HMIPS - Return to programme of full prison inspections

As one of the 21 bodies that comprise the UK’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) has a duty to regularly monitor the treatment of detainees and the conditions in which they are held.

In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, HMIPS developed an adapted scrutiny methodology to repurpose our scrutiny role during COVID-19 whilst recognising the challenges the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), prisoner transport and Court Custody Units (CCUs) were facing. 

Since May 2020, HMIPS have been undertaking short one day/two day prison liaison visits under this adapted scrutiny methodology.   To date, liaison visits have now been undertaken at all Scottish prison establishments. 

Our intention is to resume full inspections of prisons from October 2021 and currently plan to inspect as follows:

  1. HMP Kilmarnock – 18‑29 October 2021.
  2. HMP Low Moss – 31 January‑11 February 2022.
  3. HMP Shotts – 9‑20 May 2022.

This set of inspections will complete the last round of full inspections planned before COVID-19 led us to adjust our methodology.  Our programme of further prison inspections for 2022-23 will be determined in due course.

Our prison inspections will be undertaken against HMIPS’s set of pre‑defined Standards as set out in the HMIPS document Standards for Inspecting and Monitoring Prisons in Scotland.  We will be accompanied by guest inspectors from each of our partner agencies which include the Scottish Prison Service, Education Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, and the Care Inspectorate.  We will invite the Scottish Human Rights Commission to join these inspections where they feel able to do so.

Following each of the above inspections we will publish a report on our findings.

Planning for our Court Custody Unit inspections and Thematic Reviews are underway and we will update you in due course on those.