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

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.