Punishment Reports

Standards for Inspecting and Monitoring Prisons in Scotland

The government have published a newly revised set of ten standards for the inspection of prison in Scotland. There are:

STANDARD 1: LAWFUL AND TRANSPARENT USE OF CUSTODY The prison complies with administrative and procedural requirements of the law and takes appropriate action in response to the findings and recommendations of official bodies that exercise supervisory jurisdiction over it.

STANDARD 2: DECENCY The prison supplies the basic requirements of decent life to the prisoners.

STANDARD 3: PERSONAL SAFETY The prison takes all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of all prisoners.

STANDARD 4: HEALTH AND WELLBEING The prison takes all reasonable steps to ensure the health and wellbeing of all prisoners.

STANDARD 5: EFFECTIVE, COURTEOUS AND HUMANE EXERCISE OF AUTHORITY The prison performs the duties both to protect the public by detaining prisoners in custody and to respect the individual circumstances of each prisoner by maintaining order effectively, with courtesy and humanity.

STANDARD 6: RESPECT, AUTONOMY AND PROTECTION AGAINST MISTREATMENT A climate of mutual respect exists between staff and prisoners. Prisoners are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and their future. Their rights to statutory protections and complaints processes are respected.

STANDARD 7: 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.

STANDARD 8: TRANSITIONS FROM CUSTODY TO LIFE IN THE COMMUNITY Prisoners are prepared for their successful return to the community.

STANDARD 9: EQUALITY, DIGNITY AND RESPECT The prison employs fair processes whilst ensuring it meets the needs of all prisoners irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

STANDARD 10: ORGANISATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS The prison’s priorities are consistent with the achievement of these standards and are clearly communicated to all staff. There is a shared commitment by all people working in the prison to co-operate constructively to deliver these priorities.

Read the full publication here: Standards for Inspecting and Monitoring Prisons in Scotland | 10 March 2015

Death, Addiction and Decay - Health matters in Scottish prisons

Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013 - Medical Leadership in Scotland

The Scottish Prison Service and NHS face a daily challenge ensuring those detained in prison receive all necessary forms of care. Given the extremely high levels of incarceration in Scotland, this is no small task. That is why the recent Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer provides illuminating, and also troubling insight into care and need in Scottish custody in 2013.

Nationally, health inequalities remain a ‘major problem in Scotland’, operating in criminal justice spheres ‘offers an opportunity for people in the community who find services hardest to reach, to benefit from support even of the briefest nature’. The report makes clear how problematic it can be to craft the policy and practice of healthcare in criminal justice and not consider those inseparable broader social inequities; stating that it ‘remains the case that key determinants of health are poverty, housing and access to welfare or employment opportunities, along with social aspects of rehabilitation. Without addressing them, risk factor and health improvement intervention will have limited impact and this applies equally to police custody and prisons’.

The disproportionately high medical and healthcare need among the Scottish prison population as compared to the general population was illustrated by a number of key statistics:

  • 54% of 200,000 people who had been in police custody in Scotland had problems with alcohol and drugs.
  • 68% of the same group had difficulties with substance misuse, and problems with both medical and mental health.
  • 73% of prisoners are believed to have an alcohol problem.
  • 36% are believed to be alcohol dependent.
  • At the time of the offence, 45% of prisoner reported being under the influence of alcohol, and;
  • 39% reported that at the time of their offence they were under the influence of drugs.
  •  Upon reception to prison, 77% of prisoners tested as positive for illegal drugs (33% for opiates)
  • It is believed that 19% of the prison population are Hepatitis C positive.
  • About 10% of men in the general population in Scotland suffer from dental decay, compared to 29% of men in Scottish prisons.
  • For women in prison in Scotland, 42% suffer from dental decay, compared to 3% of women in the general population.
  • Both men and women who have been in prison have higher risk of death than the general Scottish populace. The risk of mortality is particularly high in the immediate post release period ‘as prisoners return to the poor circumstances, poverty of opportunity and hope that they left’.

Read the report, particularly the Health & Justice section here

Greenock Inspection

HMP Greenock was recently subject to an Inspection from Chief Inspector of Prisons, Daivid Strang.

  • Greenock has capacity for 249 inmates
  • All cells are single occupancy
  • Greenock has Personal Officers who work more closely with prisoners to support them with their ICM (Integrated Case Management)
  • The Chief Inspector raised concerns about the levels of training and supervision Perosnal Officers currently received

Read the report here: HMP Greenock 19-27 May 2014

SPS Annual Report 2013-2014

The Scottish Prison Service has released its Annual Report which covers all prisons across Scotland.

Some key figures include a stabilising, although still comparatively high, imprisonment rate of a daily average prison population of 7851. HLS remain concerned about the fact that 19% of these people were on remand, and we know that many of these will not go on to receive a custodial sentence.

The report also illustrates what are the SPS's key performance indicators:

Read the full report here: SPS Annual Report 2013-14

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Report 2013-2014 Published

The Inspector of Prisons has published his Annual Report today.

The report aims to highlight good practice which promotes prisoners’ safety, opportunity and upholds their right to humane treatment. However, the report raises a number of concerns:

  • Scotland must reduce its high use of imprisonment and promote effective community based sanctions.
  • There is a tension in using prison to both punish and rehabilitate people.
  • Ageing in prison is a growing conern and requires increaing medical resources.
  • Access to purposeful activity should be available to all prisoners, this is currently not the case across the prison system.
  • Overcrowding and doubling-up in single cells continues to hinder programmes and access to meaningful activities.
  • Prisoners being transferred must be accompanied by their records.
  • How long people spend in segregation is still a concern and will be subject to an uncoming thematic inspection.
  • Important health and background information on newly admitted prisoners is often not reported to prison staff and health officers. This problem is particularly concerning given that these first few days in prison are when a prisoner feels the most vulnerable.
  • A national policy for addressing dirty protests in Scottish prisons should be designed as a matter of urgency.

The report also makes lengthy and specific recommendations regarding Low Moss, Barlinnie, Edinburgh, Inverness and Polmont Youth Offenders Institution.

Read the full report here

Read more:

STV: Increase in dementia and disabilities as prison population ages
BBC News: Prisoner numbers still increasing despite work on over-crowding
Holyrood magazine coverage of the report launch: Prison inspectors to focus on segregation

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