HMIPS Full Inspection of HMP & YOI Polmont

On 14 December 2023, a full inspection report of HMP & YOI Polmont was published by HMIPS. It showed significant improvements in comparison with its previous inspection report, however, concerns remained in a number of areas e.g. lack of outdoor exercise provision; the continued use of routine body-searching of women; and issues around the understanding and implementation of progression. Interestingly, it mooted the possibility of under-utilised capacity being re-purposed to accommodate men from other overcrowded establishments.

HMIPS Full Inspection of HMP Perth

On 05 October 2023, HMIPS published its full inspection of HMP Perth. Yet again serious concerns were raised including overcrowding; cell-sizes which don’t meet Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee agreed standards and the poor condition of the buildings. The pre-inspection report’s findings didn’t always chime with the findings of the main inspection, however, it did contain some worrying findings: 57% of respondents reported having witnessed staff members abusing, threatening, bullying or assaulting another prisoner and 36% reported                      experiencing this themselves; whilst of those who were due for release in the next 6 weeks, 56% said that they did not feel well prepared for a life outside prison; 73% of them also said that they were not getting the help they need to set up support for their mental health upon their release.

HMIPS Annual Report 2022-23

On 13 September 2023, HMIPS published its Annual Report 2022-23. It included frustration at the need for oft-repeated concerns around over-crowding; the poor condition of the prison estate; deaths in custody; staffing levels impacting the daily regime; and lack of access to healthcare, especially mental health support. It also noted that “despite lifting of restrictions Scottish prisons have not as yet managed to return to pre-pandemic activity levels”. It referenced a new inspection framework for the women's community custody units (CCUs), although no other details appear to be available on this.

HMIPS Thematic Review of Segregation in Scottish Prisons

On 21 July 2023 HMIPS published its Thematic Review of Segregation in Scottish Prisons. It was a highly critical report, highlighting a raft of concerns at an individual and systemic level, with some very troubling findings including serious prisoner mistreatment at an unnamed prison. It also covered the issue of a lack of high secure beds for women in Scotland, linking it to the Independent Forensic Mental Health Review’s strong recommendation that this be actioned within 9 months of its 2021 report. SPICe (Scottish Parliament Information Centre) also published a briefing paper on Forensic Mental Health Services in Scotland, reiterating similar points.



HMP Greenock Full Inspection Report

On 14 July 2023 HMIPS published its full inspection report of HMP Greenock. Whilst it praised the leadership and management of the prison, highlighting what it described as “excellent staff-prisoner relationships” it did not shy away from serious criticism of the appalling state of the building which dates from the early 1900s. There are no plans as yet to replace it, with new issues arising re the previously confirmed rebuilding of HMP Barlinnie and HMP Inverness in terms of costs and timings.





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