Standard 6 – Purposeful Activity
All prisoners are encouraged to use their time in prison constructively. Positive family and community relationships are maintained. Prisoners are consulted in planning the activities offered.
The prison assists prisoners to use their time purposefully and constructively and provides a broad range of activities, opportunities and services based on the profile of needs of the prisoner population. Prisoners are supported to maintain positive relationships with family and friends in the community. Prisoners have the opportunity to participate in recreational, sporting, religious and cultural activities. Prisoners’ sentences are managed appropriately to prepare them for returning to their community.
Overall Rating: Generally acceptable performance
The prison assisted prisoners to use their time purposefully and constructively by providing opportunities for a broad range of activities, based on the profile of needs of the prisoner population. Almost all prisoners had the opportunity to participate in work parties, educational, recreational, sporting, religious and cultural activities. However, the uptake of these opportunities by prisoners was relatively low. There was good quality educational, chaplaincy, and library services available to most prisoners. However, the opportunities for purposeful work and useful qualifications was limited. Disappointingly the uptake of all the opportunities offered to prisoners was low and declining, with typically only around a quarter of places available being taken up at any one time.
There was limited prisoner consultation in the planning and delivery of services, and no clear strategic review of the impact or uptake of employment and training provision to help enhance the quality of the offer to prisoners.
During the inspection, most prisoners were given the opportunity to gain access to one hour in the open air. Prisoner participation was low and this was reported as common place. Where prisoners did participate, the majority did not take the full one hour. Where there was non‑offence and offence protection prisoners in the same area, sex offenders reported they were reluctant to attend due to threats and abuse from non‑offence and mainstream prisoners. Management should review the process by which prisoners access the outside to ensure that all prisoner groups have equal access and feel able to take advantage of this important activity.
Although the Chaplaincy offered a good service, an example of this being the faith induction session, it was disappointing to learn that not all groups were treated equally. The prison offered Friday prayers for Muslim prisoners, and a Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland service over the weekend, but this was not available to protection prisoners. Those who wanted to see a member of the Chaplaincy Team could be seen relatively quickly, as it appeared there was a good relationship with all areas in the establishment, and they were often contacted by radio to attend to a prisoner’s need.
Whilst the Kiosk system was a good communications tool; it did not meet the needs of those with learning or language difficulties.
Prisoners had a number of opportunities over the course of the week to access visits with family and friends in a rolling format, designed to be flexible for the visitor, which lasted one hour. Whilst the visits booking system allowed convicted prisoners to book visits with friends and family, and the reverse for those on remand, it could cause confusion, particularly when a prisoner changed status from remand to convicted.
The visits area was large, bright and well laid out, and the play area for children was wellstocked with toys, etc. Children’s sessions were provided one day during the week and on a Saturday morning. Each session lasted for two‑and‑a‑half hours and were well received. HMP Addiewell also offered parenting classes that were generally attended by those on children’s visits. The family visits induction had recently involved prisoner ambassadors leading the presentation. This allowed visitors to get a perspective from serving prisoners and ask them questions on prison life. There was good evidence of family events such as a father’s day and family fun days.
Although HMP Addiewell does not have an external visitors’ centre, the Cyrenians welcomed those visiting the prison and offered a supportive environment within the establishment. Visitors spoken to were complimentary about the visits process, but had concerns about the lengthy waiting times for prisoners to arrive due to operational issues. Management should review the process by which prisoners are brought to visits as inspectors witnessed family members waiting for long periods prior to the visit commencing.
HMP Addiewell employed one Family Co‑ordination Officer (FCO) who was clearly enthusiastic, knowledgeable and highly motivated. They were supported by other experienced officers when required. The running of the tea bar was the responsibility of two prisoners, and included dealing with stock control and cash balances.
Communication between families and prisoners appeared adequate, although the Email a Prisoner system required the sender of the email to buy credit (20 pence) before a prisoner could reply. Video‑conferencing facilities were available but not widely used. Family visits induction had historically been poorly attended, but management hoped that utilising prisoner ambassadors may encourage more family engagement. A visitor’s forum met regularly and a visitor had shown interest in becoming a visitor peer supporter which it is hoped may also increase family engagement.
Prisoners who were placed on closed visit (CV) restrictions were done so in accordance with prison rules. A review board sat monthly, which meant those on temporary CV due to an alleged incident may be on CV for a period of 30 days awaiting review. This was a long period in closed conditions, especially if the outcome of the board’s review was in favour of the prisoner. Prisoners on CV are allowed to attend children’s visits unless intelligence advises differently.
Dedicated facilitators of therapeutic treatments provided a range of opportunities including Pathways, Discovery and Constructs. Local courses were also available including Alcohol Awareness, Stress Management, Assertiveness and Alternative to Violence Workshops and one‑to‑one work. Those requiring other national programmes such as Moving Forward: Making Changes and the Self Change Programme were placed on the national waiting list, based on their critical dates. Staff informed inspectors that on occasions they experienced issues transferring prisoners to the relevant establishment to complete programmes due to national population issues. The significance of this was that prisoners could miss out on the offer of parole or in the worse cases are liberated before they are able to address their offending behaviour.
There did not appear to be a traditional Personal Officer Scheme in place, other than those assigned to prisoners on Orders for Lifelong Restriction (OLRs). Case Managers (CMs) carried out the majority of what would be the personal officer role and appeared to have significant workloads. This was made worse by the team being two staff short. Despite this, the documentation was of a good quality but time was limited in dealing with each prisoner. A good example reported was a disabled prisoner who, due to his condition, could not progress. HMP Addiewell, with SPS support, developed a plan that was similar to what he would have received had he been transferred to the Open Estate, and managed his progression to liberation from closed conditions.
MAPPA and OLRs appeared to be managed well. There were strong relationships with external agencies and some good evidence of family attendance at ICMs.