment.
Family relationships: The project for school children and their parents delivered in partnership with local authority education services was so popular that plans are in place to run it again.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Personal safety: IPMs will continue to monitor the issue of prisoners being bullied for their medication, and promote the need to improve the situation for those affected.
Requests to see IPMs: In Region 2 this year the highest number of requests to see an IPM have come from HMP Addiewell. There have been consistent themes identified by the requests.
Healthcare: A high proportion of requests to see an IPM have been about healthcare provision within the establishment. This most often related to prisoners telling IPMs that they could not access the medication they required. When IPMs looked into individual issues, it was concluded in the majority of cases that NHS services were delivered to an acceptable level. With regard to requests relating to medication, IPMs questioned whether communication and lack of understanding around how things worked in the establishment were part of the issue.
Food: Access to special diets, in particular Kosher food, was raised with IPMs regularly, with prisoners expressing dissatisfaction with the variety of menu options available for those on a Kosher diet.
Regime: IPMs have recorded that some prisoners are locked in their cells for long periods of time and as a result do not have access to a full daily regime. This applies particularly to protection prisoners who are held in mainstream halls due to no spaces being available on the protection wings.
Policy: In response to some issues raised by IPMs, HMP Addiewell have developed new guidelines for staff, for example a document that lays out what staff should do if it is deemed necessary to turn off water or electricity to cells in Selkirk.
Healthcare: The healthcare team responded positively to IPMs’ suggestion that some requests from prisoners arise from lack of understanding of how things work in HMP Addiewell. The healthcare team redesigned the information given to people on admission. It is too early to say if this has been a success but it is seen as a positive step.
Food: IPMs concluded that people who were receiving a Kosher diet were not being treated unfairly, but in order to ensure IPMs were up‑to‑date with developments in Equality and Diversity an IPM was invited to join the prison’s Equality and Diversity meeting in an observational role. This has been viewed as a constructive development.
Regime: HMP Addiewell has taken some steps to improve the regime for certain populations, including improving access to the gym facilities in residential areas. Further improvement needs to be made, however it is noted that this issue relates in part to wider challenges around populations across the estate and requires resolution at a national level.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Healthcare: IPMs will continue to monitor healthcare services and whether the revised information for prisoners has a positive impact.
Restricted Regimes: IPMs will look for further improvement in how prisoners held under restricted regimes are managed.
HMP & YOI Cornton Vale
Changes to population: The reduction in the population at HMP & YOI Cornton Vale has been a significant change to the establishment. IPMs concluded that the move was managed well by the prison with a lot of hard work being put in by staff to ensure women and their families understood the process.
Purposeful Activity: Initially IPMs were concerned that the reduction in numbers at HMP & YOI Cornton Vale might result in limited opportunity for women to engage in purposeful activity, or for a full regime to run properly. It is positive to be able to report that those concerns were not borne out.
Healthcare: Healthcare is a topic that has been raised regularly with IPMs by women in HMP & YOI Cornton Vale. The issues raised have related mainly to medication and access to services such as mental health provision. The conclusion of the IPM team would be that the healthcare provision meets the needs of the altered population. However the resolution of inconsistencies across Health Board areas with regard to matters such as prescribing would be beneficial
Personal Safety: IPMs have visited Dumyat, the Separation and Reintegration Unit, on a regular basis. The IPM team concluded that when a woman is held in Dumyat, staff work hard to try and ensure a move back to mainstream halls as soon as is possible.
First Night in Custody: Since the changes to the female population across the prison estate, the process has been for women that receive a period of custody to initially go to HMP & YOI Cornton Vale. The process is that women’s needs are assessed and established there prior to any transfer to a different establishment. An emerging theme is that this may not be working effectively as women are being transferred too quickly for a full assessment to be done.
Purposeful Activity: After changes to the population, IPMs found that there was a good range of opportunities for women in terms of purposeful activity, with more provision being delivered directly in Ross House as well as in the evenings. The regime also appears to be running smoothly.
Healthcare: Some of the women who are held in HMP & YOI Cornton Vale have complex mental health needs. In order to ensure sufficient support, there are six full-time mental health nurses, with one based in Ross House each weekday. Women can refer themselves or can be referred by other agencies/prison staff. While there is no formal counselling service available, mental health nurses can help with issues such as anxiety management. On balance, for the numbers of women in the establishment, this service does seem sufficient.
First Night in Custody: The process has been amended to ensure that women are now at HMP Cornton Vale for a minimum of 48 hours prior to transfer. IPMs feel that this is a positive development.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Healthcare and Purposeful Activity: These areas remain of interest to IPMs and the team will continue to monitor them on an ongoing basis.
First Night in Custody: IPMs will continue to monitor this area to form a view of the effectiveness of the revised process.
Mental Health: The complexity of some of the mental health issues experienced by women has led IPMs to question whether prison is the correct place for them to be. While it is acknowledged that HMP & YOI Cornton Vale cannot control who is sent there, IPMs will continue to look at this issue.
Healthcare: Prisoners have consistently raised issues with IPMs regarding healthcare, particularly in terms of medication and the timescales for accessing healthcare professionals. In the majority of cases it has been concluded that prisoners have been treated fairly.
Displaced Populations: IPMs acknowledge that because HMP Edinburgh accommodates six different prisoner populations, it is challenging to provide a full regime to all. However, pressure on space has resulted in some prisoners being housed in areas they should not be in. Subsequently IPMs have found that some people have not had access to the open air every day and spend long periods of time locked in their cells. IPMs recognise that work has been undertaken by the establishment to improve access to full regimes, and that the solution does not lie with HMP Edinburgh alone, but would like to see further improvement in this area.
Special Cell: This cell, in the Separation and Reintegration Unit, is used in exceptional circumstances. The walls are concrete, there is no window, no running water and no toilet. While IPMs note that the cell reaches the standard required by SPS and is used only rarely, it is a concern that the fabric of and conditions in the cell are so poor.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs conclude that there is good opportunity to engage in a variety of purposeful activity in HMP Edinburgh, however staff absence and the displaced population can sometimes make this challenging.
Displaced Populations: IPMs acknowledge that resolution of issues relating to this does not lie in the hands of HMP Edinburgh alone, and it is understood that SPS has recently completed work to review population management across all 15 prisons in Scotland.
Special Cell: HMP Edinburgh has raised IPMs’ concerns with the relevant parties within SPS at a national level. IPMs see this as positive and await any outcome.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Healthcare: IPMs will continue to monitor the quality and accessibility of healthcare.
Displaced Populations: IPMs are keen to learn more about national proposals regarding population management that may ease the pressure on the establishment and assist in ensuring full regimes are offered to all populations.
Special Cell: IPMs would like to see improvements in the fabric of the special cell and will continue to monitor its use.
HMP & YOI Polmont
Female Prisoners: A significant change at HMP & YOI Polmont this year was the arrival of women in the establishment. IPMs noted considerable good practice in the way this change was managed. Time and care was taken not only to ensure that the transfer of women from HMP & YOI Cornton Vale went smoothly, but also to ensure that neither population was disadvantaged by the move.
Purposeful Activity: This has been a consistent issue raised by IPMs throughout the year. While there are a wide variety of purposeful activity options available at HMP & YOI Polmont, IPMs regularly report that there are low numbers of prisoners engaged in purposeful activity.
Time Out of Cells: The IPM team has raised concerns with the establishment about the amount of time some prisoners are spending locked in their cells. In some instances prisoners report that they are locked up for up to 23 hours a day. In addition, concerns have been raised by the IPM team about prisoners not getting access to an hour a day in the open air.
Food: The quality and variety of the food in HMP & YOI Polmont has been closely monitored by IPMs this year. IPMs have seen evidence of dietary and nutritional support provided by the NHS to ensure that the diet offered to young people and women is nutritionally balanced. IPMs have also been impressed by the colour coding system that guided young people and women to healthier or diet options on the menu.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs have noted the amount of time and effort the establishment has put into improving the numbers engaged in purposeful activity. This has included work to try to better understand why people are not engaging and to find more effective approaches to engagement for different populations. IPMs have observed some increase in the uptake of purposeful activity hours, which is welcomed.
Female Prisoners: IPMs have found that since the arrival of women in HMP & YOI Polmont, work has been ongoing to provide support during the settling in period and to ensure that women have equality of opportunity with the young men. One area this has been evident is the continuous improvement in options for women to engage in purposeful activity such as the recent completion of a hairdressing salon for women.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Time Out of Cells: This is an area of concern for the IPM team. IPMs will continue to monitor the amount of time prisoners spend locked in their cells and how access to the open air is managed. IPMs are keen to see an improvement in this area.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs continue to keep this under review, mainly in terms of how many women and young people participate in different activities, and arrangements, in place for those who are not taking part.
Food: IPMs will continue to monitor the standard of the food provided.
Staffing: IPMs have observed and recorded the positive attitude of the majority of the staff team in HMP Shotts. IPMs have found them to be helpful, courteous and professional and noted on numerous occasions positive interactions between staff and prisoners.
Progression: This is the most consistent issue raised with the IPMs in HMP Shotts. The main topics have been access to the Self Change Programme and management of the progression process (for example whether prisoners’ critical dates are met).
Staff have been open with IPMs about how the progression process works and the pressures associated with accessing places via the national waiting lists. IPMs acknowledge the pressure on places at a national level but continue to have concerns about progression and access to the required programmes to support rehabilitation.
Purposeful Activity: Concerns have been raised with the IPM team about equality of access to enhanced work placements for prisoners held under protection arrangements. Some placements are available in HMP Shotts, but there appears to be insufficient numbers.
Healthcare: Prisoners have raised concerns about the standard of healthcare provision in HMP Shotts. One of the main areas of concern is the current system in place for people being certified as unfit for work.
Progression: HMP Shotts secured funding to provide additional places on the Self Change Programme, in effect doubling the amount of places available, however there is still pressure on places. The policy for prioritising allocation of spaces for the programme has been amended at a national level and prisoners can now be put forward on the basis of eligibility for progression. This should mean that prisoners will now not need to wait until the punishment part of their sentence has expired before being considered for the programme.
Healthcare: HMP Shotts have informed IPMs that there will be a multi-agency problem solving approach adopted to looking at the current system for certifying prisoners as unfit for work. As part of this data will be gathered and analysed to inform a multi-agency workshop focussed on addressing this issue.
Purposeful Activity: A small number of enhanced work placements have been made available to prisoners on protection, but IPMs would like to see this expanded further.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Progression: While this issue is particularly pertinent to prisoners at HMP Shotts, it is in effect a national issue. IPMs at the prison will continue to look for improvements at an establishment level and on a national basis. IPMs will also continue to monitor processes in place for managing progression in line with critical dates.
Healthcare: The proposed solution-focussed approach to the issue of fitness for work is deemed positive, and IPMs will monitor further progress on the matter. In addition IPMs have been invited to join the Operation Healthcare Meeting at HMP Shotts and we will continue to monitor healthcare provision.
Protection Regime: IPMs are aware of a report that was recently produced at HMP Shotts about how improvements might be made to the regime prisoners on protection and await the outcome of this work.
E Hall: Throughout the first half of the year a disproportionate number of prisoner requests arrived into the IPM system from E Hall, with no discernible theme or pattern. IPMs monitored conditions, treatment and relationships between staff and prisoners in the hall during this period and continued to report on the emerging issues.
Healthcare: Healthcare was the predominant concern for many prisoners who wished to speak to an IPM. Primarily these requests centred around clinical issues which are outwith the scope of monitoring activity, though healthcare staff have engaged with IPMs to resolve any problems as far as possible. It should be noted that the healthcare team have responded professionally and quickly to all requests which have been raised with them.
Progression: Progression remains a priority concern and IPMs regularly note issues relating to access to programmes, case management processes and critical dates. Where possible, prisoners would benefit from being included in the case management discussions and decision making processes.
Decency: IPMs have noted that all areas of the prison are clean, hygienic and well maintained. Food is reported to be of a good standard. The reception area, and in particular the holding cells, are cramped and inadequate due to the nature of the building.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs have found work parties to be well ordered and supervised with good allocation of tasks. IPMs have also noted good education provision with varying degrees of attendance dependent on classes and time of day. It has been noted that the uptake of education by mainstream prisoners in particular continues to be low.
Humane exercise of authority: Interactions between prisoners and staff appear courteous and respectful across the prison. IPMs note that despite the high numbers of prisoners and the busy regime, the prison appears to run effectively.
E Hall: Prison management took IPMs’ observations into consideration as part of a regime review in early 2017. One of the key changes made was to roll out the Personal Officer scheme in E Hall. Subsequently, the volume of requests from this hall decreased significantly with prisoners having their individual needs more carefully attended to in the day to day regime.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Progression: IPMs will continue to monitor the issue of progression, in terms of access to courses and programmes in line with critical dates.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs will continue to look at access to and uptake of education and purposeful activity for mainstream prisoners.
Staff–prisoner relationships: IPMs found there to be very good
staff–prisoner relationships at HMP Dumfries in all areas of the prison.
Purposeful Activity: It has been noted there are a good range of qualifications available for many of the work parties, especially in biohazards and health and safety in the laundry and industrial cleaning units.
Decency: The Visits Room and D Hall have been extensively refurbished this year and both have contributed to an improvement in the facilities within the prison. There was ongoing water ingress in the worksheds throughout the year which caused some regime issues for those engaged in joinery work.
Community Integration: IPMs have noted excellent efforts with community-facing events to ensure community reintegration and throughcare. IPMs have received positive feedback on throughcare processes and plans for liberation from prisoners. There are two Throughcare Support Officers to facilitate this process.
Programme Availability: IPMs have noted concerns from prisoners and staff about the availability of appropriate programmes to allow prisoners to progress through their sentence in line with their management plans.
Personal Cash: IPMs received requests from a substantial number of prisoners relating to how they can spend their personal cash allowance. Prisoners queried the procurement process used by the prison, and perceived they were financially disadvantaged compared to prisoners in other establishments when buying items such as DVDs and computer games.
Organisational Effectiveness: All residential staff have been trained in the desistance model and feedback from staff to IPMs on their learning has been very good. Levels of staff sickness absences have occasionally impacted on the prison regime with recreation/PT classes being cancelled.
Personal Cash: Prison management conducted a review of procurement processes as a result of the concerns raised and the supplier was changed. This change was communicated to all prisoners via a variety of methods and was a positive example of prison management listening to the concerns of the prison population.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Organisational Effectiveness: As noted above the prison regime can occasionally be curtailed due to staff shortages and IPMs will continue to monitor the impact of this.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs noted that levels of purposeful activity within the prison often appeared low and many prisoners were spending considerable periods of time behind cell doors. Joinery worksheds were not in operation for long spells due to a combination of faulty machinery and staff sickness absence.
Healthcare: NHS services were seen to be delivered to an acceptable level with staff appearing approachable and proactive with prisoners. Some concerns were raised around the length of time remand prisoners in particular were waiting for healthcare appointments and treatment.
Community Placements: HMP Greenock has a good range of community placements available for those in the National Top End but there are very few opportunities for those convicted of sexual offences in this area.
Chriswell House: IPMs have observed that prisoners’ experience of the National Top End facility has been mixed with some individuals finding the move from mainstream to be challenging.
Staff–prisoner Relationships: Very good staff–prisoner relationships were noted across the establishment.
Purposeful Activity: Purposeful activity provision noticeably improved in the last two quarters of the year. Many more prisoners are now taking part in the regime with worksheds reopening with new equipment and busier work parties. Prison management have undertaken a review of the regime to enable more time out of cell for prisoners.
Chriswell House: Prisoner experience of Chriswell House is under review by prison management and consideration has been given to suggestions provided to staff by prisoners.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Healthcare: IPMs will continue to monitor provision of and access to dental and health treatment particularly for remand prisoners.
Work Placements: IPMs will continue to monitor the availability, variety and quality of work placements available to top end prisoners.
Healthcare: Several IPM findings related to health, specifically waiting times. The vast majority of requests centred around the dispensation of pain medication. In many cases, the medication prisoners have been prescribed in the community or in other prisons has been discontinued. Health centre staff have explained their decision-making process in individual circumstances on request.
Reception and SRU: There are clear and effective processes evident in reception and the SRU. Staff have taken the time with IPMs to explain prisoner management plans in SRU. IPMs noted that many prisoners in this area have complex and challenging needs, requiring considerable staff input and in general the unit appears to be well run.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs found there are very good opportunities for purposeful activity in HMP Kilmarnock, which are on the whole, well attended. It is reported that there is a range of work available with a good allocation of tasks and effective supervision from staff but some prisoners have noted that allocation of work can be unpredictable.
Personal Safety: Prisoners generally report to IPMs that they feel safe within the prison. Staff have explained processes for debriefing, learning from and minimising the risk of incidents of violence, including increasing officer visibility in residential halls.
Throughcare: Some prisoners report a disconnect between prison and community, and this is especially keenly felt in the run up to liberation.
Healthcare: Various meetings have been held between IPMs and health centre staff who have explained policies on prescribing and dispensation of medication. This has allowed the flow of communication back to the prisoner to be quicker and more detailed.
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Purposeful Activity: IPMs will look into prisoners’ queries around work allocation. IPMs will attend the Work Allocation Board to observe processes relating to prisoners and their allocated work parties.
Throughcare: IPMs will continue to monitor provision of support to help prepare prisoners for liberation.
HMP Low Moss
Healthcare: IPMs noted some issues in relation to the patient experience of the health centre. The majority of requests from prisoners related to health provision within the prison. Specifically, these were around excessive waiting times for appointments, and health resources including staffing and dispensation of medication.
Progression:IPMs found prisoners were confused about the process for allocation of places on courses and programmes to support progression, with many asking for more clarity over decision-making and prioritisation in line with critical dates.
SRU: IPMs regularly visited the SRU and attended case conferences. They observed open and frank dialogue about how the prison can facilitate safe reintegration into the mainstream population with understanding that prisoners’ safety is paramount.
Purposeful Activity: IPMs reported there were very good opportunities for purposeful activity across the prison.
Throughcare and Community Reintegration: The throughcare model at HMP Low Moss has been observed to work very well with excellent partnership working between dedicated Throughcare Officers and third sector staff. Prison management have been proactive in engaging with community partners to enable a more joined up approach for prisoners to assist their reintegration.
Visiting Arrangements: IPMs received various requests relating to visits and the overall experience for prisoners, families and friends. During the course of the year the Visits Room was remodelled to make it a more comfortable and inviting area for all parties. Greater parental bonding time was also introduced after a suggestion from a prisoner focus group
Issues IPMs will continue to look at
Healthcare: IPMs will continue to monitor prisoners’ experience of healthcare, including following up on recent prison inspection findings.
Progression: IPMs will continue to monitor arrangements for programme allocation.
Independent Prison Monitoring Advisory Group
The Independent Prison Monitoring Advisory Group provides oversight of the effectiveness of Independent Prison Monitoring and the training and guidance available to IPMs, and makes recommendations for improvement. It is chaired by Dr Alan Mitchell, a member of the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Other members are:
- David Croft, formerly Deputy Director of Prisons for the Scottish Prison Service and formerly the Governor of HMP Edinburgh
- Fiona Govan, IPM at HMP Greenock
- Dan Gunn, formerly Director of Operations for the Scottish Prison Service
- Anne Hawkins, formerly the Director of Glasgow City Community Health Partnership.
- Hugh McGloin, IPM at HMP Low Moss
- Howard McKenzie, IPM at HMP & YOI Polmont
- Jim McManus, UK representative on the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
- Muriel Mowat, IPM at HMP & YOI Polmont
- Catherine Mullen, IPM at HMP & YOI Grampian
- Richard Sparks, Professor of Criminology at the University of Edinburgh
- Marilyn Stenhouse, IPM at HMP & YOI Cornton Vale
- Pete White, founder and Chief Executive of Positive Prisons? Positive Futures
In addition, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland is a member of the Advisory Group, along with the four Prison Monitoring Co‑ordinators. A representative from the Scottish Government’s Justice Directorate is also invited to each meeting as an observer, and IPMs are also invited to attend to observe the meeting.
The Independent Prison Monitoring Advisory Group met four times during 2016-17. During this period the Advisory Group focussed on supporting the development and effective implementation of the new system, and in particular:
- Finalising guidance for IPMs;
- Ensuring that members have the right information from HMIPS to enable them to provide appropriate oversight;
- Understanding the key risks around Independent Prison Monitoring and developing appropriate support and mitigation around these; and
- Examining key themes arising from Independent Prison Monitoring and how these are being taken forward.
The Advisory Group undertook its first Annual Review in November 2016, and identified a number of areas for improvement including oversight of training and a need to improve IPMs’ awareness and understanding of the group.
HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland
Staff – as at 31 March 2017
David Strang, HM Chief Inspector
Jim Farish, Deputy Chief Inspector
Malcolm Smith, Inspector
Alan Forman, Business Manager
Beth Macmaster, National Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator
Kerry Brooks, Regional Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator
Chris Collins, Regional Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator
Christopher Johnston, Regional Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator
Dorothy Halliday, Executive Assistant
Alexandra Costello, IPM Support Officer
Lauren Mizen, Intern
|Costs for the year were as follows:||(£)|
|Subsistence and motor mileage||49,486|
|Printing and Binding||9,268|
|Travel and Accommodation||21,545|
|Other running costs||25,220|
* No employees earned in excess of £150,000
In the first full financial year of its operation (2016-17) the cost of Independent Prison Monitoring was £314,800 see Scottish Parliament website response to question S5W-08315. http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=…
Freedom of Information
A total of 13 requests were received – all were responded to within the required timescale.
Submission to the Scottish Parliament
The 2015-2016 Annual Report
https://www.prisonsinspectoratescotland.gov.uk/publications/hm-chief-inspector-prisons-scotland-annual-report-2015-2016 was laid before the Scottish Parliament in October 2016.
Recent reports and publications can be found on our website