Punishment Reports

Criminal Justice Social Work Annual Report 2012-13

Annual statistical bulletin on criminal justice social work in Scotland

Read the report here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0045/00451608.pdf

SCCJR Report on Training for SPS Staff

The work of prison officers is often a delicate balancing act. They must find the measure between the over-arching security concerns of their work as well as manage the often personal and supportive roles they take on with prisoners. If we are interested in transforming prisons, then we must also take interest in prison staff. As a recent  snapshot on prison officer research from the SCCJR states, people 'have all too often expended relatively little effort or imagination in grasping their position and its challenges'. 

The SCCJR have recently published their Annual Report, April 2013-March 2014. One of their many projects includes 'Developing a Professional Qualification for Scottish Prison Service: A Report on Exploratory Work'. The research was commissioned in the wake of the promising and ambitious SPS Organizational Review, 'Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives', which illustrated a desire to develop prison service staff training and skills. 176 interviews were conducted with prison staff in all of Scotland's prisons to give voice to their views, concerns and hopes for the proposed changes in professional training.


  • Some staff, particularly long-serving staff, were dubious professional training will enhance their working lives;
  • Others believed it was a beneficial suggestion, but doubted it would come to fruition;
  • The majority of staff embraced the idea of increased education and professional qualifications for prison staff;
  • The key areas identified by staff as requiring development were 'people skills, 'dealing with people' and 'insight';
  • The majority of staff were positive about engaging in more mentoring style relationships with prisoners.


  • Develop an externally credible course;
  • Develop core modules which 'would involve values, standards and behaviours as well as knowledge and understanding';
  • Opportunities for specialised training;
  • Encourage and make possible continued professional development.

For more from the SCCJR read here

Criminal Justice Social Work Annual Report 2012-13

Annual statistical bulletin on criminal justice social work in Scotland

Read the report here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0045/00451608.pdf

CPT Recommendations Scotland - March 2014

Progress must be made if Scottish prisons are to satisfy the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and the European Convention on Human Rights. While progress has been made in the smooth transfer of prison health services to the NHS, the CPT have been critical of prison safety and expressed concerned over lack of meaningful and rehabilitative activity in a number of Scottish prisons. The most significant problems they highlighted were:

  • There were a number of allegations of excessive force by prison officers in Barlinnie and verbal abuse in Cornton Vale;
  • A number of prisoners in Kilmarnock felt unsafe and then prison was generally tense;
  • Upon admission to Barlinnie people were held in cupboard-like cublicles (1m squared, coloquially known as 'dog boxes');
  • Barlinnie prison is operating at 120% capacity;
  • Prisoners in Barlinnie are spending up to 22 hours a day in their cells;
  • Women held in HMP Edinburgh were also spending a similarly considerable percentage of their day confined to their cells. 

Their specific recommendations to the SPS were:

  • CPT advocates greater employment of alternatives to custody as the key means to reduce prison overcrowding; 
  • Recommends that serious mental health prisoners not be held in segregation units and be transferred more rapidly to appropriate in-patient facilities;
  • Clinical psychologists be employed to deal specifically with women prisoners who exhibit severe disorders;
  • Increased safeguards around discipline and segregation are necessary;
  • There must be increased support for foreign national prisoners.

Read the CPT Report here 

Read a summary of their report here: CPT report on the United Kingdom

Read a straightforward summary of Article 3 on the Prevention of Torture

Female Imprisonment in Scotland - Survey 2013

The prisoner survey gives us insight  into the lives of various prisoner groups based on data gathered through a prison census.

Some key findings in relation to females in Scottish prisons include:

The average age of a female in prison in Scotland is 33 years.
15% were on remand and 85% were convicted.
30% of women were in care as a child
High numbers of people in prison made access to medical services and jobs in prison more difficult.
50% of women reported being drunk at the time of their offence
28% of women reported that drinking had affected their ability to maintain a job 

Read more here: Prisoner Survey 2013 - Female Offenders









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