HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland: Strategic Plan 2019-22

Annex C

A human rights based approach –
panel principles

Our Standards for Inspecting and Monitoring Prisons in Scotland and their associated Quality Indicators have at their heart the upholding of the human rights of those detained in prison. The Standards articulate what is expected of a well-run prison, and contain very clear statements identifying what is important and what will be monitored and inspected.

We have adopted an approach underpinned by the PANEL principles.

What is PANEL?


The central components to a human rights-based approach have been distilled into five principles: Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination and equality, Empowerment and Legality.

The PANEL principles provide a framework by which it is possible to analyse and assess the human rights impact of decision making as well as providing guidance for the state, in terms of how to make decisions and implement processes. By using accessible language, PANEL translates the wide variety of human rights law minimum standards so that they can be better understood and applied.


Prisoners should be meaningfully involved in decisions that affect their lives.


There should be monitoring of how prisoners' rights are being
affected as well as remedies when things go wrong.

Non-Discrimination and Equality

All forms of discrimination must be prohibited, prevented and
eliminated. The needs of prisoners who face the biggest barriers
to realising their rights should be prioritised.


Everyone should understand their rights, and be fully supported to take part in developing policy and practices which affect their lives.


Approaches should be grounded in the legal rights that are set out in
domestic and international laws.