Focus on families in new prison inspection regime

Written by Alan Robertson on 12 March 2015 in News

Next week's inspection of Glenochil Prison first to use new inspection standards

Scottish jails are to face fresh scrutiny over efforts to work with prisoners’ families as part of new inspection standards unveiled today. 

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, David Strang, this morning launched new standards for the inspection and monitoring of prisons across the country.

The standards, which set out what is expected of Scotland’s 15 establishments, cover areas including ‘health and wellbeing’, ‘purposeful activity’ and ‘effective, courteous and humane exercise of authority’.

An inspection of Glenochil Prison that is set to get under way next week will be the first to use the new standards, which were last revised nine years ago.

Strang said the changes, which will incorporate a framework for monitoring following the decision to abolish visiting committees, would ensure a “much clearer statement of what is expected of a well-run prison”.

“There are two particular emphases,” he told Holyrood. “One is that prisoners themselves are involved in decisions about themselves so the sort of activities that they might do [and being] involved in their case management. 

“And secondly the whole area about preparation for release because what all of us want when someone serves a prison sentence is that when they leave they reintegrate back into society and don’t return to offending. 

“There’s an expectation that the prison will do what they can to ensure that there are proper links and arrangements with agencies outside to support the prisoner when they leave.

“There’s a much bigger emphasis on involving families because I think the evidence shows that there is real value in maintaining positive family links for the prisoner and that helps reintegration back into society.”

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