prison inspections

HMIPS: Remote Monitoring and Liaison Visits

From June 2020, Liaison Visit Reports were published by HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland. These were informed by the Remote Monitoring Framework and Liaison Visits Framework. The first report on a Liaison Visit to HMP Edinburgh was published on 25 June 2020. It advised that the prison was managing the COVID19 situation well, however, a reminder was required that those in isolation needed to be given the opportunity to access fresh air under the guidelines set by Health Protection Scotland (HPS). It also advised that significant issues around mental and physical health were likely to resurface once regime restrictions were eased.

The human rights imperative of access to fresh air for those people in isolation also required to be flagged during a later Liaison Visit to HMP Addiewell.

All reports can be accessed here.

HMIPS Inspection of HMP Edinburgh

On 10 June 2020, HMIPS published a report on its full inspection of HMP Edinburgh. The inspection took place pre-COVID (October - November 2019), but noted even then that the amount of time spent in cells "may amount to effective solitary confinement". As we know, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules), defines this as "[t]he confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more a day without meaningful human contact". The issue of what qualifies as "meaningful human contact" has gone on to be a very important one, since our human rights obligations expressly state that this cannot be limited to those interactions determined by medical necessity. Other notable findings in the report concerned the poor mental health of prisoners and high rates of staff absence which led to frequent cancellation of work sheds.

HMP Glenochil Full Inspection

On 11 October a full inspection of HMP Glenochil was published. Many of its findings were related to issues of overcrowding and therefore mirrored inspections of other prisons within the estate. Specific issues included low levels of confidence in complaints mechanisms; automatic increases in cell populations; breaches of Mandela Rule 23 (1hr outdoor exercise per day); excessive time spent in cells; and a lack of purposeful activity for all prisoners.

HMP Glenochil Full Inspection Report

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