HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland - Resignation

Wendy Sinclair-Gieben, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS), has announced her resignation and will be stepping down from her post with effect from 31 August 2024.

Ms Sinclair-Gieben has been in post for six years and is the eighth HM Chief Inspector since the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1980 made the position statutory.

Her decision to resign after six years as Chief Inspector follows a career spanning the fields of immigration, prisons, education, prisoner transport and health.

Stephen Sandham, the current Deputy Chief Inspector, will step up to cover the post on an interim basis, until a permanent replacement is appointed following Ms Sinclair-Gieben’s departure.

Ms Sinclair-Gieben said:

“My aim during my time has been to ensure key issues such as human rights, health, safety, and welfare are at the heart of HMIPS scrutiny and providing balanced reporting of those findings.
I would like to thank my dedicated team for their excellent work which has made a lasting positive difference to the prison service, bringing a greater structure and rigour to the work of HMIPS”

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said:

“I would like to pay tribute and offer my thanks to Wendy Sinclair-Gieben for her long and dedicated career in the justice system. Her wealth of experience and deep understanding of prisons has enabled her to recognise and promote the needs of prisons and prisoners.

The independent scrutiny of prisons is an essential part of our Scottish justice system and I am grateful to Ms Sinclair-Gieben for the commitment she has shown to raising challenging issues in order to improve outcomes for prisons, prisoners and the communities we serve.”


Ms Sinclair-Gieben was educated in Edinburgh and then England. She worked as a prison governor for the HM Prison Service in England from 1998 to 2006. From 2006 to 2009 she was Prison Director for HMP Kilmarnock, before becoming a Director with Serco in Australia, including at the Wanadoo Reintegration Facility for young men in Perth, Western Australia.

Recruitment for His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland is conducted by the Scottish Government.