HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland: Annual Report 2018-19

Annual Report

HM Chief Inspector’s Annual Report 2018-19

Laid before the Scottish Parliament by the Scottish Ministers
August 2019

ISBN 978 1 83960 031 9 (Web only publication)
PPDAS 603370

This document is also available in pdf format (2.2 MB)


1. Introduction

Foreword by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland

Our Purpose

Respect for Human Rights



The National Preventive Mechanism (NPM)

2. Our vision, our values, our strategic ambition

3. Our Key Partners

4. The year in brief

Inspections and other Reports

Brief Summary of Full Prison Inspections

Full Inspections

Return Visit Inspections

Court Custody Unit Inspections

The National Preventive Mechanism (NPM)

Organisation Review for Independent Prison Monitoring

Submissions to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee

Calls for Evidence

Freedom of Information

5. Prison Inspection

Ratings Key

Summary of Inspection Ratings for 2018-19

Our Findings

6. Independent Prison Monitoring

Independent Prison Monitoring Advisory Group (IPMAC)

Independent Prison Monitoring - Summary of Performance

Independent Prison Monitoring - Our Findings

7. Strategic challenges for the Criminal Justice System

8. Court Custody Inspections

Our Findings

Strategic Challenges for The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

9. Thematic Reviews

10. Priorities for 2019-20 For HMIPS

11. Staff And Finances

Annex A: Independent Prison Monitoring - Annual Summary Reports

Annex B: Planned Inspections - 2019-20 and 2020-21

1. Introduction

Foreword by
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland

Wendy Sinclair-Gieben - HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland

Wendy Sinclair-Gieben

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland

As HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS) I have much pleasure in presenting my first Annual Report to the Scottish Parliament.

In supporting the work of the National Preventative Mechanism (NPM), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) completed four full prison inspections, two return visit inspections and five Court Custody Unit (CCU) inspections. In addition, we completed two thematic reviews; a Review of Home Detention Curfew (HDC) Processes within the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and a subsequent Progress Review of the Recommendations made, and the Expert Review of Mental Health Services for Young People in HMP YOI Polmont.

In our inspection reports we have detailed many examples of good and at times outstanding or innovative practice. In this report, I have mentioned some of the areas that merit positive praise as well as raising some ongoing and more pressing concerns.

On 31 March 2019, there were 8,122 people detained in Scotland’s prisons. Compared with the 1 April 2018 figure of 7,413, this represents an increase of 709, almost 9%, in the overall number of people in prison in Scotland over the last year; equivalent to one additional large prison.

On 31 March 2019, the number of prisoners on remand awaiting trial had risen from 1,142 last year (15.4% of the prison population) to 1,350 (16.6% of the prison population).

Scotland’s incarceration rate is one of the highest in Europe. A high proportion of remand prisoners, despite being involuntarily incarcerated, do not routinely access the available opportunities that could inhibit future criminogenic behaviour. The culture change required to address this lost opportunity has been highlighted in many of our inspection reports.

The additional number of prisoners and an increasingly complex population places a heavy burden on an already overstretched prison service in Scotland. I am very concerned that the number of prisoners is starting to exceed design capacity, resulting in not only additional pressures on staff, the prison regime and activities, but also on the essential programme and throughcare activities designed to reduce recidivism.

The overcrowding pressures experienced in 2007 led to the then HM Chief Inspector, Andrew McLellan, listing the nine evils of overcrowding[1]. My Inspectors and Independent Prison Monitoring Teams are starting to observe similar adverse impacts from overcrowding; staff having less time to deal with individuals, two people sharing cells that have been designed for single occupancy, prisoners being located further away from home, and an inevitable increase in the waiting list for offender behaviour programmes.

The sharp rise in population can be attributed to a variety of reasons including longer sentences for the most serious of crimes, a rise in the number of people being convicted of sexual offences, and more serious and organised crime being successfully prosecuted. Other factors include the reduction of prisoners being released on HDC, very few prisoners subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction achieving parole, and a legislative change that halted automatic early release for people serving long-term sentences.

All of these factors are likely to continue to place pressure on the size of the prison population for some time to come. The stark contrast between Andrew McLellan’s Annual Report and today is that unlike in 2007 there is no anticipated relief from additional new capacity coming on stream.

The financial pressures currently facing the SPS are also immense; with the SPS being obliged to purchase places, at significant additional cost, in the two privately run prisons in Scotland, HMP Addiewell and HMP Kilmarnock, that will inevitably impact adversely on other planned investments.

Conversely, I am pleasantly reassured to see that levels of violence, self-harm and prison suicide, although rising, have not risen as drastically as they did under similar conditions in the English prison service. I have been impressed by the SPS’ efforts to manage the additional population safely, and it is reassuring to note that in all of our prison inspections, and return visit inspections in this reporting year, staff and prisoners regularly reported feeling safe.

I am also delighted that many of my suggestions for improvement have been accepted and are either in place or under development. Two excellent examples to highlight are the introduction of improved discharge grants for young people under 18, and the anticipated pilot of in-cell telephony at HMP YOI Polmont.

I very much welcome the Scottish Government’s recent publication of an order to extend the presumption against short prison sentences from the current three months to 12 months. I remain concerned, however, that it may not be enough to bring the prison population back in line with design capacity, and that planned investment in key infrastructure must not be delayed. While the very significant investment made in relatively recent years in new facilities at HMP Low Moss and HMP YOI Grampian is greatly welcomed, there remains an urgent need to progress development of a replacement for HMPs Barlinnie, Greenock and Inverness. In a 21st century justice system, Victorian prisons are costly and no longer fit-for-purpose.

The work to redevelop the women’s estate into a combination of Community Custody Units and a centralised state-of-the-art facility is a positive step forward, but it remains to be seen whether, without further changes in approaches to sentencing, there is sufficient capacity for the almost 400 women currently in prison.

One of the key factors affecting the atmosphere in a prison is the quality of relationships between prisoners and those who work in prison and CCUs. I continue to be hugely 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 or heard of many examples when staff have engaged constructively with prisoners, in order to support them through their court appearance, their time in prison, and in preparation for their return to the community. I have also heard examples of the compassion and care shown by staff in responding to emergencies such as suspected drug overdoses or self‑harm.

The fact that, despite the intense SPS security activities, drugs are still being brought into our prisons is of course deeply concerning. This should not detract, however, from recognising the selfless and sometimes heroic efforts made by staff to intervene when the lives of those in their care appear at risk.

I hold in high regard the volunteer Independent Prison Monitors (IPMs) who, on a weekly basis, monitor the conditions and treatment of people in every prison across Scotland. I am clear that the regular monitoring of prisons by IPMs and the professional inspecting of prisons by inspectors, make a significant contribution to improving the treatment and conditions for people in prison.

As a country, we can take pride in how our prisons are run. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant to the risks posed by continued overcrowding as there is currently no clear timetable for relief.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed to the work of HMIPS during 2018‑19, with a particular thanks to all our Guest Inspectors from our key partner agencies who assisted us on our inspections, and of course to the SPS for their continued support and transparency.

2018‑19 has been an exceptionally busy year for HMIPS and I look forward to the challenges and tasks ahead in 2019‑20, and building on the good and strong relationships HMIPS have with our key partner agencies, stakeholders and Third Sector organisations.

Wendy Sinclair-Gieben
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prison for Scotland

22 August 2019

Our Purpose

The purpose of HMIPS is to inspect and monitor the treatment and conditions for prisoners in Scotland, in prisons, court custody units, and GeoAmey prisoner transport vehicles, and to report publicly on our findings. HMIPS is independent of the SPS, the SCTS, and the Scottish Government, allowing us to report our findings impartially.

HMIPS inspect and monitor prisons against a set of predefined Standards for Inspecting and Monitoring Prisons in Scotland, developed in conjunction with the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC), and first published in March 2015, with a further refinement in May 2018 to ensure that they continue to express, as clearly as possible, our expectations under each of the Standards.

The Standards for Court Custody inspections, are derived from the Standards for Inspecting and Monitoring Prisons in Scotland but are specifically for use in Scotland’s court buildings. These Standards have been in existence for two years and are currently under review. Bespoke Standards for prisoner transport vehicles have been developed and are currently being piloted.

The information that we gather from both the inspections and IPM visits allows us to obtain both a breadth and depth of perspective. Every effort is made to ensure that our assessments are fair, balanced, and accurate before reporting.

Respect for Human Rights

The lived experience of those in prison lies at the heart of our inspection and monitoring process. The revised quality indicators that were published in May 2018 placed the human rights approach explicitly at the core of all monitoring and inspecting activities.


Our programme of regular inspections is informed by an assessment of risk and requirement. We undertake return visits where areas of concern are raised during inspection, supplemented by our routine ongoing monitoring by IPMs.


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 look into issues prisoners raise. Any prisoner can ask to see an IPM by any of the following routes:

  • Telephoning 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.

The 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 that comprise the UKs NPM, which has a duty to regularly monitor the treatment of detainees and the conditions in which they are held.

2. Our vision, our values, our strategic ambition

Our Vision

“All people in places of detention are treated humanely, with dignity and respect.”

Our Values

We will demonstrate these values in the way that we work together as an organisation and in all of our interactions with our partners.


We will fulfil our statutory duty to report accurately, impartially and publicly concerning the treatment and conditions for prisoners in Scotland.


We will be open and transparent about our inspection and monitoring processes, and ensure our inspection and monitoring reports are accessible when we report publicly on our findings.


We will demonstrate the highest professional standards of behaviour and build trust with all those we engage with.


We will treat all people we engage with, with dignity, courtesy and respect.

Our Strategic Ambition

“To be recognised globally as leading edge in the scrutiny of how people in detention in scotland are treated.”

3. Our Key Partners

Our prison inspection teams comprise HMIPS staff and subject experts from other organisations. HMIPS would like to take this opportunity to thank its key partners for their continued support. Our five key partners are:

  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS)
    HIS takes lead responsibility for inspecting Standard 9 - Health and Wellbeing. One of the biggest and often most challenging elements of prison inspections is the inspection of prisoner healthcare. Standard 9 was developed in conjunction with HIS and a range of their key stakeholders, and the quality indicators under the Standard reflect a human rights approach as well as the Health and Social Care Standards: My support, my life principles and HIS Quality of Care Approach.
  • Education Scotland
    Education Scotland participate in all prison inspections and take lead responsibility for inspecting Standard 6 - Purposeful Activity. This Standard focusses on evaluating how well prisons provide employment, training and educational activities for prisoners while they serve their sentences, and is one of the key differentiators in reducing reoffending. Education Scotland also consider whether prisoners spend their time purposefully and constructively in out of cell activities, including physical education and cultural activities.
  • Care Inspectorate
    The Care Inspectorate take lead responsibility for Standard 7 - Transitions from Custody to Life in the Community. They look at what support is in place in the lead up to people being released, and importantly what support is in place once released, to assist people to reintegrate into the community and become responsible citizens.
  • Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC)
    The SHRC provide an important contribution to every prison inspection by providing an expert view on whether prisoner’s human rights are upheld. Their findings are incorporated into the HMIPS final report. They also assisted us in developing the revised quality indicators for our inspection and monitoring Standards, which are based on the Panel Principles.
  • Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS)
    The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland promotes and safeguards the human rights of children and young people under 18, or up to 21 if they have care experience. During prison inspections where establishments hold prisoners under the age of 18, the office of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner are invited to review the prison against international human rights standards. Their findings are incorporated into the HMIPS final report.

4. The year in brief

Inspections and other reports

We conducted four full prison inspections; two return visit prison inspections; and five Court Custody Unit inspections during this reporting year, 2018-19.

Our prison inspections were carried out by a multi-disciplinary team made up of HMIPS staff and staff from our key partner agencies/scrutiny bodies; whilst our Court Custody Unit inspections were conducted by members from HMIPS.

Brief Summary Of Full Prison Inspections

In all four inspections, prisoners and staff reported they felt largely safe and there was evidence of positive and respectful relationships between staff and prisoners.

HMP Perth was an establishment that did many things to a high standard. The initiatives around health and wellbeing for prisoners and their families, case management and throughcare stood out. However, the fabric of the older part of the establishment, that housed two prisoners in cramped conditions, did not provide fit for purpose accommodation. There were also serious concerns regarding aspects of the healthcare provision, which were immediately escalated. On further visits, HMIPS noted appropriate remedial actions were underway.

In HMP Addiewell, inspectors welcomed the positive and innovative work with Police Scotland in tackling the impact of New Psychoactive Substances, and appreciated the number of observed good practices in e.g. healthcare, peer mentoring and business courses. However, access to opportunities for some cohorts was too restrictive and staff shortages impacted on the growth and development of the establishment. On a return visit, inspectors noted the improvements in regime and the recruitment of a significant number of staff.

The opportunities afforded by HMP YOI Polmont for young people were evidence-based, leading edge and impressive. Inspectors welcomed a number of very positive initiatives including the partnerships with the community, the focus on the family, Positive Futures Planning and enhanced cohort specific training for staff. Young people’s involvement in the Year of the Young People Committee, and the use of peer mentoring stood out. However, the take up of the opportunities on offer remained hugely problematic. This and the challenges experienced by the NHS were concerning in an otherwise progressive establishment.

In HMP YOI Grampian, the inspection team found an establishment that had matured, and despite a small number of significant incidents in 2018, was largely calm and purposeful. Community and partnership supports were positive, purposeful and linked to pockets of innovative practice. Although concerns were raised during the inspection about healthcare provision, it was encouraging to see improvements in substance misuse and mental health service delivery. However, the serious staff shortages precluded moving forward and addressing the very restrictive regime available to remand prisoners. A long-term solution to the staffing shortages is essential.

Full Inspections

HMP Perth 14-25 May 2018
HMP Addiewell 6-17 August 2018
HMP YOI Polmont 29 October-9 November 2018
HMP YOI Grampian 4-15 February 2019

id10">Return Visit Inspections

HMP YOI Grampian 11-13 June 2018
HMP Perth 26-28 November 2018

Court Custody Unit Inspections

Edinburgh Sheriff Court 18 July 2018
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court 27 August 2018
Hamilton Sheriff Court 3 September 2018
Aberdeen Sheriff Court 17 December 2018
Paisley Sheriff Court 4 March 2019

The published reports from the above inspections can be found on our website at

The National Preventive Mechanism (NPM)

This year we attended quarterly NPM business meetings as well as meetings of the NPM Scottish Sub Group, and contributed to the NPM thematic work. The Committee Against Torture also visited the UK during this period and produced a report on their findings. The Scottish Government are currently preparing their response to the report.

Organisation Review for Independent Prison Monitoring

HMIPS completed an organisation review for independent prison monitoring and moved from the current three regions in this reporting year to a four region model from April 2019.

Submissions to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee

The 2017-18 Annual Report was laid before the Scottish Parliament in September 2018.

Calls for Evidence

During the period of this report we gave written evidence to The Equalities and Human Rights Committee on human rights and working with Parliaments and civil society, and written evidence to The Justice Committee on the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill.

Freedom of Information

One request was received during this reporting period and responded to within the agreed time limits.

5. Prison Inspection

Ratings Key

Good performance

Good performance

 Indicates good performance which may constitute a practice worthy of sharing.

Satisfactory performance

Satisfactory performance

 Indicates overall satisfactory performance.

Generally acceptable performance

Generally acceptable performance

 Indicates generally acceptable performance though some improvements are required.

Poor performance

Poor performance of what requires to be addressed.

 Indicates poor performance and will be accompanied by a statement

Unacceptable performance

Unacceptable performance

 Indicates unacceptable performance that requires immediate attention.

Not applicable

Not applicable

Quality indicator is not applicable.

Summary of Inspection Ratings for 2018-19


HMP Perth

HMP Addiewell

HMP YOI Polmont

HMP YOI Grampian

1 Lawful and transparent custody

Generally acceptable performance

Generally acceptable performance

Good performance

Satisfactory performance

2 Decency

Generally acceptable performance

Satisfactory performance

Generally acceptable performance

Satisfactory performance

3 Personal safety

Generally acceptable performance

Satisfactory performance

Good performance

Generally acceptable performance

Effective, courteous and humane exercise of authority

Satisfactory performance

Satisfactory performance

Satisfactory performance

Satisfactory performance

Respect, autonomy and protection against mistreatment

Satisfactory performance

Generally acceptable performance

Satisfactory performance

Generally acceptable performance

6 Purposeful activity

Satisfactory performance

Generally acceptable performance

Satisfactory performance

Satisfactory performance

7 Transitions from custody to life in
the community

Satisfactory performance

Generally acceptable performance

Satisfactory performance

Good performance

8 Organisational effectiveness

Generally acceptable performance

Satisfactory performance

Good performance

Satisfactory performance

9 Health and wellbeing

Unacceptable performance

Satisfactory performance

Unacceptable performance

Unacceptable performance

Our Findings

Encouraging Observations



Positive relationships are key to the successful running of a prison. During this reporting year, SPS and NHS staff and prisoners consistently reported that relationships between them were generally positive and that they felt safe. It was encouraging for inspectors to observe these positive relationships and interactions, built on mutual respect. On numerous occasions IPMs and Inspectors observed outstanding compassion and care from staff dealing with very vulnerable prisoners.

Maintaining family relationships

It is recognised that maintaining strong parent/child relationships during periods of imprisonment is beneficial for both child and parent, and we saw good examples of staff supporting prisoners to maintain good family relationships. Impressive and varied work was being undertaken within prisons to ensure that these key relationships were being maintained and developed. Some examples included:

  • In HMP Perth, hot meals being provided for family visits, where families reported enjoying having dinner as a family unit. There was also a family fun club that took place in the Education Centre every Friday, giving families the opportunity to participate in a variety of courses including cooking, budgeting, and healthy eating.
  • In HMP YOI Polmont, family awareness visits were available to support families to better understand the prison environment. They were tailored to the needs of visitors, to provide knowledge of how their family member would serve their sentence. During family visits, the Family Contact Officers shared the numbers attending each visit and the age of the children with the Chef in advance of the visit, so that lunch packs could be prepared with appropriate food.
  • In HMP YOI Grampian, prisoners whose children were celebrating their birthday whilst visiting had the opportunity to bake them a birthday cake in the kitchen. 

Prison Visitor Centres

The advent of Prison Visitor Centres is a vital addition to the support and services available to the families and friends of those held in custody.

The Prison Visitor Centres we saw during this reporting year had a warm and welcoming atmosphere. In HMP Perth, Cross Reach worked with various organisations that supported a strategy that families could utilise. The Prison Visitor Centre had been open approximately 12 years and received approximately 500 visitors per month.

The family centre at HMP YOI Grampian’s information advice and guidance service to families, and their integrated working with community partners, was good practice worthy of sharing. From our inspection, it was clear that families valued the fantastic facilities and support provided in the family visitor centre, so it was disappointing to learn that financial restrictions are now impacting on the times when the centre is open and the services being offered.

Similarly, while several of the opportunities provided at HMP YOI Polmont were innovative, there is a strong case for improving facilities for visitors along the lines of the HMP YOI Grampian model, particularly as this is a national facility with families potentially having to travel long distances.


There were many good examples of the provision of healthcare services this year. These included clinics in relation to blood borne viruses and ADHD, and the provision of training for the use of Naloxone (to be used in response to a suspected drugs overdose) and its supply to people leaving prison. In one prison, we saw a clear process for patients presenting at reception to be recommenced on opiate replacement therapy (ORT) during their stay, if they were in receipt of a community prescription. Patients who were not receiving ORT therapy in the community, but who requested this in the prison, were assessed quickly so that ORT could be commenced promptly.

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.

We saw examples of SMART recovery programmes being delivered by highly motivated staff, community volunteers and prisoner peers.

There were examples of collaborative working both within the prison and with partner organisations. For example, Third Sector agencies, community groups, and professionals. We also saw examples of comprehensive mental health assessments, which identified individual needs with care plans reflecting a holistic approach for the patient, and a standardised discharge tool that was used by one prison to share relevant information to the receiving services when the prisoner was released.

Peer Mentoring

Many of the prisons we visited this year had a peer mentoring system in place, where prisoners were trained to support other prisoners and their families to adapt to the prison environment.

In HMP Addiewell, the co-facilitation of prisoner induction by peer mentors and staff provided a good model, as prisoners were able to relate to the experience of their peers whilst the regime of the establishment was reinforced. The sessions observed were well attended and participation from the prisoner group was excellent. Family visit induction had recently involved peer mentors leading the presentation, which allowed visitors to get a perspective from serving prisoners and to ask them questions on prison life.

In HMP Perth, formal and informal peer tutor support worked well in work parties and the Learning Centre.

In HMP YOI Polmont, inspectors were impressed with the role peer mentors had in the reception area, helping to allay any fears prisoners had when first admitted.

In HMP YOI Grampian, the peer mentor in the area that housed female prisoners delivered areas of the national induction to women admitted there, and was supported by national induction staff.

Throughcare Support

Throughcare Support Officers provide a valuable and effective service and make a significant contribution to the successful resettlement of prisoners on release. In 2018-19 we saw some really good examples of the work they, and other enthusiastic and motivated staff, undertake to support individuals for release and best prepare them for the transition from custody back into the community.

In HMP Perth, prisoners were provided with a medical certificate and medication by prison healthcare to see them through to their first doctor’s appointment. They also had a full-time Department of Work and Pensions staff member, who was an important source of advice and guidance for staff and prisoners on understanding and accessing benefits.

HMP Addiewell offered a very engaging business course, focussed primarily on developing self-employment for prisoners as an option on liberation. The prison had effective partnership arrangements in place with organisations to provide long-term support for prisoners after their release. Typically, one prisoner per month moved on to work with a business adviser with a view to starting up their own business. There were several examples of prisoners who had successfully started their own business, and others who were well prepared to do so. Encouragingly, the prison and their local authority partners across North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and West Lothian had jointly funded a full-time housing officer post. Although access to housing remained an issue in a number of areas, the housing officer in HMP Addiewell was aiding communication, removing barriers and assisting prisoners to secure and sustain tenancies.

Throughcare services in HMP YOI Polmont were an area of particular strength. A range of Third Sector partners had been commissioned to ensure that young people across the whole of Scotland received support prior to and following release. The Positive Futures Plan for short-term prisoners, which was capable of being responsive to the needs of young people, was commended. Developed and created from the desistance theory behind the ‘Asset Inquiry Report’ platform; the development, governance and roll-out, centres on the individual and is appropriately aligned to the Scottish Government’s ‘Getting it Right for Every Child’ approach. This approach was welcomed as good practice and resonated with the adult estate approach to short-term case management.


Equality and Diversity

A common theme that gave cause for concern in 2018-19 was the lack of consistent strategic planning and management of equality and diversity within prison establishments. A greater level of attention to the needs of prisoners who are vulnerable, marginalised, or have protected characteristics would enhance the treatment of all prisoners, and there is a need for greater focus on the monitoring, tracking, and reporting of protected characteristics.

It is imperative that prisons across Scotland continue to take a proactive approach to engage with and support prisoners who face barriers to full participation, in order to ensure their individual needs and requirements are met. Processes must be in place to ensure that all prisoners, particularly those for whom English is not their first language, receive information on the prison regime, rules and entitlements, and matters of authority, in a form that they can understand to help safeguard themselves from mistreatment. All prisoners should have equity of access to the full range of opportunities, supports and interventions available in prison. Staff knowledge of human rights and equality duties under the law supports their ability to deliver a human rights based approach.

I am pleased to see the positive response from the SPS to this issue, demonstrating their commitment to fulfilling their obligations under equality and human rights legislation, both as an employer and as a public sector service provider. The SPS Corporate Plan 2019-22 set out the direction and priorities for the SPS, and with the reinvigorated focus overseen by the SPS Equality and Diversity Steering Group we look forward to an improved position in the next year.

Safer Cells

The conditions found within ‘safer’ cells were at times unsuitable and inappropriate for their intended use. The lack of an appropriate bed frame, a place to sit and eat a meal, or access to power fell far short of what should be provided for individuals who are identified as vulnerable. The SPS must, as a matter of urgency, ensure that these cells are reviewed, to provide an acceptable environment for someone who requires additional support or heightened supervision.

The definition of a safer cell has still to be defined following the launch of the SPS Suicide and Prevention Strategy - Talk to Me in December 2016, and the subsequent revisions in 2018, and we would urge the SPS to introduce a safer cell definition to assist establishments to provide the best care for those in crisis. The SPS should consider making access to media in a safer cell a default position, and only remove it if it is considered by staff to be detrimental to someone’s mental health.


As with the 2017-18 inspections, there continues to be challenges with consistent healthcare delivery in many prisons. Staffing, management of patients with long-term conditions, and management of patients with physical healthcare needs stand out as particular areas of concern. Without detracting from the many examples of good practice across Scotland, the apparent lack of a joint Scottish prisons health strategy with consistent assessment and management frameworks is considered detrimental. In some prisons, standardised mental health and learning disability clinical assessment documentation and clinical risk tools were not in place, and there was no agreed standardised mental health assessment framework across Scotland.

We continued to find instances where prisoners were unable to attend clinical appointments, the time taken to administer medicines had a significantly negative impact on all aspects of the prison, and healthcare regime and physical needs were simply not catered for.

Recruitment and retention of staff, along with the rising prison population was a challenge for all prisons, and it was adversely impacting on the ability to deliver healthcare services and allow staff to access mandatory training. We found that staff shortages prevented some senior staff being able to carry out management and leadership duties, and in some prisons clinical and line management supervision was severely limited.

Access to Opioid Replacement Therapy continued to be inconsistent between prisons, and often did not reflect the practice in the local community. Variations in prescribing practices between different prisons, and between the community and prison, provided further causes of dissatisfaction, and the lack of a National Formulary remains unsatisfactory. There also continues to be a need for an effective national IT prescribing system.

There are still issues with the use of NPS, commonly known as legal highs, although illegal in prison. The use of these substances continues to have a detrimental impact within the prison and often led to unpredictable behaviour and links to high level of violence. The SPS and the NHS have not yet ratified an agreed approach across Scotland.


The issue of progression, particularly in terms of access to programmes, remained a significant concern. Since our last annual report, the SPS have moved to a national waiting list for all offending behaviour programmes, however we are not yet seeing any positive effects from this change. We found that a significant number of prisoners were not able to progress appropriately through their sentence due to a lack of availability of, or capacity within, treatment programmes. There are lengthy waiting lists for many key programmes. There were also difficulties transferring prisoners to the relevant establishment to complete the programmes due to national population issues. All of this means that a substantial number of prisoners are not able to complete the required programmes 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 are aware that the SPS regularly review the accessibility of identified need for treatment programmes.

Whilst in HMP Perth, inspectors noted that although a high percentage of the prisoner population had convictions for domestic abuse, no specific programme was available nationally to explore gender-based violence.

Population Management 

The SPS has for some time been reviewing the management of its overall population. During this period, we found that certain groups of prisoners, particularly those being held on remand and those managed under protection regimes, were being held on restricted regimes with a lack of suitable access to purposeful activity.

Linked to this, we have also been concerned to find that in some prisons these groups were spending too much time in their cells. We found regimes whereby the basic rights and entitlements of these groups were significantly compromised.

It is a legal requirement for all prisoners to have at least one hour in the open air each day, and this should be offered at a reasonable time. They should not be restricted unnecessarily in their cells as a result of any form of informal isolation. In some cases, this could be considered as prolonged isolation under international human rights standards. Article 44 of the Mandela Rules, confirmed in the UK’s NPM guidance, defines solitary confinement as:

“… the confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more a day without meaningful human contact. Prolonged solitary confinement shall refer to solitary confinement for a time period in excess of 15 consecutive days.”

Personal Officer Scheme

The practice of Personal Officers is considered good practice. However, we found an inconsistent approach. The pressures of overcrowding reduced the capacity for consistent contact between prisoners and identified Personal Officers. There is a need for a more defined Personal Officer Scheme, with protected time, to improve the delivery of this function. We recognise this may come at a cost, but reducing the unnecessary transactional duties and giving more time to relationship management, with the introduction of technology, could assist.

6. Independent Prison Monitoring

Independent Prison Monitoring Advisory Group (IPMAG)

Dr Alan Mitchell - Chair, Independent Prison Monitoring Advisory Group

Dr Alan Mitchell
Chair, IPMAG

IPMAG provides oversight of the effectiveness of Independent Prison Monitoring in Scotland and the training and guidance available to IPMs, and makes recommendations for improvement.

It brings together IPM representatives, the HMIPS Prison Monitoring Co-ordinators, and a number of external experts in prisons, health and human rights to advise on prison monitoring in Scotland.

IPMAG Members 2018-19

  • Dr Alan Mitchell, Chair, Commissioner for the Scottish Human Rights Commission and UK representative on the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
  • Jim McManus, Deputy Chair, IPMAG, and UK representative on the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
  • David Croft, former Deputy Director of Prisons for the SPS, and former Governor-in-Charge of HMP Edinburgh 
  • Dan Gunn, former Director of Operations for the SPS 
  • Anne Hawkins, formerly the Director of Glasgow City Community Health Partnership - stood down during this reporting year
  • Richard Sparks, Professor of Criminology at the University of Edinburgh - stood down during this reporting year
  • Pete White, founder and Chief Executive of Positive Prisons? Positive Futures 
  • Marilyn Stenhouse, IPM at HMP YOI Cornton Vale 
  • Catherine Mullen, IPM at HMP & YOI Grampian
  • Fiona Govan, IPM at HMP Greenock
  • Hugh McGloin, IPM at HMP Low Moss 
  • Howard McKenzie, IPM at HMP YOI Polmont
  • Muriel Mowat, IPM at HMP YOI Polmont

In addition, HMCIPS is a member of the IPMAG, along with the HMIPS Prison Monitoring Co-ordinators. A representative from the Scottish Government’s Justice Directorate is also invited to each meeting as an observer.

During the 2018-19 reporting year Beth McMaster, former National Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator, moved on from her role within the Inspectorate, and two of the group’s external experts, Deputy Chair Anne Hawkins, together with Professor Richard Sparks, stood down, each having served three years on IPMAG. I am grateful to Beth, Anne and Richard for their invaluable assistance in establishing oversight of prison monitoring in Scotland.

The IPMAG met on four occasions during 2018-19. They focussed on:

  • Reviewing and improving the National IPM Guidance, to ensure that IPMs are well informed on how to exercise their statutory duties. 
  • Reviewing the provision of training for IPMs, to ensure that IPMs are adequately trained on all aspects of the role, and on how to deal with matters they encounter while conducting monitoring visits.
  • Reviewing and improving the way in which Separation and Reintegration Units within prison establishments in Scotland are monitored, to seek assurances that the more vulnerable prisoners are being cared for in accordance with their human rights.
  • Reviewing the ongoing improvements to the provision of health and social care in prisons.
  • An annual review of the IPMAG Terms of Reference and compliance with the legislation.

Independent Prison Monitoring - Summary of Performance

2018-19 was the third full year of the operation of Independent Prison Monitoring, the responsibility of HMCIPS since August 2015, with over 120 IPMs ensuring that every prison in Scotland was visited each week to monitor the conditions and treatment in prison, through observing practice, and responding to prisoners’ requests for assistance. During this time, IPMs volunteered over 5,000 hours of their time monitoring Scotland’s prisons on 917 occasions and dealing with more than 900 requests from prisoners.

Region (of Scotland)


Population on 31 March 2019[2]

IPM Visits



HMP Glenochil




HMP YOI Grampian




HMP Inverness




HMP Open Estate




HMP Perth





HMP Addiewell




HMP YOI Cornton Vale




HMP Edinburgh




HM YOI Polmont




HMP Shotts




South and West

HMP Barlinnie




HMP Dumfries




HMP Greenock




HMP Kilmarnock




HMP Low Moss








Independent Prison Monitoring - Our Findings

IPMs’ findings were communicated regularly to prison Governors and Directors throughout 2018-19. Annual monitoring reports relating to each prison can be found at Annex A of this report.

Over 900 requests were received from prisoners across Scotland. The top four categories of requests accounted for 53% of the total number received, and were categorised under the headings medical (189), prison regime (52), transfer (39) and visits (37). The remaining number of requests for each category were small.

From our analysis, one of the major dissatisfactions under the medical category related to the non-standard prescribing practices across the healthcare providers. HMIPS will welcome the national formulary coming into fruition to reduce this apparent tension. Access to appointments and advocacy were also frequent requests under this category. Dissatisfaction and concerns with progression, access to activities, and offending behaviour programmes match the findings in inspections.

We are concerned that prisoners may see IPMs as an alternative route to expedite their complaints. HMIPS will continue to reaffirm that the legislative role is to examine the conditions in prison and the treatment of prisoners via requests and observations, and not to intervene in the complaints process.

We have been encouraged to see improvements being implemented as establishments respond positively to the observations and findings of 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.

HMIPS have been grateful for the consistent co-operation and support shown by Governors and staff in every prison.

There are real benefits in having both inspecting and monitoring under the remit of HMIPS. This allows for information sharing, joint working, and a co-ordinated approach without in any way compromising the independence of the IPMs. We are grateful, too, to the IPMAG for their support in reviewing the operation of independent prison monitoring.

7. Strategic Challenges for the Criminal Justice System

Strategic Challenges for The Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system in Scotland is facing a number of strategic issues that require a co-ordinated response.

The use and effect of remand 

On 31 March 2019, the number of prisoners on remand awaiting trial had risen from 1,142 last year (15.4% of the prison population) to 1,350 (16.6% of the prison population). This is concerning given many of the people held on remand do not receive a custodial sentence.

We support the Scottish Government’s exploration of ways to reduce the use of remand. In particular, we support the proposals in the recently passed Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill, to permit greater use of electronic monitoring to allow more alleged offenders to be granted bail whilst they await trial.

One of the national themes that has arisen is the equity of regimes for different groups of prisoners, including remand prisoners. We are concerned about the different levels of access to and engagement in activities available for remand prisoners, who often do not have equity of access to purposeful activity, time out of cell and other beneficial interventions and services.

Our thematic mental health review identified the period of remand as a risk of self-harm or suicide, and this again argues in favour of greater access to the considerable opportunities within Scottish prisons, or a determined approach to reducing the percentage of remand prisoners in custody.

In addition, we noted the impact of remand that places prisoners at risk of losing tenancies and welfare benefits creating greater difficulties when liberated. Many women face additional, more complex needs, such as child custody issues and the care of other dependent relatives.

Women in prison 

Two years ago, we saw the start of the implementation of the Scottish Government’s refreshed strategy for women in prison. 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 on the 31 March 2018 was 380, and there was no change to this figure on 31 March 2019. 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 and Community Custody Units being completed in 2020.

Body searching

HMIPS would like the Scottish Government and the SPS to review their policy on routine searching. There is a mass of evidence that suggest that body searching re-traumatises victims, and we would like to see this type of searching being reduced for women and young people to intelligence-led searching only; making use of the existing technology to inhibit contraband. We welcome the approach that has been agreed to reduce body searching for young people.

Appropriate location for children

HMIPS urge the Scottish Government to review the appropriate location for the removal of liberty for children in detention. HMP YOI Polmont has the architecture and staffing appropriate to an adult prison. Best practice in child-centred thinking argues a different approach, nearer to the secure care system.

HMIPS would like the Scottish Government and the SPS to consider a hybrid model of secure care for children, which includes a secure care home jointly managed by the SPS and the authorities, which would include a range of choices for children with challenging behaviour who are currently unable to be managed in the secure system. This could provide the vehicle to remove children from HMP YOI Polmont.

Use of technology 

HMIPS would like to see the SPS move towards a greater use of technology.

Out with Scotland, in-cell telephony has had a demonstrable effect in reducing self-harm; it allows victims to contact family, friends and self-help and advice lines in private and out with normal hours.

HMIPS was delighted to hear the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, announce a trial of in-cell telephony in HMP YOI Polmont. Whilst HMIPS welcomed the use of Samaritans’ mobile telephones for young people and women in HMP YOI Polmont to access during the night and lock-up periods, we believe the introduction of in-cell telephony will prove sufficiently beneficial to be considered for a step and repeat into the wider estate.

The SPS could also consider introducing the Kiosk system, used in HMP Addiewell and HMP Kilmarnock, to the rest of the estate. This would help reduce the transactional workload of residential staff, allowing them to focus more of their time on building supportive relationships with prisoners.

To assist people newly admitted to prison, the SPS could consider obtaining funding for secure televisions with information loops into all reception waiting areas.

We would also like to see greater access to video-link visits for prisoners with families’ further afield.

8. Court Custody Inspections

Our Findings

The escort provider changed during the reporting period from G4S to GeoAmey.

Encouraging Observations


Effective teams: Throughout this reporting period, inspectors observed well-run facilities with staff that were clearly motivated and working well as a team. It was evident that individual team members supported each other and were operating with a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve.

Prisoner/staff: Staff were observed to discharge their duties courteously and in a respectful manner, whilst maintaining an acceptable level of authority.

Partner agencies: Staff reported and were observed to have good relationships with partner agencies. This reflected positively on the attitude and approach of the G4S and GEOAmey staff and that of the SCTS staff, Police Scotland and the other partner agencies. In Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, inspectors witnessed a good example of a collaborative, respectful, and professional working relationship between G4S and Police Scotland.


Equality and diversity: To allow people to access their rights they need to know and understand their rights, and if English is not their first language, or they have limited communication skills, it becomes challenging. Clear joint protocols are required to ensure that prisoners arriving at court fully understand why they are there and the outcome of their court appearance. All parties concerned must develop a joint approach to ensure that procedures are in place for this to happen, and that the process is fully understood by all those involved. In order to achieve this, staff at the court must also have ready access to, and the authority to access, the appropriate services, such as translation services.

Prisoner movement: In some of the Sheriff Courts visited, prisoners were often required to walk through public areas to either reach the courtroom or use the toilet facilities. Although this was appropriately well planned and managed by the staff team, it was not conducive to ensuring the separation of prisoners from members of the public, and as such may impact upon the security and safety of CCU staff, prisoners, and members of the public.

Fabric of the buildings: The fabric of the court custody areas did little to encourage interaction between staff and prisoners and would benefit from some upgrading, redecoration and modernisation.

Inspectors often observed significant and clearly historic graffiti on the doors, walls and ceilings of the holding cells, which should be removed promptly. The areas were generally clean but would benefit from being upgraded.

On reviewing access and egress to the court custody units and access to the toilet facilities for those with limited mobility, they were not always fit-for-purpose. Issues included stairs leading up to the entrance of the building with no ramp, and cells that could only be accessed via a staircase. Often those in wheelchairs were required to enter and exit through the public areas posing an unnecessary risk, and in some cases the only disabled toilet was located in the court reception area. This gave cause for concern and steps should be taken to review this.

Strategic Challenges for The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

Use of Technology

Some of the difficulties experienced in CCUs, such as overcrowding, access for those with limited mobility and movement tensions, could be addressed through greater use of video-link courts.

During the reporting period inspectors became increasingly aware that a significant number of individuals spent long periods of time secured in the CCU. The lengthy periods were, in large part, a product of the requirements of the escorting contract. HMIPS questions why it is a requirement to have all prisoners arrive at the CCUs by 09:30, when it is known that many individuals will not be required in court until the afternoon. This approach means that CCUs are busier, more disruptive, and potentially posed a higher risk than was necessary. The terms of the contract should be reviewed to ensure they meet the needs of the courts, the SPS, Police Scotland, and the prisoners in a more equitable manner. To illustrate an example of this; an individual in custody could be placed in an escort vehicle at 07:30, then spend until 15:00 or later in a holding cell, and potentially not return to prison until 20:00 for what may have been a ten minute court appearance.

HMIPS would like to see better utilisation of video-link facilities, and a smarter approach to prisoner transportation. Greater use of video-link would provide financial savings, reduce the transport and prisoner risk, the numbers of prisoners attending for short procedural court appearances, and the inconvenience suffered by the prisoner from long hours of travel or detention for a very brief court appearance.

9. Thematic Reviews

Independent Assessment of HDC in the SPS and the subsequent Progress Review


In June 2018, a prisoner was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a member of the public, a crime committed while he was unlawfully at large having breached his HDC conditions. This crime gave rise to HMCIPS being asked by the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, to undertake an independent assessment of the processes that the SPS operated when considering applications for HDC, to provide assurance for Ministers, the Parliament and the public. The request was made in accordance with section 7(2)(d) of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice wrote in similar terms to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) asking them to carry out a review of Police Scotland’s role in HDC.

Both reviews were duly completed and on 25 October 2018, the Scottish Government published the HMIPS HDC review report, which contained 21 recommendations covering a range of suggestions for improvement across operational processes, strategic direction and national guidance.

Further, in November 2018, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP, wrote to HMCIPS requesting that HMIPS carry out a six-month review of the progress that the SPS had made towards implementing the recommendations from the review. The Cabinet Secretary for Justice also wrote in similar terms to HMICS asking them to carry out a review of progress against the Recommendations for Police Scotland’s role in HDC.


The HMIPS progress report, published in May 2019, found that the SPS and the Scottish Government had made good progress with the delivery of the 21 recommendations. We determined that 16 of our recommendations had been fully met and were considered closed. Of the remaining five recommendations, HMIPS recognised that more time was needed to fully satisfy all the requirements of our recommendations. We noted, however, that steady progress had been made on these recommendations over the previous five months, and they were on track to be completed within a reasonable timeframe.

The effects

The revised guidance in response to the review introduced four additional presumptions against granting HDC. Since then, the numbers being granted HDC have significantly reduced, adding to the overcrowding pressures experienced by the SPS. It is important to place this in context. Since the introduction in 2006 of the HDC policy, until the changes in the criteria in 2018, more than 20,000 prisoners had been released on HDC by the SPS with an 80% success rate.

HDC was considered a potentially transformative tool that contributed to a prisoner’s reintegration back into the community. For most prisoners eligible for release under the policy, HDC was a routine progression through their sentence allowing testing in the community before sentence expiry.

In 2018 there were approximately 300 prisoners living in the community on HDC. There are now less than 60.

It is HMCIPS view that there would be merit in engaging with agencies - such as the Judiciary and the Parole Board for Scotland - that have an interest in evaluating HDC and its potential benefits. This may deliver a new and equally credible model that would allow the numbers released on HDC or electronic monitoring to increase. Such a development might restore the transformative potential that HDC still offers and help ease at least some of the pressures facing the SPS from a rising prison population.

The Expert Review of Provision of Mental Health Services at HMP YOI Polmont


This review was instigated in accordance with section 7(2)(d) of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989. Following two deaths at HMP YOI Polmont, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP, wrote to HMCIPS on 23 November 2018 and asked HMIPS to investigate the provision of mental health services for young people entering and in custody at HMP YOI Polmont. He requested that the review be led by a healthcare professional with relevant experience, but with full input from HMIPS and other agencies as appropriate. Dr Helen Smith, Consultant Forensic Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, was appointed to lead the review.

The review looked at what arrangements existed within HMP YOI Polmont, and what information was available when a young person entered custody, to inform the reception and management of that young person.

It is important to note that the review explored the wider issues of young people entering custody; HMIPS were not asked to consider the specific circumstances or details of individual cases.


When considering the methodology, HMIPS were clear from the outset that a key focus of the review should be to draw directly on the views and lived experiences of staff (both NHS and SPS), young people and their families. HMIPS and Dr Smith completed a number of informative focus groups and one-to-one interviews. In addition, a mapping exercise of current reviews, policy and legislation was completed and we commissioned a comprehensive evidence review, completed by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. We established short life working groups, involving subject matter experts across the justice landscape in Scotland, looking at information sharing, health and wellbeing and a review of two key processes in the SPS; suicide and self-harm prevention, and the audit and learning review following a death in custody.


What became clear in the evidence review and accompanying academic research was that being traumatised, being young, being held on remand and being in the first three months of custody increased the risk of suicide.

Two high level strategic issues merited specific attention:

1. The lack of proactive attention to the needs, risks, and vulnerabilities of those on remand and in their early days in custody.

2. The systemic inter-agency shortcomings of communication and information exchange across the justice landscape that inhibits the management and care of young people entering and leaving HMP YOI Polmont.

Seven key recommendations were made and a wide range of supporting recommendations, all of which are detailed in the Report. The seven key recommendations were:

1. Social isolation should be minimised with a particular focus on those held on remand and during the early weeks of custody.

2. To support more effective risk management the Scottish Government and other agencies should work together to improve the sharing of information for young people entering and leaving custody.

3. A bespoke suicide and self-harm strategy should be developed by the SPS and NHS Forth Valley for young people.

4. A more strategic and systematic approach to prison healthcare, with accompanying workforce capacity review and improved adolescent specific training.

5. An enhanced approach by the SPS to their Talk to Me Strategy, with more intensive multi-disciplinary training and a more gradual phased removal for those placed on Talk to Me.

6. Enhanced Death in Prison Learning Audit and Review.

7. Further work by the Scottish Government to improve co-ordination of reviews, with further analysis of comparative data on suicides, and consider international evidence about maturation and alternative models of secure care.

Many of the conclusions built on recommendations made previously to the Scottish Government, the SPS and its partner agencies. For some issues, like the capacity to share information electronically between agencies, previous work may have been initiated, but ambitions were not yet fully realised. Other recommendations sought to offer fresh perspectives on longstanding challenges that faced the many dedicated, caring, and compassionate individuals in the NHS, SPS, and partner agencies who work so hard to help our young people, some with the most complex mental health needs, levels of distress and challenging behaviours.

The Scottish Government is taking forward an ambitious penal reform programme that includes increasing the use of community sentences and reducing the use of short-term sentences and remand. HMIPS welcome this initiative, but to support progress in penal reform, Scotland will need to make further strategic and cultural shifts. These include maximising support for those held on remand, information sharing to inform the management of young people, and recognising the growing evidence about maturation.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s response to the Mental Health Review. In particular, the intention to address the data sharing issues, and to pilot the use of in-cell technology, which was raised in one of the supporting recommendations.

10. Priorities for 2019-20 for HMIPS

Priorities for 2019-20 for HMIPS

HMIPS will continue to focus on the strategic issues and concerns found during the reporting year 2018-19. Both the inspection team and the IPMs will continue to report on the progress which has been made against our recommendations emanating from our inspection reports, or where innovative practice has been developed.

The weekly reports from IPMs in every prison across Scotland enables us to develop a longitudinal national picture. Our inspection process allows an in-depth study of either a whole prison or thematic aspects that give concern. We intend to prioritise those issues where both findings indicate an ongoing concern.

In addition, we hope to develop a list of best practice on our website that will showcase where Scotland is leading edge.


Healthcare will continue to be a priority area for HMIPS, as we seek to encourage consistency of service provision to all prisoners in Scotland.

Population Management and Progression

The rising prison population remains our key concern, as it has the potential to impact adversely and intensify pressures in almost every aspect of prison life for both prisoners and staff. We will focus on the impact and efforts to tackle the rising prison population in all our inspection and monitoring activities during 2019-20.

We will also consider how consistently prisoners are able to progress through their sentence by accessing treatment programmes that meet their needs.

Throughcare Support Services

The provision of throughcare support services to people before and immediately after their liberation from prison remains essential to their successful reintegration back into the community. These responsibilities lie not just with the SPS, but also 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.

Nevertheless, Throughcare Support Officers can make a huge contribution to assisting those seeking to lay down firmer foundations for a more productive future on release. We are deeply disappointed that pressures on the SPS has led them to cut back on the proactive and potentially lifechanging support they currently provide in this area. We urge the Scottish Government and the SPS to ensure that this is restored at the earliest opportunity.

Other Priorities

We will continue to monitor all the other issues raised in this report, and in particular, we intend to build on previous work reviewing support for older prisoners.

Our desire to introduce a risk-based approach to inspection selection is crucial to ensuring we focus our efforts where they are most needed.

We welcome the SPS’ commitment to support systematic self-evaluation and promote a culture of continuous improvement. We look forward to working with the SPS to ensure our Standards for Inspecting and Monitoring Prisons in Scotland, and inspection and monitoring processes chime with their development work. In doing that, however, we will continue to provide the rigorous independent scrutiny that prisoners, the public, Ministers, and the United Nations would expect of us and colleagues in the UK NPM, in line with the international obligations set out under OPCAT.

11. Staff and Finances

Staff and Finances


Wendy Sinclair-Gieben, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland
Stephen Sandham, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (from November 2018)
Jim Farish, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (SPS secondee - April-October 2018)
Sue Brookes, Lead Inspector (seconded from 7 January 2019)
Calum McCarthy, Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (SPS secondee)
Christopher Johnston, Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator, Region 1
Chris Collins, Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator, Region 2
Kerry Brooks, Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator, Region 3
Ewan Mackenzie, Prison Monitoring Co-ordinator, Region 4
Kerry Love, Business Manager
Graeme Neill, Prison Monitoring Liaison Officer
Dorothy Halliday, Personal Assistant
Alexandra Costello, Prison Monitoring Support Officer
Linda Gruellich, Administrator (Temporary - July 2018-March 2019)


Costs for the year were as follows (£)
Staff costs* 679,697
Subsistence and motor mileage 50,312
Printing and Binding 29,559
Travel and Accommodation 30,606
Hospitality 3,027
Conference Fees 7,696
Other running costs 50,332
Total 851,229

* No employees earned in excess of £150,000

Annex A: Annual Independent Prison Monitoring Summary Reports

Map - Scotlands Prisons

Region 1 - Summary Reports

HMP Glenochil

HMP Glenochil
King O’Muir Road
FK10 3AD

HMP Glenochil

IPM Findings

During this reporting year, there was a significant increase in the prison population in HMP Glenochil.

Population: The increased population placed extra pressure on all aspects of the prison regime, including partner services such as healthcare. Cell sharing increased, and as a consequence of national pressure on spaces for those requiring protection, a small number of non-offence protection prisoners were being held in HMP Glenochil. The establishment did not have a proper regime for non-offence protection prisoners, and although efforts were made to find appropriate purposeful activities, the impact was that non-offence protection prisoners were being locked in their cells for extended periods of time.

High number of requests: The Monitoring Team received a high numbers of requests from prisoners wishing to speak to them. Common themes were healthcare provision and food. The Monitoring Team will consider how to improve the balance between responding to requests and carrying out wider observed practice.

Separation and Reintegration Unit: The number of prisoners being held in the SRU remained consistently high, and some prisoner requests related to their concerns about how long they had been held there. Paperwork checked by IPMs confirmed the prisoners were lawfully held there. The Monitoring Team welcomed the introduction of a closed visits area, which will improve access to prisoners held in the SRU.

Changes and Improvements

Closed visits area in the Separation and Reintegration Unit: At times, IPMs reported it being difficult to see prisoners in the SRU, due to other demands on staff time such as staffing the Orderly Room. The introduction of a closed visits area in the SRU is welcomed as this should alleviate some of the obstacles. Early indications are that access to prisoners in this area has improved.

Equality and Diversity Group: The work of this group is being reinvigorated and an IPM was asked to join as an observer. The Monitoring Team thought this was a positive development.

Social care provision: The area dedicated to prisoners with mobility issues or requiring social care was an area of good practice that the team will continue to highlight.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Restricted regimes: The regime currently in place for non-offence protection prisoners gave the Monitoring Team cause for concern, and IPMs will continue to spend time looking at this.

Population Pressures: In acknowledging this is a national issue, the impact at HMP Glenochil seems particularly acute. Monitors will continue to observe the effect of increasing populations.

Inspection Findings: When the report is published following the recent inspection of the establishment, the team will put together a monitoring plan to follow up on both good practice and areas requiring improvement.

HMP YOI Grampian

HMP YOI Grampian
South Road
AB42 2YY

HMP YOI Grampian

IPM Findings

Staffing: The greatest concern relates to ongoing staffing problems. Staff reported to IPMs that morale was low due to low staff numbers. Staff had less time to develop positive relationships with prisoners, prisoners experienced cutbacks to recreation time, and a previously high level of cleaning activity was reduced.

Healthcare: A significant proportion of prisoner requests related to healthcare and within those, around half related to medication. It should be noted that in each case IPMs did not find NHS staff to be at fault. Rather, prisoners were looking to have medication changed, or to seek information relating to appointments, etc. Healthcare staffing fluctuated over the reporting period, at times falling to a concerning level.

Effective, courteous and humane exercise of authority: IPMs observed both the Orderly Room and Internal Complaints Committee processes on a number of occasions, and concluded these processes were delivered in a fair manner, with prisoners being given clear explanations for decisions being made.

Prisoner/Family relationships: The prison had a very positive approach to encouraging and maintaining prisoner/family relationships, clearly going to great lengths to facilitate family visits. The Visit Room was clean and welcoming, and had good facilities for children. However, recently the funding for the Family Hub was cut, which was a concern.

Changes and Improvements

Purposeful activity: Concerns around a more restricted regime for protection prisoners were raised by IPMs during the reporting period. Over time, IPMs noted an improvement, actively witnessing protection prisoners accessing exercise, work, and education opportunities.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Staffing levels: Impact of the SPS staffing levels on delivery of elements of the regime (access to: work; education; exercise), across different prisoner groups. Also, the impact of healthcare staffing levels on waiting times.

HMP Inverness

HMP Inverness
Duffy Drive

HMP Inverness

IPM Findings

Effective, courteous and humane exercise of authority: The challenge of a rising prisoner population required changes to the management of different prisoner groups over the reporting period. Offence-protection prisoners from E Hall, who had previously reported receiving abuse from other prisoners while accessing their food in B Hall, were moved to this hall and managed there under a different (apparently more restrictive) regime to accommodate other prisoner groups around the prison. Offence‑protection prisoners were eventually moved back to E Hall.

IPMs also noted that the practice of moving offence-protection prisoners within sight and earshot of non-offence-protection prisoners (for example at visits) had the potential to lead to further abuse and intimidation. IPMs suggested that more should be done to ensure the separation of these prisoner groups to help prevent any type of abuse.

Personal safety: IPMs found evidence that the SPS Talk to Me Strategy, for identifying and managing prisoners at risk of self-harm and suicide, was being applied effectively.

Mental Health: IPMs had concerns around the level of healthcare staffing, particularly around mental health provision.

Changes and Improvements

Effective, courteous and humane exercise of authority: Prisoners complimented staff on treating them well, helping to resolve any issues they might raise quickly and sympathetically. IPMs observed prisoners with additional mobility needs being well supported. Management plans recognised such prisoners’ needs, medical conditions, etc. Prisoners expressed satisfaction with the way in which their additional needs were being met. Therefore, IPMs concluded that support for prisoners with additional needs was appropriate.

Decency: Despite the age and size of the prison, which is restrictive in comparison to larger prisons, staff did well to ensure that prisoners had access to work, exercise, education and healthcare.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Rising population: The impact of the rising population on delivery of elements of the regime (access to: work; education; exercise), across different prisoner groups.

The fabric of the building: Further assessment of how the age and size of the building may hinder improvements to work opportunities, exercise, etc.

HMP Open Estate

HMP Open Estate
Nr Dundee

HMP Open Estate

IPM Findings

Mental health provision: In one particular case, IPMs were informed that a prisoner had been moved back to closed conditions due to his mental health needs. It is understood that this was appropriate from a risk management perspective. However, IPMs had concerns generally around the capacity to provide mental health support at the prison. NHS Tayside responded to say that the mental health provision was being managed in prison healthcare contingency meetings and plans.

The prison operated a policy of moving any prisoner identified as being at risk of self-harm or suicide back to closed conditions. As a result, there was a concern that prisoners may be less open to discussing such problems, and therefore not receive the help they require.

Autism awareness: IPMs were concerned that officers may not have sufficient awareness of the issues facing people with autism, and similar conditions. These prisoners would benefit from officers having a greater understanding of their behaviours.

Purposeful activity: IPMs found the community placements team to be enthusiastic and, similarly, that prisoners were enthusiastic about the opportunity to undertake such placements. There was a high number of community placements. However, some prisoners stated that the range of placements on offer was limited, and not relevant to the type of work they might seek upon release.

Transition to the community: IPMs observed prisoners being released. The relevant paperwork was to hand, they were treated with courtesy and time was taken to explain the process. It appeared to be a process delivered in a very calm manner. This was welcomed, given that release from prison can be a relatively stressful time.

Changes and Improvements

Effective, courteous and humane exercise of authority: IPMs saw evidence of how dedicated staff were to the Personal Officer role. One positive consequence of the prison being under-populated was that officers had more time to spend on the role, which of course benefited prisoners, but could also increase the officers’ job satisfaction.

Substance misuse: IPMs were pleased to note that the substance misuse drop-in service had been made more visible and accessible, and was proving popular.

Healthcare: The recent change to how medication was ordered (using an external pharmacy) had led to a much smoother operation, and less confusion about medication for those going on home leave. It also freed up nursing staff for other duties, all of which was encouraging.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Training/work opportunities: The assessment of the training and work opportunities made available to prisoners, and the extent to which this matches prisoner expectations and ambitions after release.

Substance misuse: The impact of substance misuse and how staff manage this.

Staffing: The healthcare staffing levels’ impact on service delivery.

HMP Perth

HMP Perth
3 Edinburgh Road

HMP Perth

IPM Findings

Rising population/staffing levels: The prison population had significantly increased. There was, therefore greater demand for work opportunities, programme places, other facilities and resources, etc. There is a concern that this could lead to reduced opportunities for prisoners to access these, leading to increased frustration for prisoners. Staff were working hard to ensure an adequate regime continued to operate, however a significantly increased level of sickness absence could exacerbate the problem.

Substance misuse: There were a number of instances of substance misuse reported by staff to IPMs over the reporting period, including ‘unknown substances’, which were hard to detect and costly to test for, and misuse of prescribed medication. A policy was in place, whereby any prisoner suspected of being ‘under the influence’ had their medication stopped immediately (to avoid potential overdose/further harm), and their situation was reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team. Prisoners complained about this process to IPMs on a number of occasions. However, HMIPS recognises that prisoners’ safety is the driver of this policy.

Healthcare: Low healthcare staffing levels affected healthcare service delivery and healthcare complaint response times.

Management of risk: IPMs observed the Risk Management Team (RMT) process and were of the opinion that each prisoner was given a fair hearing. All staff involved appeared to be familiar with each case and all options were considered to find the right outcome for the welfare of the prisoner.

Effective, courteous and humane exercise of authority: IPMs spent time in the SRU talking with staff and prisoners, and witnessed staff working with prisoners in a very patient, friendly, and helpful way, including in the face of hostile behaviour from some prisoners.

Changes and Improvements

Healthcare: SPS and NHS staff are working to make improvements to the delivery of healthcare, including addressing staffing levels. A significant percentage of the population required to take their medication under supervision, and this adversely affected the smooth running of the regime, for example prisoners arriving to work late. Recent changes to the process for delivering supervised medication sought to address this.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Rising prison population: Impact of rising population and SPS staffing levels on delivery of elements of the regime (access to: work; education; exercise), across different prisoner groups.

Staffing: Impact of Healthcare staffing levels on waiting times and complaints response times.

Substance misuse: Level and impact of substance misuse.

Region 2 - Summary Reports 

HMP Addiewell

HMP Addiewell
9 Station Road
West Lothian
EH55 8QF

HMP Addiewell

IPM Findings

High number of requests: HMP Addiewell continued to receive a high numbers of requests, and this created obstacles for the Monitoring Team carrying out wider observed practice. To try to redress the balance, the Monitoring Team aimed to complete one supplementary visit per month concentrating on broader aspects of life in the establishment.

Healthcare: Healthcare remains a consistent issue raised with IPMs, in particular around access to a dentist and the impact on prisoners of the changes to prescribing and classification guidelines for certain medications.

Staffing: Staffing levels were highlighted as an area of concern by the IPMs throughout the year. The Monitoring Team was pleased to note this being picked up during the inspection, and welcomed the immediate action taken by the prison to address this.

Equality and Diversity Group: One of the Monitoring Team IPMs is a member of the Equality and Diversity Group. Unfortunately, the group had not met for approximately one year, which gave the Monitoring Team some cause for concern.

Changes and Improvements

Staffing: The independent prison monitoring system was well used and understood by prisoners and staff. The Monitoring Team would like to thank the staff they come into contact with, who are mostly open, friendly and helpful to both IPMs and prisoners.

Halls: Certain halls were noted by IPMs as being particularly lively, with a number of incidents being reported to them. Again, IPMs were pleased with the response of the Management Team and the changes made to staff deployment.

Smoking ban: The smoking ban was well introduced.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Complaints process: Some prisoners stated a lack of confidence in the complaints process, suggesting that complaints may go missing. Whilst there was no evidence this was the case, and staff on halls spoken to about complaints were generally aware of the individual prisoners and their issues. IPMs would like to see a better system of recording and tracking of complaints, and the Monitoring Team will continue to monitor this.

Staffing: IPMs welcomed the recruitment of extra staff, but understood the challenges bringing in large numbers of new staff can bring. The Monitoring Team will continue to monitor the impact they are having.

HMP YOI Cornton Vale

HMP YOI Cornton Vale
Cornton Road

HMP YOI Cornton Vale

IPM Findings

The new establishment: This year has seen a lot of change at Cornton Vale. Building for the new national establishment started and IPMs welcome the improvements that this will ultimately bring. The establishment did not close for building work to commence; it is ongoing whilst the current prison regime continues to run. This created challenges in terms of continuity of core services, but IPMs concluded the establishment had met them as much as possible.

Continuity of regimes: The Monitoring Team were keen to establish that a full regime continued to be offered to all populations despite the ongoing building work. They were pleased to find that was the case. Access to purposeful activity, visits, time outside, progression and healthcare were all facilitated in a way that did not have an adverse impact on the population.

Independent Living Units (ILUs): A significant impact of the building work was the reconfiguration of the ILUs. Originally, the provision was in houses just outside the perimeter fence, but the new plans required the houses to be demolished, which required a new space to be found for the ILUs. This new space was in Skye House, which unfortunately was within the site of the main prison, resulting in changes to the way the service operated. Significant efforts were made by the establishment to minimise the impact of the changes, but women in the ILUs do not have the same levels of independence at the present time.

Transport: Concerns were raised with the IPMs about the amount of time some women were spending in GeoAmey prisoner transport vehicles, in transit to the establishment. Amongst other things, there were issues about access to appropriate and dignified sanitation, along with the time some were arriving at the establishment and accessing healthcare.

Population: In common with all establishments, Cornton Vale experienced population increases and subsequent pressure on the regime. The IPMs concluded that there were still too many women being incarcerated in Cornton Vale that had complex mental health issues and would be better accommodated in a different environment.

Changes and Improvements

Visits Area: Women reported concerns about the cleanliness of the Visit Room, especially the area that was for children. The establishment took positive action by arranging for the area to be deep cleaned, and for a revised cleaning schedule to be introduced.

Team Sally Initiative: The Monitoring Team were particularly impressed by the Team Sally Initiative, launched in June 2018 to support the implementation of smoke-free prisons. The education run group addressed issues such as smoking cessation, mental health, healthy eating, exercise and social interactions through ‘Team Sally’, events, which were supported and facilitated by multi-agency working. The women were given a membership folder containing the ‘Team Sally’ calendar, a pedometer, a sheet of challenges, a mindfulness CD, colouring puzzles with colouring pencils, and a journal for recording thoughts. This summer, 34 SQA Awards will be issued to women as a result of their involvement. ‘Team Sally’ also run a choir, a book club and a fitness club. Recognised externally, Team Sally recently won the Partnership Award category at the prestigious Herald Higher Education Awards. IPMs think it is a model other establishments could learn from.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Continuity of regimes: The Monitoring Team will continue to monitor that a full regime is offered to women during each phase of the rebuild.

Ross House and Dumyat: These are areas where some of the most challenging and/or vulnerable women are held. The Monitoring Team will continue to spend time in these areas on a regular basis.

Transport: The reports IPMs are receiving relating to the amount of time and the conditions women are experiencing whilst under escort in the GeoAmey vans is an area of ongoing concern, and one the Monitoring Team will continue to monitor.

HMP Edinburgh

HMP Edinburgh
3 Stenhouse Road
EH11 3LN

HMP Edinburgh

IPM Findings

The smoking ban: The implementation of the smoking ban was well managed. It had a very positive impact on the air quality within the prison. Staff noted some negative impacts, and anecdotally talked of a slight increase in violence and the number of prisoners requesting protection or avoiding association.

Orderly room: During observed practice visits, the orderly room was noted as being well run and the staff were courteous. During follow up meetings with the prisoners involved, they said they felt the process had been fair. However, there were concerns raised about the responses provided to complaints, where further investigation would have been welcomed by IPMs.

Older prisoners: Older prisoners talked to IPMs about issues relating to adaptations, with some feeling that they did not have the equipment they needed in their cell. Issues related to hearing and memory loss were also raised, with people reporting that they needed more support on the halls.

Regime issues: Regime related matters included the number of visit spaces available for some populations and insufficient time to have breakfast on the days some attend religious services.

Personal Officer Scheme: The Personal Officer Scheme continued to receive mixed reviews, with some reporting very positive relationships/support and other telling IPMs they did not have a Personal Officer.

Changes and Improvements

The Visitor Centre: IPMs found the Visitor Centre to be well run and staff were extremely approachable. Individuals were treated with dignity and respect, and in many cases, a ‘holistic’ approach was taken by supporting people in a wide range of issues, not directly related to their prison visit. It provided refreshments, and from donations was able to hand out bags of food to visitors. Staff were available to provide support to visitors, answer concerns and assist new visitors to understand the visiting arrangements during what was a stressful time for them.

Barnardo’s Scotland made some structural alterations, such as lowering the reception and the booking-in desk to make it less institutional. They also worked in partnership with a number of organisations such as Families Outside, Four Square Housing, Early Years Scotland and Age UK.

Hermiston Hall: The development of Hermiston Hall, such as use of the basement room as an area for group work/recreation for older prisoners was welcomed, and IPMs look forward to seeing the impact as they begin to be used.

Hospice provision: An area of good practice noted was the partnership the establishment had formed with Marie Curie and their hospice provision in Edinburgh. The Monitoring Team concluded that positive work was being done to educate both organisations about the work they do, and to ensure as far as is possible a respectful and dignified service was offered to anyone moving from HMP Edinburgh to a Marie Curie hospice.

Regime: A reorganisation of the establishment took place, moving prisoner populations to provide a better regime. This had a positive impact on the number of people experiencing very restricted regimes.

Street Soccer Scotland: IPMs saw a programme run by Street Soccer Scotland, which was a positive intervention for the participants, and were pleased to see the agency returning to provide a similar programme for women.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Rising population: The overcrowding across the prison estate, combined with staff absences, continues to have a detrimental impact. Changes to the regime and the moving of certain populations was positive, it was noted that areas such as progression were being impacted. Staff in the SRU noted that moving prisoners, both to other establishments and back in to the normal halls was becoming increasingly difficult. Concern about the impact of NPS remains, although the situation appears to have stabilised.

Supervised Medication Dispensing: Officers reported that too much time was sometimes taken up supervising medication, meaning they cannot interact with the prisoners as much as they would like. The change in prescribing guidelines for certain classes of medication are having a big impact on the prison, and on those prisoners affected.

HMP YOI Polmont

HMP YOI Polmont

HMP YOI Polmont

IPM Findings

This has been a challenging year for the establishment. Despite the pressure, the IPMs concluded that although areas requiring improvement had been identified, the establishment continued to look to develop its practice and provision.

Purposeful activity: In the second-half of the year, IPMs noted some increased uptake in purposeful activity, but overall the Monitoring Team felt numbers were still relatively low. As a result, many prisoners, particularly young men, spent more time locked up than the Monitoring Team would like to see.

Induction: IPMs saw evidence that induction took place, but it was a particular concern that there was no formal induction for people who are held on remand.

Separation and Reintegration Unit (SRU): Some of the most challenging and/or vulnerable young men were held in the SRU. Any women that require to be held in a SRU are moved to Cornton Vale. IPMs spent a lot of time in the SRU and noted that under 18s were often held there, which is contrary to guidance from the NPM. IPMs noted what they felt was good practice whereby a staff member from the adult estate visited a young man in advance of him moving there.

Visits: The establishment responded positively to feedback from the Monitoring Team about visits by completing a targeted piece of work on perceptions of the length of visits.

Changes and Improvements

Displaced population: During the year, the Monitoring Team raised the issue of a number of young men being held in areas that could not offer them a full regime. One example being a number of protection prisoners being displaced to a mainstream hall, resulting in them being locked in their cells for long periods of time. The establishment took a proactive approach and reconfigured the population to ensure this was no longer the case. Feedback to the Monitoring Team from both prisoners and staff was positive.

Restorative justice: This is not a new initiative but something the Monitoring Team felt was an example of good practice. Estimated figures shared with the team was that the service had a 90% success rate in terms of differences being resolved, which culminated in people being removed from the ‘enemies list’.

Psychology advice line: A telephone line has been setup for staff to speak directly to psychology should they have concerns or require advice about a prisoner.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Access to purposeful activities: This is an area monitors will continue to observe along with access to time outside.

SRU: Given the complexity/vulnerability of some prisoners held there, IPMs will continue to visit on a regular basis.

Inspection findings: Following the publication of the recent inspection report of the establishment and the Mental Health Review, the Monitoring Team have put together a monitoring plan to follow up on both good practice and areas requiring improvement.

HMP Shotts

HMP Shotts

HMP Shotts

This year the Monitoring Team managed to increase the amount of observed practice completed, which they think gives a more rounded evidence base to report from. That said, the Monitoring Team continue to receive regular requests from prisoners to speak to an IPM.

IPM Findings

Preparation for liberation: Shotts is an establishment for people serving long-term sentences. As a result, the expectation is that few are liberated directly from the establishment. However, the Monitoring Team found that numbers were higher than they would have expected. Although most of those liberated directly will be subject to licence conditions, some will not meaning they are released directly into the community after serving a long-term sentence.

Throughcare support: Shotts does not have any throughcare support for prisoners. To benefit all those liberated directly, work is being undertaken to try to ensure that those liberated have access to bank accounts, and that they can get citizen cards for identification purposes. In addition, optional multi-disciplinary meetings are now offered if someone is being liberated without licence.

Complaints: The Monitoring Team raised some issues about how complaints received were recorded and responded to. The establishment responded positively by changing the process and reinforced that all official complaints received should be recorded in PR2.

Escorted day absence: Several prisoner requests to speak to an IPM centred on this issue. In looking into the concerns, it was concluded that the establishment had acted in accordance with Prison Rules, but there may be a strategic issue in terms of consistency across establishments. This has been raised with the Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons.

Personal Officer Scheme: The Monitoring Team think that on balance this works well in HMP Shotts. Each Personal Officer has a maximum of six prisoners to work with, and there is a booklet that clearly explains the role and its expectations. Quality assurance is built into the process with immediate line managers checking entries, and senior management also checking entries prior to RMT hearings for example.

Changes and Improvements

Recovery Café: The Monitoring Team were pleased to see the introduction of a Recovery Café in the establishment this year. IPMs have been told it is being well received.

Education: When contractual changes were initially introduced, concerns were raised about the new arrangements. IPMs have spent time this year completing indepth observations and concluded there had been improvements in:

  • Numeracy - through contextualised learning. This was delivered in the bike shed. An evaluation was completed and there was evidence this work was ongoing. 
  • SQA presentations - there had been a decline in the number of SQA units achieved in 2018. With the Staff Team now almost at full complement, 99 units achieved in the last six-months was encouraging. 
  • Observation of activities - IPMs observed Art, Cell Block Science and IT. All were felt to be of a high quality with positive feedback from participants. Cell Block Science was felt to be a very engaging session, with everyone involved and interested. 

Joint working: The Monitoring Team received calls from staff via the IPM Freephone on behalf of prisoners, or asking monitors directly to speak to someone they feel might be struggling. The Monitoring Team think this is positive and encourage its continuation.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

Healthcare: Concerns about healthcare were raised both via prisoner requests and wider observed practice. Issues include provision for people who have long-term conditions. This will be followed-up, and monitoring will continue.

Region 3 - Summary Reports

HMP Barlinnie

HMP Barlinnie
81 Lee Avenue
G33 2QX

HMP Barlinnie

IPM Findings

Reception area: The physical limitations of the reception area remains a concern. During visits, graffiti was observed in the holding cells. The holding cells have been raised as a concern by HMIPS since the 2003 inspection report. IPMs think the SPS and the Scottish Government should address this as a matter of urgency. Whilst efforts had been made by the prison to minimise the time any prisoner spends in the holding cells, IPMs do not believe that there is any acceptable length of time for someone to be held in a space that small.

Rising population: The population of the prison has continued to increase during this period with associated challenges for prisoners, staff and management. The IPMs believe the population should be reduced drastically to offer the service to the prisoners and the wider community that it should.

NPS: NPS continues to be a concern. Staff on several halls talked about the number of incidents they have had to deal with, and the impact prisoners having to attend hospital is having. IPMs appreciate the difficulty the prison has restricting access to NPS, and the difficulty staff have dealing with the fallout.

Changes and Improvements

Purposeful activity: The Education Centre appeared to be relatively busy. Gym provision was noted to be good with excellent facilities that are, for the most part, accessible to most prisoners. Work sheds were noted to be functioning well, with prisoners engaged and a good allocation of tasks.

Visit hall: The visit’s hall was reported to be conducive to a welcoming, family friendly atmosphere with improved provision for younger and older children alike. Staff are watchful and vigilant without being invasive.

Smoking ban: The implementation of the smoking ban continues to be well managed.

Staffing: IPMs found the prison to be very well organised and well run. The staff were generally helpful and knowledgeable, and it is to their credit that they are managing to cope with the acute overcrowding with which they are faced.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

The reception area: The conditions in the reception and admission areas will remain the primary focus of the IPMs.

Population management: The severe levels of overcrowding and the impact this has on prisoners and staff alike will be monitored by IPMs.

HMP Dumfries

HMP Dumfries
Terregles Street

HMP Dumfries

IPM Findings

Effective, courteous and humane exercise of authority: IPMs noted throughout the year that residential areas appear to function smoothly. Monitors have observed route movements where prisoners are spoken to with civility and respect. IPMs continue to report the efforts made by staff to ensure that visits are a positive experience for prisoners and their families and friends.

Purposeful activity: IPMs noted the underutilisation of the Links Centre and have raised this with prison management. Monitors reported the excellent condition and maintenance of the gardens during the summer months and also the welcomed the regular family days that have taken place around grounds during this time.

Health and wellbeing: The Health Centre has been visited regularly this year and was reported to be efficient and well run with very few delays in appointments. A small sample of prisoners were asked about their experience with health services and expressed their satisfaction with all aspects of treatment.

Changes and Improvements

Progression: The implementation of the new case management model will be monitored carefully. Two new psychologists were working in HMP Dumfries on a weekly basis as of June 2019.

Decency: A Hall has been completely refurbished as has reception. The Visits Room has also been upgraded with new soft furnishings and improvements made to the children’s play area.

Population: The prison operating capacity has increased from 176 to 195. The increase has not had any significant impact on the regime, though the short-term and remand population have been relocated within the establishment.

Short-term prisoner review: IPMs have been updated on plans to review the regime for short-term prisoners, possibly in partnership with various community organisations. This review will take place in late 2019.

Key aspects for Continued Monitoring

IPMs will continue to monitor the use of the Links Centre within the establishment and seek to monitor the proposed improvements to the regime for short-term prisoners.

HMP Greenock

HMP Greenock
Old Inverkip Road
PA16 9AJ

HMP Greenock

IPM Findings

Decency: IPMs monitored decency in some depth throughout the year. They reported that the staff do a commendable job in ensuring the prison functions well despite the site, age, and deteriorating conditions of some of the buildings. A recent infection control audit conducted by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, saw the prison achieve 99% compliance. New carpets have been laid in Chriswell House.

Purposeful activity: IPMs continue to note that sometimes staffing could be finely balanced, with some purposeful activity being closed due to sickness. IPMs were disappointed to note the delays in the new Life Skills Centre being fully operational.

Progression: IPMs received several requests about progression from prisoners throughout the year and note that changes to eligibility criteria have impacted on the use of HDC. Some prisoners perceived that their progression could be delayed by a lack of psychology provision.

Changes and Improvements

Effective use of authority: IPMs continue to reflect positively on interactions between staff and prisoners, highlighting officers welcoming nature at reception and visits area in particular.

Lawful and transparent custody: IPMs have spent time in reception where there appear to be efficient processes in place. Orderly Room procedures have been observed in Darroch and provide evidence of transparent and humane exercise of authority

Decency: A monthly estates meeting has been established with SPS to discuss the potential for improvements to the fabric of the building. A business case has been submitted for new cell furnishings in the establishment.

Purposeful activity: Some life skills are currently being delivered in the Links Centre as funding is not yet in place to complete the Life Skills Centre. There has been some joint working with the local authority to further improve library services. Various initiatives will be looked at to improve purposeful activity over the coming months.

Progression: There will be additional psychology provision in the establishment from June 2019 onwards. Prison staff will continue to communicate with prisoners regarding their progression plans.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

IPMs will continue to monitor progression transitions from custody to the community in HMP Greenock, in both CIUs and Chriswell House. IPMs will also continue to monitor the uptake of purposeful activity in HMP Greenock.

HMP Kilmarnock

HMP Kilmarnock
Mauchline Road

HMP Kilmarnock

IPM Findings

Lawful and transparent custody: The SRU was noted to be busy this year although staff appear confident in their work in this area. Adjudications were observed to be running smoothly despite the complexities involved in managing some of the cases.

Personal safety: IPMs have noted a greater number of prisoners on protection at times during this period with the subsequent impact on the regime. It was also noted that a detailed review of the Safer Custody arrangements had taken place across the establishment.

Health and wellbeing: IPMs understand from NHS, Serco staff, and prisoners that prevalence of NPS continues to be a concern for the health and wellbeing of everyone in the establishment.

Staffing: IPMs note that absence levels and retention of staff are continuing to cause some pressure.

Changes and Improvements

Health and wellbeing: IPMs met with healthcare managers and welcomed the new layout of the Health Centre. Waiting times have been good this year although this may increase with the rise in population.

Population: HMP Kilmarnock have taken an additional 96 prisoners this year, taking their capacity to nearly 600.

Personal safety: IPMs welcomed the formation of the Violence Reduction Group in the establishment, led by a dedicated Violence Reduction Co‑ordinator. IPMs have met with the group during their visits and been advised on the strategy going forward.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

IPMs will continue to monitor the implications of the increased population on the day-to-day regime at HMP Kilmarnock.

HMP Low Moss

HMP Low Moss
G64 2PZ

HMP Low Moss

IPM Findings

Overall: Issues raised by prisoners with IPMs this year have followed the national trend, with health, progression, property and visits being the most prominent topic.

Lawful and transparent custody: Processes for reception and admission have been observed to be professional, thorough and efficient. IPMs noted the additional numbers of protection prisoners in HMP Low Moss and the subsequent challenges of offering a full regime.

Decency: IPMs were informed that the heating was not working in Clyde 3 for a number of weeks towards the end of 2018. This issue was raised with prison management. All areas of the prison visited were clean and tidy and in good decorative order. Prisoners told IPMs that facilities were good throughout the prison.

Healthcare: IPMs have taken a small number of requests relating to health and wellbeing, these have centred around medication and waiting times for dental treatment.

Changes and Improvements

Transitions from custody: IPMs continue to report positively on throughcare services in HMP Low Moss with very positive commentary on the work carried out in the Links Centre and elsewhere to assist prisoners in their transition back into the community.

Population: Plans have been put in place to enable HMP Low Moss to take 100 extra prisoners over the summer months to assist with overcrowding across the prison estate.

Personal safety: IPMs noted that two new machines have been purchased this year to enable increased scanning for illicit substances. There is evidence of good proactive work to find and reduce the use of psychoactive substances.

Key Aspects for Continued Monitoring

IPMs will continue to look at the regime offered to protection prisoners in HMP Low Moss in the coming year and also the implications of an increased population.

Annex B: 2019-20 and 2020-21 Planned Inspections

On present plans, we will carry out the following inspections:


Establishment Inspection Dates
HMP Glenochil 29/04/19 to 10/05/19
HMP Barlinnie 26/08/19 to 06/09/19
HMP Edinburgh 28/10/19 to 08/11/19
HMP Dumfries 20/01/20 to 31/01/20
Livingston CCU 24/06/2019
Glasgow CCU 09/12/2019

Note: we will also carry out further unannounced CCU inspections


Establishment (in alphabetical order)

HMP Kilmarnock
HMP Low Moss
HMP Open Estate
HMP Shotts
HMP YOI Cornton Vale
Inverness CCU
Perth CCU
Stirling CCU

Note: we will also carry out further unannounced CCU inspections


1 2007 HMIPS Annual Report

2 Data from SPS Population and Accommodation Reportwith more than 900 requests from prisoners.