HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland: Annual Report 2016-2017


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.

Positive Opportunities

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."