Joint Review of Diversion From Prosecution

On 21 February 2023 a ‘Joint Review of Diversion from Prosecution’ was published by the Care Inspectorate; HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland; HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland; and HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland, which made 34 recommendations.

'Still Nothing to See Here' Follow Up Report

On 30 November 2022 a follow up report (‘Still Nothing To See Here’) from the University of Glasgow on Deaths in Custody and Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAIs) was published. It found that there were more deaths in Scottish prisons over the past 3 years than in any other 3 year period on record; that the chance of dying in prison in 2022 was twice that of someone who was in prison in 2008; and that there had been a 42% rise in suicides since SPS’ suicide prevention policy (TTM) was introduced.

It was followed on 14 December 2022 by a follow up report to the Independent Review of the Response to Deaths in Prison Custody: Progress Report, published by the Scottish     Government.

Scottish Parliament Pre-Budget Scrutiny

During November 2022, the Scottish Parliament Criminal Justice Committee took evidence on prison budgets as part of its Pre-Budget Scrutiny work. The proposal was that SPS should receive a flat cash budget for the next 4 years. The response to this was (unsurprisingly) negative. As just one example, Teresa Medhurst, SPS Chief Executive, stated that “there is no or at most, very limited, opportunity to the scaling back of our operations without significant risk to health and  welfare support, reputational damage, the loss of services and the risk to operational stability across the estate.” A corresponding scrutiny report was published by the Criminal Justice Committee on 9 December 2022.

HMIPS Annual Report 2021-2022

On 11 November 2022 HMIPS published its Annual Report 2021-2022 in which it described Scotland’s prisons during the pandemic as “places of containment, rather than          rehabilitation”, questioning the equivalence of healthcare in and outside prisons, and yet again, drawing attention to serious issues of remand; overcrowding; child imprisonment; barriers to progression; and the estate’s ageing infrastructure – going so far as to moot the possibility of some prisons being closed.

HMIPS Strategic Plan 2022-2025

During November His Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) published its Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 which interestingly, included a strategic objective to develop a methodology for unannounced inspections of prisons.