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.