HM Chief Inspector's Overview
HMP Kilmarnock was last inspected in October 2011. The resulting report contained 10 Recommendations and 40 Action Points, and identified 16 Areas of Good Practice.
The purpose of this follow-up inspection in July 2014 was to assess the actions which had been taken to address the recommendations and to report on the progress made. For this inspection, the team was assisted by inspectors from Education Scotland and Healthcare Improvement Scotland, for whose invaluable contribution I am grateful.
It is clear from our inspection that good progress has been made by HMP Kilmarnock in the areas identified in the full inspection report. We assess that seven of the Recommendations have been achieved and two partially achieved (with one no longer applicable). Of the Action Points, 25 have been achieved, five partially achieved and seven not achieved (with three no longer applicable). All 16 of the Areas of Good Practice are still in place. We have identified an additional six Areas of Good Practice and made 11 further Recommendations.
A new Director of HMP Kilmarnock had been appointed in the three months before the follow-up inspection, following the retirement of his predecessor. It is still early days, but he has brought a fresh perspective to the leadership of the prison. In general, we observed good relationships between staff and prisoners. Most prisoners reported to us that they felt safe in HMP Kilmarnock.
A number of the recommendations from the full inspection related to healthcare issues. There is now a well-motivated and dedicated staff group providing healthcare of a good standard. The management of prisoners deemed to be at risk of self-harm is now delivered through the application of the ACT 2 Care strategy. The areas of the Health Centre formerly used for inpatient care have been decommissioned, but there remains a need to improve the medical facilities. The distribution of medication in the residential Wings should be reviewed, particularly at the weekends. There is scope to improve the communication and mutual understanding between HMP Kilmarnock and NHS Ayshire and Arran to facilitate joint working in the prison.
Another area identified for improvement in the full inspection report related to education and purposeful activity. I was pleased to see improvements in the delivery of education and vocational training, in terms of both quantity and quality of qualifications. The joint approach to planning has resulted in increased attendance in formal classes, as well as engagement in the residential Wings. Progress has been satisfactory against all the relevant recommendations. Improvements could still be made in reducing the number of prisoners who are deemed medically unfit for work.
Two initiatives in particular are worthy of highlighting. The "Email a prisoner" service allows prisoners to receive directly onto their kiosk an email to which they can respond. This encourages constructive links to be maintained with family members, particularly children. Secondly, HMP Kilmarnock has a secure payments facility which allows money to be paid electronically into a prisoner's account, through an external processing company. This reduces the need for cash handling within the prison.
Overall, there were examples of good engagement with families, through family days and support from third sector organisations. The Family Contact Officers are active in their supporting of prisoners and their families.
HMP Kilmarnock has made good progress in addressing the recommendations from the full inspection report in 2011. HM Inspectorate of Prisons will continue to monitor the Areas of Good Practice and new Recommendations from this inspection report.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland