Punishment Reports

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

SPS Prisoner Surveys 2011-2013

SPS have published the latest series of Prison Surveys. The surveys capture some key issues and needs of the Scottish prison population.

Read them here:

  • Key Themes are linked to day-to-day routines of prison life, such as hygiene, atmosphere, drug use, food, visits, exercise as well as important questions about experience of begin in care during developmental years - something which is much more prevalent among prison population than the general population. Additional questions  exploring knife crime have also been added.
  • Remand Bulletin which focuses on remand prisoners experiences of living conditions, family contact, healthcare, relationships, atmosphere and perceived safety 
  • Female Offenders highlights what is a very small population size with significant needs
  • Looked After Children surveyed prisoners' histories of care, with 27% of adult population having been in care
  • Young Offenders just focusing on male young offenders, however.
  • Older Prisoners  have higher rates of disability than younger prisoners and much high prevelence of long-term illnesses 
  • Military Veteran Prisoners
  • Establishment Changes compares individual inmate drug use between prisons

SPS Custodial History and Substance Misuse 2014

March 2014 SPS published the 14th Custodial and Substance Misuse Bulletin, which is published every two years. The information gathered in the document is based on census style survey sent to all Scottish prisoners across each of Scotland's 16 prisons, which had a response rate of 60%.

Key Findings:

  • Avg Age: 34 years old
  • 82% of prisoners were sentenced and 18% were untried
  • 94% of the population were males
  • 6% were females

Sentence Length:

  • 5% serving up to 90 days
  • 5% serving over 10 years
  • 11% Life sentences
  • 21% serving 3-12 months
  • 25% serving between 4-10years
  • 32% over 1 year up to 4 years

Drug Use:

There is a significant correlation between intensity of drug use and number of times someone had been in prison. Of those who had never been in prison before only 10% reported using drugs in the month prior to prison, while 50% of those with 10 sentences or more reported using drugs in the month prior to prison. One third of people serving 10 or more sentences committed their crime to get money for drugs and 60% of them reported that they were under the influence of drugs at the time of their offence. Drug use is significantly higher among all groups of female prisoners and the report notes that drugs is a much more significant problem in the community for women who end up in prison


There is a strong correlation between the number of times someone has been in prison and whether they had previously been in care. Of the 10 sentences or more cohort 52% had been in care as a child. They also were more likely to have witnessed violence as a child.

Read the full report here: SPS Custodial History  and Substance Misuse 2014









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