HM Inspectorate of Prisons - HMP Glenochil Inspection: 7-8 September 2004

Prison - Return Visit Inspection Report



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1.1 The visit to HMP Glenochil was made as part of a programme to visit every prison each year in which a full inspection is not being made. In the course of such visits the purpose is to follow up points of note from previous inspections, to examine any significant changes, and to explore issues arising from the establishment's own assessment of itself. It should not be seen as an attempt to inspect the whole life of the establishment.

2. The Inspection Team comprised:

Andrew McLellan HMCIP
Rod MacCowan HMDCIP
David McAllister HMACIP
David Abernethy Inspector

Andrew R C McLellan signature
30 September 2004


The outstanding new development at Glenochil is the building of the new House Block. This is the first step in a very large building project at Glenochil. Since the last inspection the buildings which once housed the Young Offenders Institution have been demolished. The house block being built on the site will have 252 cells; it is planned by SPS to be ready for occupation in the summer of 2005. At the same time a new Segregation Unit is to be built. At the time of the inspection rapid progress was being made on the house-block and work had just begun on the Segregation Unit. Members of the Inspectorate were able to make an on-site visit. It appears that the security and management issues arising from such a large building project are being dealt with satisfactorily. Staff recognise the importance of new investment in Glenochil; and staff and prisoners recognise that the new house-block will provide good living conditions for prisoners and good working conditions for staff.

The report of the full inspection in 2003 was a positive one. It identified much in the report which is encouraging. The response of Glenochil to matters raised in that report has been very good. This report shows that nearly every matter which the prison could have resolved has been resolved. This represents both the seriousness with which the prison has taken the previous report; and the hard work which has produced the outcomes.

However, two matters remain. Glenochil has tried hard to deal with the disgusting habit which some prisoners have of throwing bodily waste and other litter into the exercise yards. This practice, which occurs at least on a daily basis, is unclean, unhealthy and demeaning. It makes life very unpleasant for those who have to live and work near the exercise yards, and for those prisoners who have the unhappy job of trying to keep the exercise yards clean. Management and staff take the issue seriously, and are trying to address it in sensible ways. These include the involvement of prisoners in planning; and the inclusion of the planning in a larger environmental scheme for a more green prison. The strategy is a reasonable and careful one: but the exercise yards are still not clean.

The other matter is to do with prisoners moving on from Glenochil to less secure conditions as part of their preparation for release once they have completed a significant part of their sentence and have been assessed as low risks to public safety. The Report of 2003 said The preparation of these prisoners for release is important both for the sake of the public and for the sake of the prisoners themselves. It is not good for anyone that they should not be able to progress from Glenochil when they have reached the appropriate time in their sentence. This report shows that the statistics are worse now than when last year's report was written. One reason behind the increased number of prisoners in Glenochil who have completed the requirements for a move to "top-end" 1 or to open conditions 2 is that the rules which determine at what stage of a sentence a prisoner becomes eligible for such a move have been relaxed, so more prisoners are eligible. The other is that there are not enough spaces available. There is nothing that can be done at Glenochil to find spaces in other prisons if these spaces are not there. The announcement that new spaces are to be created at Castle Huntly will have an impact on these figures; but these spaces will not be available for some time. Meanwhile prisoners will continue to be released into the community straight from Glenochil, without any of the benefits which preparation for release in top-end or open conditions might offer. This is because of the number of prisoners already in these other prisons. So, although there is no overcrowding at Glenochil, this prison and its prisoners suffer as a result of the overcrowding throughout the whole Scottish prison estate.


Three recommendations were made in last year's full inspection report: two for SPS HQ and one for the Governor. The SPS felt that the arrangements in place were satisfactory. The recommendation for the Governor had not been achieved although major efforts had been made to address it.

Thirty one Points of Note were made. Progress as follows:



Partly Achieved




Not Achieved


Prison considered current arrangements to be satisfactory


No longer relevant




10.1 Clear guidelines for the personal officer role should be issued by SPS (paragraph 5.22).

SPS Response

The personal officer's role in Sentence Management is clearly laid out in the Sentence Management manual para 2.6,7 pages 10 and 11. Given the developments in 2004/05 regarding the Core Screen and pre-release work, further national training is being considered to supplement the personal officer training which is currently provided in establishments.

10.2 The operation of the Sentence Management Scheme nationally should be reviewed (paragraph 5.22).

SPS Response

The 2003/04 audit of Sentence Management across the estate showed good compliance and accuracy of the risk and needs assessments, but significant lack of compliance with the completion of Action Plans which are the responsibility of the personal officer.

For Governor in Charge

10.3 Ways must be found to stop the practice of throwing bodily waste out of the windows (paragraph 2.8).

Ongoing. However, the practice of throwing bodily waste out of cell windows continues. The prison has commissioned a major piece of work to look at ways of stopping this practice and there has been much activity and a project plan drawn up to tackle the matter. Outside cleaning has increased and improved. A major re-cycling initiative has started and prisoners are now involved in a committee to increase awareness and seek solutions. The prison takes the issue seriously.


11.1 The arrangements for, and operation of, the Orderly Room should be reviewed (paragraph 3.9).

Partly achieved. The layout of the Orderly Room has been changed and staff now position themselves behind the prisoner. The room itself remains inadequate. A new Segregation Unit is being built and will incorporate an Orderly Room. This is planned to open by the time of the next inspection and no temporary alternative arrangements will be made.

11.2 Consideration of having in place a back up contingency during night duty should be considered (paragraph 3.14).

The establishment considers the current arrangements to be satisfactory.

11.3 Consideration should be given to extending weekend Mandatory Drug Testing (paragraph 4.9).

Not achieved. In two sample periods checked for May and July 2004 the prison tested only 10 of 186 prisoners and 8 of 152 respectively at the weekend. This falls below the SPS target of 10% of tests at weekends.

11.4 The local addictions strategy needs to be updated (paragraph 4.12).

Achieved. A comprehensive new strategy was devised in conjunction with Forth Valley NHS Trust. It includes both SPS guidance and best practice from the community. Evidence of the application of the strategy will be examined during the next inspection.

11.5 The reasons for the limited movement of prisoners to National Top Ends should be examined (paragraph 5.3).

Not achieved. This situation is even worse now than a year ago. There are currently 68 prisoners on the waiting list.

11.6 The reasons for prisoners awaiting onward movement to Friarton should be examined (paragraph 5.4).

Achieved. SPS indicate that the examination has been completed. However, the introduction of the PSS Management Rule has resulted in many more prisoners becoming eligible for transfer to Friarton at an earlier stage. This has resulted in the waiting list getting even longer.

11.7 Immediate consideration needs to be given to providing a communal waiting area, and an interview area which provides a reasonable level of privacy and confidentiality in Reception (paragraphs 5.7 and 6.5).

Achieved. Consideration has been given to this. There has been no change.

11.8 Information for non-English speaking prisoners should be available in Reception (paragraphs 5.8 and 7.50).

Achieved. A notice is now on display in a variety of languages. A contact number for "Language Lines" is also on display.

11.9 The display of football memorabilia in Reception should be removed (paragraph 5.10).

Achieved. These items have been removed.

11.10 The Induction Programme should ensure that it meets the individual needs of prisoners (paragraph 5.16).

Achieved. A new Induction Programme based on the SPS national model has been in place since April. This adopts a two tier approach with a shorter version available for those familiar with Glenochil (e.g. those re-called, downgraded or having recently served a sentence at Glenochil). All prisoners have a one-to-one induction in 'D' Hall, usually within 24 hours, and everyone completes day one of the Induction Programme which includes an assessment for access to PE.

11.11 The Sentence Management Strategy Group should consider conducting an audit of the process to ensure backlogs do not occur (paragraph 5.18).

Achieved. A full review has been carried out. Liaison managers have been appointed in each hall to ensure that the 24 trained Risk and Needs Assessment Staff complete an average of two initial or annual RNAs per month. The backlog has been reduced from 130 to 8, and now tends to be prisoners transferring from local prisons where the Performance Contract does not require Sentence Management to be initiated with long-term prisoners.

11.12 The absence of provision for hand washing and drying in the prisoner's toilet in the Health Centre should be addressed (paragraph 6.3).

Achieved. Soap dispensers and paper towels are now in place in both prisoner toilet areas.

11.13 The adjacent location of the "clean" and "dirty" sinks in the Treatment Room and the use of this room for purposes other than treatments should be addressed (paragraph 6.3).

Achieved. A partition separates the two sinks which are clearly marked and identifiable. The room is now used only for treatments.

11.14 The shared use of the Treatment Room when treating and/or consulting with patients should stop (paragraph 6.4).

Achieved. This has stopped.

11.15 The lack of privacy afforded by the clear glass in the window of the bathroom in the ACT suite should be addressed (paragraph 6.5).

Achieved. A frosted glass window has been fitted.

11.16 A functional examination light should be installed in the Health Centre (paragraph 6.6).


11.17 Consideration should be given to reviewing and improving the request form system for non urgent medical problems to ensure that all prisoners can understand it (paragraph 6.14).

Achieved. Some changes have been made to the form and prisoners spoken to indicated that it was clear and easy to understand.

11.18 A review should take place of the location and provision of the Medical Emergency Equipment bags (paragraph 6.18).

The review has taken place and Health Care staff consider the location of the bags in the Health Centre and satellite surgery to be appropriate.

11.19 The concern which prisoners have about the reason for medication decisions should be examined (paragraph 6.21).

Achieved. When medication is changed, a form is completed outlining the changes. One copy is kept in the prisoner's medical record and a second copy is given to the prisoner.

11.20 Until the introduction of the new telephone system, appropriate staff and management practice with regard to prisoners contacting the Listeners should be addressed (paragraph 6.35).

Achieved. No issues regarding privacy are outstanding. Listeners have a growing role within the prison, at induction and in ACT strategy meetings. All prisoners should be seen by a Listener within 24 hours of admission.

11.21 Management should implement the new SPS policy on prisoner pay awards as soon as possible (paragraph 7.5).

Achieved. The system has been introduced and allows payment for prisoners attending Education. There has been an increase from zero to six prisoners attending Education on a full time basis.

11.22 The prison should continue to develop a more holistic approach to delivering the full range of prisoner learning activities and ensure that the role of formal education is valued and promoted more actively (paragraph 7.8).

Ongoing. A range of measures has been introduced, and a Learning Skills Working Party is reviewing this whole area. The range of courses provided is being examined with a view to extending and changing as required. Information on educational progress is now included in Sentence Management Reviews. A system is in place to follow up reasons for non attendance at classes. A prisoner forum is advertised in the halls, Links Centre and Learning Centre. A questionnaire is issued twice a year to prisoners asking for views. An open day including promotional material is being arranged by Lauder College. A full-time administrator has been appointed.

11.23 The range of books and computer software in the library should be extended (paragraph 7.10).

Achieved. However, the ongoing problem of prisoners being able to access the Library to choose material, rather than choosing from a list, remains unresolved. Options are being considered, including opening the library at weekends.

11.24 Management should improve its procedures for providing resources to meet the informational, cultural, educational and recreation needs of the prisoner population (paragraph 7.11).

Ongoing. The range of materials available in the library has been increased and options for access to the library are being considered including opening it at weekends.

11.25 Management should review current work programmes to ensure that they are relevant to prisoners' future employment prospects (paragraph 7.14).

Ongoing. An Induction and Employability Working Group is considering the range and type of activities offered to prisoners. A review has been commissioned to reassess the establishment's work and employability provision in light of prisoners' assessed needs and the needs of the external labour market.

11.26 Further thought should be given to how the prison might make best use of visits spaces (paragraph 7.20).

Not achieved. The trend of available spaces exceeding bookings and bookings exceeding actual uptake continues. Only 30% of available visit spaces actually become visits.

11.27 Ways should be sought to afford greater privacy in the visits room (paragraph 7.24).

Not achieved. No significant change to the visit room.

11.28 The confusion surrounding the number of contracted Chaplaincy hours should be cleared up (paragraph 7.43).

Achieved. Now that contractual arrangements have been clarified and consolidated, the case for the appointment of a full-time chaplain is being considered. The chaplains have presented an impressive argument for such an appointment.

11.29 The current system where prisoners on protection cannot attend joint worship should be reviewed (paragraph 7.45).

There are now no prisoners on protection in Glenochil.

11.30 The appointment of a Roman Catholic Priest should be considered (paragraph 7.46).

Achieved. One has been appointed.

11.31 Clarification of the contracts for individual Chaplains should be addressed (paragraph 7.46).

Achieved. Chaplains' contracts have been agreed nationally.



4.1 Work has started on the construction of a new 252 cell houseblock similar to Hermiston House at HMP Edinburgh. This will allow 'A', 'B' and 'C' Halls to be demolished: halls which are now ageing. The new houseblock is planned to be ready for occupation in the summer of 2005. Approval has been given for the construction of a 14 cell Segregation Unit similar to that at HMP Edinburgh. This should be ready for occupation in the summer of 2005. Approval has been given for the construction of a new staff/visits complex, a new car park and a new security fence around the industrial area. The existing administration area is likely to be renovated.

4.2 These estate developments mean that SPS do not plan to upgrade existing facilities such as Reception and Visits.

Protection Prisoners

4.3 Following a direction from SPS HQ, all protection prisoners have been transferred from Glenochil to other Scottish prisons. The spaces have been filled with mainstream long-term prisoners.


4.4 The Social Work Department has set up a pilot project to ensure that the requirements outlined in National Circular 12/2002 "Provision for Long Term Prisoners and Prisoners subject to Supervised Release Orders" are being met. All prisoner's details have been communicated to their local Social Work Criminal Justice Teams and an identified supervising officer requested. This is to help facilitate an annual case conference for each prisoner ensuring that community based and prison related issues are shared in order to improve Sentence Management. HMIP will follow the progress of this very welcome initiative.

1. A "top-end" is a hall where long-term prisoners move as part of their Sentence Management to help prepare them for release. In a top-end, a prisoner qualifies for Special Escorted Leave and work placements in the community. There are currently three top-ends: Chrisswell House in HMP Greenock, Pentland Hall in HMP Edinburgh and Friarton Hall in HMP Perth.

2. Open conditions refers to a transfer to the Open Estate where further preparation for release takes place. This includes access to unescorted Home Leave. Prisoners are classed as low supervision. There are currently two establishments in the Open Estate: HMP Castle Huntly and HMP Noranside.