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

Region 3

HMP Barlinie

IPM Findings
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.

Positive changes
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.

HMP Dumfries

IPM Findings

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.

Positive Changes
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. 

HMP Greenock

IPM Findings
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. 

Positive Changes
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. 

HMP Kilmarnock

IPM Findings
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.

Positive changes
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

IPM Findings
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.

Positive Changes
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.