Report on HMP Addiewell 6-17 August 2018

Introduction and Background

This report is part of the programme of inspections of prisons carried out by HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS). These inspections contribute to the UK’s response to its international obligations under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). OPCAT requires that all places of detention are visited regularly by independent bodies, known as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), which monitor the treatment of, and conditions for, detention. HMIPS is one of several bodies making up the NPM in the UK.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS) assess the treatment and care of prisoners across the Scottish Prison Service estate against a pre‑defined set of standards. These Standards are set out in the document ‘Standards for Inspecting and Monitoring Prisons in Scotland’, published in May 2018 which can be found at

The Standards reflect the independence of the inspection of prisons in Scotland and are designed to provide information to prisoners, prison staff and the wider community on the main areas that are examined during the course of an inspection. They also provide assurance to Ministers and the public that inspections are conducted in line with a framework that is consistent and that assessments are made against appropriate criteria. While the basis for these Standards is rooted in International Human Rights treaties, conventions and in Prison Rules, they are the Standards of HMIPS. This report and the separate ‘Evidence Report’ are set out to reflect the performance against these standards and quality indicators.

HMIPS assimilates information resulting in evidence‑based findings utilising a number of different techniques. These include: 

  • obtaining information and documents from the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and the prison inspected;
  • shadowing and observing SPS and other specialist staff as they perform their duties within the prison; 
  • interviewing prisoners and staff on a one‑to‑one basis;
  • conducting focus groups with prisoners and staff;
  • observing the range of services delivered within the prison at the point of delivery; 
  • inspecting a wide range of facilities impacting on both prisoners and staff;
  • attending and observing relevant meetings impacting on both the management of the prison and the future of the prisoners such as Case Conferences; and
  • reviewing policies, procedures and performance reports produced both locally and by SPS headquarters specialists.

HMIPS is supported in our work by inspectors from Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), Education Scotland, Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Care Inspectorate, and guest inspectors from the SPS

The information gathered facilitates the compilation of a complete analysis of the prison against the standards used. This ensures that assessments are fair, balanced and accurate. In relation to each standard and quality indicator, inspectors record their evaluation in two forms:

1. A colour‑coded assessment marker.

Rating Definition
Good performanceGood performance Indicates good performance which may constitute good practice.
Satisfactory performanceSatisfactory performance Indicates overall satisfactory performance.
Generally acceptable performanceGenerally acceptable performance Indicates generally acceptable performance though some improvements are required.
Poor performancePoor performance Indicates poor performance and will be accompanied by a statement of what requires to be addressed.
Unacceptable performanceUnacceptable performance Indicates unacceptable performance that requires immediate attention.
Not applicableNot applicable Quality indicator is not applicable.

2. A written record of the evidence gathered is produced by the inspector allocated each individual standard. It is important to recognise that although standards are assigned to inspectors within the team, all inspectors have the opportunity to comment on findings at a deliberation session prior to final assessments being reached. This emphasises the fairness aspect of the process ensuring an unbiased decision is reached prior to completion of the final report.

This report provides a summary of the inspection findings and an overall rating against each of the nine standards. The full inspection findings and overall rating for each of the quality indicators can be found in the attached ‘Evidence Report’.