HM Inspectorate of Prisons: Report on HMP Perth

Prison - Full Inspection Report

Executive Summary

Full Inspection
14-18 December 2009

ISBN 978 0 7559 7764 2

This document is also available in pdf format (372k)


Covering Letter

Key Facts










Good Practice

Action Points

Annex 1 Sources of Evidence

Annex 2 Inspection Team

Covering Letter

The Scottish Ministers

In accordance with my terms of reference as Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, I forward a report of a full inspection carried out at HMP Perth between 14-18 December 2009.

Six recommendations and a number of other points for action are made. The report highlights nineteen areas of good practice.

Signature of HUGH MONRO HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
5 February 2010



Perth is located approximately one mile south of Perth City Centre on the A912 Edinburgh to Inverness Road. Friarton hall, which is part of HMP Perth is located by the Friarton Bridge approximately one mile from the main prison.


Perth is the local prison for Tayside and most of Fife. It houses remand, short-term and long-term prisoners. Friarton hall provides a national 'top-end' facility for low supervision young offenders who progress from HMYOI Polmont.


The prison was built between 1840 and 1859 and is Scotland's oldest occupied prison. In its 168 year history it has housed all categories of prisoners. The prison merged with HMP Friarton in 1999 and Friarton is currently a hall of the main prison. There was very little refurbishment or improvement made to the prison until 1996 when 'D' hall was closed for a complete upgrade. Since 1996 the prison has been in a constant state of upgrade. The most recent refurbishment has been carried out in three stages over the last five years and at the time of this inspection was nearing completion.

Design Capacity


Population on First Day of Inspection



Perth has four halls: 'A', 'B' and 'C' in the main prison, and Friarton hall which is situated one mile south of the main complex. 'A', 'B' and 'C' halls have in cell sanitation and are well designed. Friarton has shared toilet facilities. All halls meet the basic needs of prisoners.

Last Inspected

Follow up inspection

December 2006

Full inspection

October 2005


1.1 Perth prison has been undergoing a major rebuild over the last five years. At the time of the inspection major construction was still underway. Management and staff have coped exceptionally well with running the prison during this period of reconstruction.

1.2 This full inspection also included an inspection of nearby Friarton hall, a "top end" establishment for young offenders who have progressed through HMYOI Polmont. Friarton hall is, however, part of Perth. A full inspection of Friarton was carried out in November 2008 as part of an inspection of young offenders in adult establishments. The majority of the findings in this current report relate to Perth prison, although there are important aspects about Friarton which are included.

1.3 The overall inspection of Perth concludes that it is a very well led and managed prison. There is consequently a distinct feeling of "unity of effort" from the most senior to most junior members of staff. The effect of this on the prisoners appears to be very positive; the staff/prisoner relationship in Perth is particularly good ( chapter 4).

1.4 Perth has many examples of 'good practice' and these are listed at chapter 10. I also highlight good living conditions; excellent visit facilities, including the Visitor Centre and contacts with family and friends; good opportunities to participate in education and work; and excellent healthcare facilities. Everyone is focused on trying to help prisoners and meet their needs.

1.5 There are, of course, areas for improvement. The number of prisoners testing positive for illegal substances on liberation seems high. The First Night Centre, although a good start, needs to reach its full potential (paragraph 3.28). Food, at the point of serving could be improved (paragraph 2.28); the laundry should be improved (paragraphs 2.36 and 2.37); and more information should be available to non-English speaking prisoners (paragraph 4.19). Prisoners leaving the prison early to go to court do not always receive a proper breakfast, do not have the opportunity to shower, and do not always receive prescribed medication. Prisoners returning late from court should have a hot meal on return (paragraph 3.10). The conditions in Perth Sheriff Court and Dundee Sheriff Court are poor.

1.6 I have some reservations about Friarton hall. It seemed to me that the positive effects of strong leadership, so evident in the main prison, were less obvious at Friarton with the result that we found a less well managed unit (paragraph 2.16). This may have been due to the air of uncertainty surrounding the future of the hall.

1.7 Friarton is also not producing sufficiently good results to attract more young offenders from Polmont; it may be that the criteria for progress are too challenging. A number of the prisoners felt that going to Friarton was a backward step from Polmont, and that may be why it was less than half full. There is also insufficient gainful employment. Friarton is dirty, unkempt and run down. It needs to be completely refurbished. On the other hand I was impressed by the standard of the external work placements available to some of the young offenders.

1.8 Overall, this is a positive report and I have been impressed by so many areas of good practice, particularly given all of the disruption caused by the building works. Conditions have improved significantly in Perth since the 2005 full inspection.



Prisoners are held in conditions that provide the basic necessities of life and health, including adequate air, light, water, exercise in the fresh air, food, bedding and clothing.

2.1 The basic necessities are met. The three halls in the main prison are very clean and excellent arrangements are in place for exercise; changing bedding; and laundering clothes. The food is very good in Friarton, but the hall is very dirty and in need of refurbishment.


2.2 Perth is the local prison for Tayside and most of Fife. It houses remand, short-term and long-term male prisoners. Friarton hall provides a national "top end" facility for low supervision young offenders on transfer from Polmont.

2.3 The prison has a design capacity of 722. On the 4 th December 2009 it held 645 prisoners. This figure comprised 123 untried adults, 12 untried young remands, 466 convicted adults and 44 young offenders. The low occupancy stems mainly from low numbers of young offenders in Friarton (which was holding less than half of its capacity), which in turn was creating uncertainty about the future of that hall.

Accommodation Areas

2.4 The establishment has been in the process of being redeveloped over the last five years. Most of the halls have been refurbished. It is currently undergoing phase three of this programme which includes estates, stores, a new entrance, visits and staff facilities, admission services and a Human Resource Suite.

2.5 Perth has four residential halls and a segregation unit.

'A' Hall

2.6 'A' Hall has been divided into two distinct parts: with the two upper floors being completely separate from the bottom two. There are 73 cells which can hold two prisoners, one cell for disabled prisoners and one cell for prisoners at risk of self-harm. Adult prisoners on protection are held on levels 3 and 4 with young and adult remands on levels 1 and 2. Part of level 2 provides a First Night in Custody Centre which can deal with up to 22 prisoners (see paragraphs 3.25 to 3.29 for details). The high risk and disabled cells are located on level 1.

2.7 Prisoners requesting protection go to 'B' hall for a 72 hour assessment period and only when it is considered appropriate are they allocated to 'A' hall level 3 or 4. This process identifies prisoners who are genuinely in need of protection and also identifies appropriate accommodation for those who are unsuitable but see protection as their favoured option. This 72 hour assessment period is an area of good practice.

2.8 The standard of accommodation in 'A' Hall is acceptable. It is very clean, and there is no graffiti or litter. Some of the furniture is in a poor condition, although a local refurbishment programme is underway. To date 17 cells have been painted and fitted with new furniture. All cells have toilets and electric power. Recreation equipment is sparse and in poor condition. Facilities for recreation should be improved.

2.9 Cell windows offer adequate ventilation. Mattresses and bedding are in a good condition and the laundry provides a good service. Not all prisoners have access to a chair within their cells. There are eight telephones and all have notices explaining that calls will be recorded. Two of the telephones have no privacy hoods.

2.10 The hall has two serveries which are in a reasonable condition and are kept clean. However, the design of the hall means that prisoners are not able to dine in association.

'B' Hall

2.11 'B' Hall has 60 cells which can hold one prisoner and 73 cells for two prisoners. The single cell capacity includes four anti-ligature cells, none of which were occupied at the time of the inspection. The hall holds mainly short-term and untried adults.

2.12 The standard of accommodation in 'B' hall is good, and it is clear that maintaining the high standards of living conditions is important for the prisoners living there. All cells have a toilet and electric power, and good access to natural light and ventilation. The hall and cells are all very clean and there is no graffiti. One cell has recently been completely renovated, and is being used to set the minimum standard for the hall. However, not all prisoners have access to a chair within the double cells, which can be cramped. Recreation facilities are basic and should be improved. Each floor has six showers which are maintained to a high standard. Access to clean clothing, towels and bed linen is very good.

'C' Hall

2.13 'C' hall is a new build accommodation block. The hall is designed to hold 365 prisoners, with a contingency of 20 bunk beds if required. It is disturbing to note that a number of cells in the new accommodation which have specifically and deliberately been designed to hold one prisoner, have had bunk beds installed in order to hold two prisoners. We consider this to be a retrograde step and have serious concerns that the consequent size of the available living space, discounting the toilet area, falls below an acceptable minimum standard for two occupants. The hall holds convicted prisoners on four floors. The accommodation includes two buddy cells, two safer cells and two cells for disabled prisoners. Cells are of a high standard, with a toilet and electric power. The standard of furniture, bedding and mattresses is good. Showers are available on all floors. There are two food serveries on each floor and central seating to enable prisoners to dine in association. This is well used. There are six telephones on each floor, one of which is lower for prisoners with a disability. All have hoods and notices. Recreation facilities are basic.

2.14 The hall is very clean and tidy with the exception of the anti-ligature cells. When the anti-ligature cells are vacated they should be cleaned as a matter of course.

Friarton Hall

2.15 Friarton hall is located approximately one mile from the main establishment and currently houses young offenders who have a low supervision level. It is considered to be a 'top end' for young offenders. Although Friarton is a hall of Perth prison, it is self-sufficient from the main prison and has its own workshops, visit room, gym and education unit. At the time of inspection there were 44 young offenders being held: less than 50% of the hall's capacity. The hall has two wings with a design capacity of 89: 19 cells for one prisoner and 35 cells for two.

2.16 All cells have adequate furnishings and electric power. However, the cells are drab and double cells are cramped. Some young offenders described cell accommodation as damp. Cells do not have toilets although there is ready access to communal facilities including ablutions and showers. Young offenders described the showers as "appalling". The observation panels on most of the cell doors were covered up : these observation panels should be kept clear at all times. There are two telephones in each wing. At the time of inspection some of the display screens were so damaged that prisoners could not see how much credit they had left. There is no access to the telephones outwith unlock periods. Recreation takes place in the dining room and in the wings. There was little evidence of any imaginative thinking with regards to stimulating the young offenders during recreation apart from a quiz organised by a manager during the weekend afternoons. Young offenders said that the facilities for recreation at Polmont were much better. Young offenders have access to the gym most weekday evenings. The small library, although accessed, should be improved.

2.17 Friarton hall had had an infestation of vermin just before the inspection and the smell of disinfectant fluid was still evident. Despite, this infestation, the standard of overall cleanliness throughout the hall was poor and fell far short of the high standards in the main establishment. Young offenders employed to clean the communal areas did not have any formal industrial cleaning training and on the day of inspection no-one was cleaning even though it was only halfway through the working period. The dining hall was very dirty and does not provide a good facility for recreation. There was food debris on the pool table, and it was obvious that YOs had been smoking in the dining hall. Deposits of food were on the wall and floor. During the serving of a meal it was noticed that several of the plates were not clean or dry.

2.18 The visit room is well appointed and provides a relaxed family friendly facility.

2.19 Very few young offenders were employed in the workshops, even though staff reported a healthy order book. During one visit late in the morning staff were congregating in offices and a significant number on YOs were lying in bed. Staff supervision seemed to be inadequate and there was little evidence of management monitoring. It is recommended that young offenders in Friarton hall are more gainfully employed.

2.20 There is some uncertainty amongst staff and prisoners about the future use of Friarton hall and this appears to be having a detrimental effect on the regime and relationships between staff and prisoners.

2.21 The standards in Friarton hall have deteriorated significantly since the Inspectorate carried out its inspection of young offenders in adult establishments in November 2008. The conditions in which young offenders are living are not sufficiently good. It is recommended that Friarton hall is completely refurbished.

Segregation Unit

2.22 The segregation unit is a modern design with fourteen ordinary cells, one silent cell and one safer cell. At the time of the inspection there were nine prisoners being held there. All cells have fixed furniture and a bed. Each cell has electric power and a toilet, although the toilets are not enclosed, despite prisoners eating their meals in their cells. Toilets should be enclosed. There are hand washing facilities.

2.23 The regime meets the basic requirements of time in the fresh air, a daily shower and access to a small fitness room. Prisoners who wish to do so can request reading material from the prison library. Some prisoners, depending on the decision of the case conference, may have access to in-cell television

Exercise Areas

2.24 Prisoners in 'A', 'B' and 'C' halls have appropriate access to good sized, safe exercise areas. However, jackets are not available for use in bad weather conditions.

2.25 Prisoners in Friarton hall have access to an astro-turf area. Jackets are not available for use in bad weather conditions.


2.26 The kitchen is clean and all staff and prisoners wear appropriate clothing. There is a limited number of SVQs available. Food hygiene related courses are also available, and residential staff have undertaken this course to allow them to supervise the serveries in the halls.

2.27 The arrangements for the preparation of food are acceptable and the quality of the food is reasonable at the point of cooking. However, it deteriorates when it is transported to the halls. Food is often cold by the time the last prisoner has had his meal. The method of transporting food from the kitchen to the halls should be improved. Prisoners in 'C' hall, and in Friarton hall can dine in association. Prisoners in 'A' and 'B' halls eat in their cells.

2.28 There is a three week rolling menu in place and all prisoners, including remand prisoners, can make their choice in advance. The menu caters for all dietary and faith requirements. Healthy, vegetarian and Halal choices are highlighted on the menus. A choice of fruit is available with each evening meal and prisoners can choose to have vegetables as part of every meal. This is an area of good practice . The kitchen produces menus in the two most common foreign languages in the prison. This is an area of good practice.

2.29 Lunch is served at around 11.45hrs. The evening meal is served between 16.15 and 16.45 everyday. Breakfast is served at 07.30hrs. A breakfast is also served at weekends.

2.30 The food in Friarton is served straight from the kitchen to the adjacent dining area, and is well received by young offenders.

2.31 Food focus groups are held every month. These have good prisoner representation and minutes are taken and distributed. Senior managers also regularly report about the quality of the food in the halls.

2.32 The SPS Prisoner Survey found that 60% of prisoners considered the food to be OK or better.


2.33 The arrangements for prisoners' canteen are 'bag and tag'. All prisoners have good access to the canteen. The system is computerised, stock control is maintained efficiently and any discrepancy in a prisoner's order is dealt with quickly.

2.34 The stock room itself is located in a temporary location while the establishment is being redeveloped, but it contains a good range of items. Prices are very fair. Convicted prisoners also have the opportunity to buy a range of items through sundry purchases.

Clothing and Laundry

2.35 The laundry is located on the ground floor of the regimes building. It is poorly designed and very cramped. The large number of laundry barrels being moved around the area to ensure fire exits are clear does not help. The laundry facility should be improved.

2.36 In previous years prisoners working in the laundry could achieve certification. The size of the current facility means that this is no longer viable and no qualifications have been achieved since the laundry moved to this new site, despite officers still being approved to deliver vocational qualifications. The lack of certification available in the laundry should be reviewed.

2.37 Despite the size of the laundry, systems and processes are very good and prisoners can have their clothes washed every day if they want. The process for replacing old clothing and mattresses is also well organised.



Appropriate steps are taken to ensure that individual prisoners are protected from harm by themselves and others.

3.1 The prison is safe; levels of serious violence are low; and there have been no escapes since the last inspection. The reception and induction processes are effective. The First Night Centre is adequate and the processes in place to prevent self harm are good.

Escapes, Absconds and Physical Security

3.2 There have been no escapes or absconds from the main prison since the last inspection. There is a secure wall and appropriate security measures are in place to cope with the demands placed on the prison by the ongoing construction work.

3.3 The arrangements at Friarton are suitable for low supervision prisoners. However, there have been four absconds from external work placements and three failures to return from licenced home leave in the last three years.


3.4 Prisoners regularly reported feeling safe. In 2008-09 there were 10 serious prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and 56 minor assaults.

3.5 The prison has a multi-disciplinary anti-violence strategy group which is designed to achieve a reduction in violence and verbal abuse by adopting a zero tolerance approach. The intelligence unit employs officers as analysts as this is considered more effective and offers more flexibility than using non uniform staff. Plans are in place to employ a Police Liaison Officer to help reduce levels of violence.

Supervision Levels

3.6 The process in place to allocate supervision levels is compliant with national standards and timescales. Prisoners have sight of, and sign, the relevant documentation relating to their supervision level, and the outcomes are recorded on PR2. A quality audit of the documentation is conducted by the Residential Unit Manager.

Escort Handover Procedures

3.7 The observed interactions between escort staff and prisoners were appropriate at all times. All escort vehicles inspected had water, food and first aid kits on board. However, the inside of some vehicles had not been cleaned overnight.

3.8 Most prisoners spoken to at the prison and in the court cells visited said that they had not heard the safety message in the vehicle. The safety message on escort vehicles should be played prior to every journey, in a format which all prisoners can understand, and prisoners' attention should be drawn to this message.

3.9 The information contained in the Personal Escort Record ( PER) was appropriate both on leaving the prison and on return. Some PER forms indicated a long time between a prisoner completing his court processes and leaving the court for prison. Efforts should be made to ensure that prisoners are transferred from the court to the prison without delay. There are good informal exchanges of information between the reception staff and escort staff. Prison management also meet regularly with management from the escort provider which ensures that problems are addressed early and appropriately.

3.10 All prisoners spoken to prior to escort knew where they were going and how long, approximately, the journey would take. There was evidence of long journeys being broken to allow for comfort breaks. Prisoners arriving in Perth reception from court after 16.30hrs only receive a packet of sandwiches and a 'cuppa' soup. A substantial hot meal should be served to prisoners arriving from court after 16.30hrs.

3.11 Prisoners who leave on escort after 07.00hrs will receive any prescribed medication before leaving. On the rare occasion when a prisoner has to leave the prison earlier than this, medication is not provided before departure. Arrangements should be put in place to ensure that all prisoners receive prescribed medication prior to leaving the prison under escort. Prisoners leaving the prison before 07.00hrs to go to court do not get the opportunity to have a shower. This should be addressed. They receive two breakfast rolls into their rooms the night before but do not receive their breakfast milk. Prisoners on escort should have the same opportunity for breakfast as other prisoners.

Admission Procedures

3.12 The reception is a purpose built facility. When prisoners are admitted they are placed in one of two communal holding rooms. One is used for mainstream prisoners and the other for prisoners who are considered to be vulnerable. The holding rooms have approximately twenty fixed seats around the wall. There is no television to provide information about the prison and few notices on display. There were no notices in foreign languages.

3.13 There is also a secure admission holding room with no windows and no seating. This is an extremely depressing environment, with no notices and walls lined with a metal cladding. This facility is very rarely used.

3.14 A small room is available for private interviews. This has only one chair and a low table. There should be a chair each for staff and prisoners. The reception also has a medical inspection room.

3.15 Prisoners' property is stored in two rack rooms in an upper floor. Both areas have adequate storage space and the clothing store was tidy and fresh smelling. Valuable property is stored in lockable cabinets in the storage area. The packets in which valuable property is placed are not adequately sealed with the consequence that the packets can be opened, items removed, and then the packets resealed. A more secure seal for valuable property packets in reception should be introduced.

3.16 Staff identify prisoners, check property and cash and add details to the computerised prisoner records system ( PR2) at a large work station (which dominates the reception area). Opposite the work station is an area containing showers. Prisoners are not routinely offered a shower. All admission prisoners should be offered the opportunity to shower. There is a telephone for prisoners' use in reception but it does not have a hood. All telephones should offer some form of privacy.

3.17 A prisoner Listener is deployed in reception each evening. Potentially, this is a very good initiative. However, the Listener is deployed in one of the admission holding rooms where it is impossible to have a private conversation. It is however an opportunity to provide information about the Listener process. During the course of one evening the Listener left the reception before the most vulnerable prisoner was admitted. A review of Listener deployment in reception should be carried out to achieve maximum benefits.

3.18 All prisoners are held in the escort vehicles until prison staff check warrants and take possession of cash and property. Once this process is completed prisoners disembark, are identified and escorted into the reception area, and are located in one of the two main holding rooms. They are then searched.

3.19 Cash and personal property is usually opened and checked in the presence of the prisoner who then signs for a receipt. However, inspectors noted that when a prisoner took a shower staff opened the property and cash and checked it in the prisoner's absence. Property and cash should always be opened and checked in the presence of the prisoner.

3.20 Following the search the prisoner's details are added to PR2 whilst standing at the work station. During this process, staff also conduct cell sharing and suicide risk assessments as well as an assessment of a prisoner's supervision level. When the reception is busy this is not a calm environment in which to conduct a suicide risk assessment. The prisoner is in view of other prisoners in the holding rooms. Although no other prisoners are within hearing of the process prison staff carrying out their duties create a busy environment around the prisoner which some individuals may find distracting and upsetting and may detract from the effectiveness of the risk assessment.

3.21 If a prisoner is considered to be vulnerable prior to the commencement of the suicide risk assessment then the assessment takes place in a private interview room. It is recommended that suicide risk assessments during reception should be carried out in a private and calm environment.

3.22 Once a prisoner's risk assessments are completed and their details are on PR2 they are given a healthcare assessment before transferring to the hall. New admissions are provided with a 30 pence telephone credit to allow initial contact with family.

3.23 During the reception process staff interact appropriately with prisoners at all times.

First Night in Custody

3.24 Perth has a First Night in Custody Centre ( FNIC) located on the second floor of 'A' hall. The FNIC area is separated from the rest of the floor by a grille gate. There are 11 rooms providing accommodation for up to 22 prisoners. Each room has a clean bed pack containing a pillow slip, sheets and duvet cover ready for the new occupant. There is also a pack with tea bags, sugar etc. Toothpaste and a toothbrush are not available in the room for new admissions. Such toiletries and a razor are issued the following day. Toothpaste and a toothbrush should be available in each room in the First Night in Custody Centre as part of the admission pack.

3.25 A folder containing first night information is available in English in each room. There is no provision for non-English speakers or for those who have difficulty reading. Information in the First Night in Custody Centre should be available for non-English speaking prisoners, and prisoners who have difficulty reading.

3.26 On entry to the FNIC a prisoner is allocated a room and made aware of the first night folder. On the day following admission prisoners are seen by a member of the chaplaincy team and attend the health centre. They are then re-located to their hall of allocation where they attend the induction programme.

3.27 Rooms in the FNIC are normally vacated by the afternoon and a team of prisoners clean the rooms and put in new bedding and admission packs. The other half of the floor where the FNIC is located is occupied by protection prisoners. This means that staff are not able to concentrate solely on new admissions. Prisoners in the FNIC are not allowed to mix with the other prisoners and this helps ensure their safety. However, this means that after admission they spend a long time locked in their rooms particularly when the other prisoners have their evening recreation. They are allowed out of their rooms for approximately one hour before the hall is locked up for the evening. This is an opportunity for staff to interact with the new prisoners but it is not carried out in a structured way.

3.28 The FNIC has great potential but at the moment it is only doing the absolute basics. The regime could be improved and risks reduced if there was a structured interview with a member of FNIC staff, during which immediate needs could be identified. A first night induction DVD played through the in cell television system in a range of languages would help ensure that important admission information is provided in a format understood by all prisoners. There are no peer tutors involved in supporting prisoners on the FNIC. Other prisons have found that peer tutors are an invaluable aid in the FNIC particularly in centres where staff are also busy with other prisoners. It is recommended that a more structured approach based on good practice in other prisons is adopted in the First Night in Custody Centre.

Induction Procedures

3.29 The 'Core Screen Assessment' is completed in the Links Centre the day after admission to the prison. Officers use a private interview room where a good quality assessment is carried out in safe surroundings. This is an area of good practice.

3.30 The induction programme itself is delivered over three days, and this seems to work well as many prisoners struggle to concentrate on the first day or so as they try to stabilise addictions issues. A translator is brought in if required for induction purposes.

3.31 There is a well-structured approach to delivering induction. Staff review the admission list and filter out those who have attended the induction less than six months before. Prisoners can still attend if they wish but applying this process means that more focus can be placed on prisoners who do need guidance. This does not affect services such as housing advice which are automatically picked up from core screen referrals.

3.32 There is no input to induction from peer tutors or senior managers. No family induction session is offered to families of newly convicted prisoners. These issues should be addressed.

3.33 There are well-produced power point presentations in plain English to explain the complexities of prison life. The same model is delivered to remand and convicted prisoners. There are comprehensive arrangements in place for foreign languages in the form of a CD and power point show with translations. This is an area of good practice.


3.34 There is an internal progression within the main prison based initially on the classification of prisoners. On admission all prisoners including protections go to the FNIC. After the first 24 hours they are allocated to another hall, usually 'B' hall. Prisoners in 'B' hall are usually moved to 'C' hall if they are serving more than four months. There is no other internal progression.

3.35 In terms of national progression, the relevant risk management processes are in place and appear to be working effectively. The Governor or Deputy Governor chairs monthly meetings to make decisions about progression to the Open Estate or a national Top End.

3.36 Prisoners at Friarton expressed some frustration about the lack of progress made by certain prisoners to work placements and the home leave scheme. On checking the process inspectors found that managers were aware of the situation and were making some changes designed to clarify and simplify this area.

3.37 Despite the complaints from Friarton the management of progression and transfer to other prisons seems to be operating effectively.

Suicide Risk Management

3.38 There has been one suicide in each of the last two calendar years, one in 2009 and one in 2008. This is a reduction on a peak of four in 2007. The monthly average of new ACT2Care cases opened in 2008-09 was 27 and in the current year the average is 23.

3.39 There is evidence that management try to learn from suicides by conducting an in-depth audit and a review of the circumstances. There is also a regular audit of paperwork and a report to monitor the process.

3.40 The prison has a total of seven safer cells. Two in 'C' hall are of the modern SPS safer design, with Wessex furniture, electric power and a bed. Neither of these cells was being used during the inspection, but they had not been properly cleaned and aired. Safer cells should be kept ready for occupation at all times. There are four safer cells in 'B' hall and one in 'A' hall. All five are of an old design with no power, and the prisoner sleeps on a mattress on a raised concrete plinth. Two of these were in use and the remainder were clean and ready for occupation. It is recommended that all safer cells should be of the modern design.

3.41 Perth has five trained listeners in the main prison and three in Friarton hall. Inspectors met with Listeners and were told that the number of calls was low. There are regular meetings with Samaritans and a member of staff on each site co-ordinates the activities. Listeners reported that staff were generally supportive of the scheme and there were no barriers to meeting a client, including during the hours of lock-up.

3.42 A review of the paperwork indicated that the prison tailors interventions to the individual needs of the prisoner. For example there is evidence of "at risk" prisoners being placed in a normal cell. There was a very good example of an immediate care plan allowing an "at risk" prisoner to be in normal accommodation and then amending the care plan when concerns arose about the deteriorating condition of the prisoner. This is an area of good practice. The paperwork showed that families are sometimes in attendance at case conferences. This is an area of good practice.

3.43 The local Suicide Risk Management Group is supposed to meet once per quarter. However the paperwork indicates that the group has only met on two occasions in 2009. The Suicide Risk Management Group should meet at least once every quarter.

3.44 Case conferences meet the minimum requirement of staff attendance and Chaplains routinely visit prisoners on ACT2Care.

3.45 Overall, ACT2Care is operating effectively, with a strong focus on keeping prisoners safe and developing care plans based on individual need.

Night Duty

3.46 Night shift instructions are readily available throughout the prison, and all officers on night duty are able to refer to information contained in the instructions. No night shift staff are first aid trained as a matter of course. At least one member of the night shift staff on duty should be first aid trained. There are sound handover protocols in place for healthcare, ACT2Care and observation of prisoners. All staff displayed a good knowledge of night shift procedures.

Staff Training

3.47 The establishment is meeting its targets for core competency training. However, although there are adequate, suitably experienced ACT2Care trainers, new nurses have been unavailable to complete this training. Arrangements should be put in place to ensure that new nurses complete ACT2Care training.

3.48 Staff attendance rotas at Perth are organised so that training can be delivered every Wednesday. This underlines the establishment's commitment to meeting training targets.

3.49 There is also a robust staff rotation policy in place. The policy statement was revised in partnership in October 2008 and includes provision for monitoring success. The staff rotation policy and practice is an area of good practice.



Prisoners are treated with respect by prison staff.

4.1 Relationships between prisoners and staff are very good, and prisoners are treated with respect at all times in the main prison. Relationships in Friarton hall do not appear to be as good.

Prisoners are treated with respect for their dignity while being escorted to and from prison, in prison and while under escort in any location.

4.2 Prisoners are very well treated by escort staff. The conditions in Perth Sheriff Court and Dundee Sheriff Court are poor.


4.3 Relationships between prison staff and prisoners are very good. First names are normally used. Prisoners are also very well treated by escort staff. Escort staff displayed good inter personal skills and consideration for the needs of prisoners.

4.4 The prisoner survey reports that 94% of prisoners said they got on OK or better with staff.

Perth Sheriff Court

4.5 Access to the court for escort vehicles does not provide a secure path to the cells area, although arrangements are in place to address this. The cells area is very small but allows for the separation of different categories of prisoners. There are only five cells so space is at a premium as up to 30 prisoners are sometimes held there. There is no natural light in the cells and they were dirty and covered in graffiti. Cells should be kept clean, and g raffiti should be removed. On the positive side, CCTV is installed in all cells.

4.6 There are two separate toilets which prisoners have to ask to use. Although there are sinks there are no soap dispensers or drying towels. Hand washing facilities should be available in holding cells.

4.7 Solicitors are able to speak to their clients in private, purpose built interview booths with glass screens. Microphones are in place to facilitate conversations. Arrangements for medical support are in place.

4.8 Drinking water is available, regular hot drinks are served throughout the day and sandwiches and crisps are available at lunchtime. Special dietary needs can be accommodated and there is usually a vegetarian and Halal choice available.

4.9 The District Court is about 100 metres from the Sheriff Court and prisoners occasionally attend this court. The facilities are good and three staff would accompany any prisoner while he is being held there. The disembarkation of prisoners to this court is difficult as the vehicle has to park on the main road, is often moved on by traffic wardens and staff have to walk handcuffed prisoners across a public path.

4.10 Prisoners are very well treated by escort staff.

Dundee Sheriff Court

4.11 The disembarkation of prisoners from vehicles to Dundee Sheriff Court is secure. The layout of the cells area allows the separation of different categories of prisoners. There are eight cells. The adjacent police cells can also be used if an individual is disruptive.

4.12 There is no natural light in the cells. They were reasonably clean but were covered in graffiti and became dirty through heavy use as the day wore on. Cells should be kept clean, and graffiti should be removed.

4.13 The toilets are in the cells area and staff are able to allow quick access when required. Separate toilets are available for male and female prisoners. None of the toilets had any hand washing facilities. Hand washing facilities should be available in the holding cells.

4.14 Solicitors are able to speak to their clients in four interview rooms. The interview rooms were clean and had very little graffiti.

4.15 Arrangements for medical support are in place and a practitioner nurse is on duty in the cells area. All escort court staff are first aid trained. This is an area of good practice.

4.16 Drinking water is available and a hot drink is served at regular intervals. Sandwiches and crisps are available at lunchtime. Special dietary needs can be met.

4.17 Prisoners are treated very well by escort staff.

Equality and Diversity

4.18 At the time of the inspection 26 Black and Ethnic Minority prisoners were being held. Inspectors found it difficult to get an accurate picture of how many were unable to speak English. On reception to the prison the telephone interpreting service is used if required.

4.19 A Race Relations Induction form is completed within the first 24 hours of admission. The Links Centre has access to a multi-language CD to assist with the induction process. There are no notices in foreign languages on display in reception and no foreign language information in the First night in Custody Centre. The learning centre offers ESOL classes for those who require it.

4.20 There have been no recent Confidential Racial Incident Reports ( CRIR) submitted, although a complaint form regarding a racial complaint was investigated by a manager from another establishment. This was handled thoroughly, although a CRIR should have been completed.

4.21 All foreign national prisoners who have no family in the UK are permitted a ten minute telephone call, at the prison's expense, once each month.

4.22 At the time of the inspection two prisoners required a wheelchair to move around the prison. There are four disabled access cells within the main prison and one in Friarton Hall. Four prisoners had an identified hearing impairment and an officer from the activities area was able to support them by sign language.

4.23 Perth is managing aspects of Equality and Diversity effectively. However, it should adopt a more focused and structured approach to Black and Ethnic Minority prisoners.


4.24 There is a robust procedure in place for searching prisoners. All searches are carried out in a respectful manner.



Good contact with family and friends is maintained.

5.1 Arrangements for maintaining contact with family and friends are very good. The Family Contact Officer arrangements are good. The visits room, although temporary, provides a very good visiting experience. A visitors centre, located in the prison car park, offers a good service to visitors.

Family Contact

5.2 The establishments does not run a dedicated Family Contact Officer scheme, but has made all staff within the visit area responsible for liaising with and helping families. Seventeen staff have undertaken Customer Focus Training, and plans are in place to extend this to others. Interaction with visitors is considered a priority and is recognised as such by visitors.

5.3 A dedicated telephone line is in place and is checked regularly to pick up any issues raised by family or friends. This is an area of good practice.


5.4 Visits are easy to book. The visits room is in a temporary location as a result of the redevelopment work. It does nevertheless provide a very good facility which meets the needs of prisoners and families. It is bright and child friendly. There is space for 18 visits to take place as well as a further four closed visit spaces. There is good disabled access and appropriate baby changing facilities.

5.5 There are four child friendly events held each year to encourage prisoners to have a greater interaction with their children. At the time of the inspection an example of this was that the establishment had purchased a number of selection boxes which fathers were given prior to a visit, to give personally to their children for a Christmas present. All visits staff are encouraged to engage with families and children. This is an area of good practice.

5.6 To assist with younger children two voluntary groups run a play scheme within the visit room. 'Muppets' run on a Thursday and a Friday whilst 'Toy Box' run on Saturday and a Sunday. Activities include art and access to a variety of toys and games.

5.7 On the day of inspection the atmosphere within the visit room was relaxed and both prisoners and families gave positive feedback about their experiences.

5.8 Father and Child visits are held on the last Sunday of each month. Access to these visits is dictated by a fairly tight set of guidelines. Access to such visits also depends on a social work check to ensure there are no child protection issues.

5.9 An innovative use of technology enables prisoners who cannot receive visits to take 'virtual visits'. The virtual visit takes place within the closed visits area via a webcam and monitor and can last up to an hour. This is an area of good practice.

5.10 The arrangements for searching visitors and prisoners are appropriate. A robust process for reviewing closed visits and banned visitors exists.


5.11 The prison has produced a comprehensive visitor information pack, although this was not widely available at the time of inspection and there were no translated versions. The visitor information pack should be automatically made available to visitors and translated versions should be readily accessible. The information within the pack covers the admission process, education opportunities, addiction services, visits, Race Relations, suicide risk management, health provision, and information regarding correspondence, money and canteen provision. There is also a list of contact numbers within the pack. There are plans to put this information onto a DVD.

5.12 Information is also available on notice boards. This covers all the relevant details relating to legislation and CCTV monitoring.

5.13 A valuable asset for the establishment in terms of information sharing is the Visitor Centre which is located in the prison car park. It is run by 'Crossreach' which is a Church of Scotland project. The centre provides a drop in for visitors and point of contact for many issues. Free hot drinks are always available. The centre has proven beneficial not only for visitors but also prisoners and staff as the centre provides a less stressful way to arrive for a visit than going straight to the prison. The support given to family members in the Visitors Centre is a very important part of improving family contact. However, there is uncertainty surrounding long-term funding for this project.


5.14 Prisoners can send as many letters as they can afford and there is no limit on the number they can receive. The procedures in place for Privileged Correspondence and Recorded Delivery Mail are robust and an appropriate audit trail is evident. There is adequate telephone provision.


5.15 The dedicated area within the temporary visit area allows for searches to be conducted appropriately and with dignity.



Prisoners' entitlements are accorded them in all circumstances without their facing difficulty.

6.1 The complaints system works well, disciplinary procedures are fair and there is good access to lawyers if required. The chaplains are well integrated in the life of the prison.

Legal Entitlements

6.2 The procedures in place to handle privileged correspondence are robust. Prisoners have adequate access to legal entitlements, and text books and human rights literature are available in the library.

Management of Disciplinary Procedures

6.3 Disciplinary hearings are held in suitable rooms in each hall. In all procedures that were observed at least one member of staff was standing for the hearing. Officers should sit down during disciplinary hearings.

6.4 At the hearings observed by inspectors the adjudicators ensured that the prisoner understood the charges, had enough time to prepare a defence and was ready for the hearing. All were offered a pen and paper to take notes. No prisoners were offered a copy of the Prison Rules but all were offered assistance. Prisoners should be offered a copy of the Prison Rules at disciplinary hearings.

6.5 Disciplinary paperwork is completed effectively. The processes followed and the reasons for decisions and awards were understood by prisoners. Adjudicators were very good at ensuring that prisoners understood all elements of the process.

6.6 There are on average 216 hearings a month. Nine per cent result in not guilty or case dismissed. There were 49 CP4's submitted in the 12 months prior to the inspection.

Religious Observance

6.7 The chaplaincy team comprises a full-time Methodist chaplain, two part-time Roman Catholic chaplains and a part-time Church of Scotland reader. All are involved in pastoral care for prisoners and staff.

6.8 The facilities for worship are a temporary chapel in 'B' hall for mainstream prisoners, a room on 'A' hall level four for protections, and the chapel in Friarton hall. All facilities are fit for purpose. Prison Fellowship Groups run several times a week.

6.9 A Roman Catholic mass is held each Sunday at 09.00hrs and a reformed service at 10.00hrs, with communion once a month. Protection prisoners have a fortnightly service at 15.00hrs on a Thursday.

6.10 There is a good understanding amongst staff of the needs of Muslim prisoners and how to action these needs. Muslim prisoners are able see an Imam and attend weekly prayers on a Friday. Overall the chaplains are well integrated into the life of the prison and provide a proactive service to prisoners.

Visiting Committees

6.11 Perth has an adult and an under 21 Visiting Committee. Inspectors met with representatives of both committees. The committees feel supported and listened to by senior management. The adult committee highlighted the benefits arising from the redevelopment of the prison but acknowledged the challenges in trying to deliver a regime during this time. These challenges, they said, were exacerbated by the recent overcrowding.

6.12 The under 21 committee was less positive about the conditions in Friarton and expressed concern about its future. Both committees felt the prison was safe for both prisoners and staff.

Prisoner Complaints Procedure

6.13 Complaint forms are on display in the halls and prisoners have no difficulty in accessing these. A review of the paperwork indicated timely and appropriate responses to complaints. The Internal Complaints Committee meets every Wednesday. The committee is chaired by a unit manager and each functional area has named representatives who attend on a rotational basis.

6.14 A review of ICC paperwork indicates that prisoner complaints are given careful consideration and detailed reasons are given for decisions. The prisoner complaints procedure is operating effectively and is transparent and fair.

Management of Segregation

6.15 Nine prisoners were being held in the segregation unit at the time of the inspection. Seven were being held under Rule 94 (to maintain good order or maintain the safety of others). Two of these prisoners had been in the segregation unit for more than one month. There was evidence of only one of these two prisoners having received a mental health assessment. All prisoners held in the segregation unit for more than one month should receive a mental health assessment. Two prisoners were in the segregation unit as a short-term punishment.



Prisoners take part in activities that educate, develop skills and personal qualities and prepare them for life outside prison.

7.1 There are good opportunities to participate in education and work. The learning centre, library and gym are excellent facilities. The quality of education is high. Young offenders in Friarton hall also have the opportunity to undertake study in the community, although there are not enough of them gainfully employed.


7.2 The SPS contracts Carnegie College to deliver 36,000 prisoner learning hours each year. This provision is managed by the Learning Centre Manager and a team of full-time and part-time tutors. A wide range of educational and vocational training programmes are delivered to remand and sentenced prisoners with a total of 80 sessions being held each week.

7.3 SPS staff oversee vocational workshops and production areas where prisoners develop vocational skills and engage in a range of activities including laundry, cleaning and catering to meet the needs of the prison.

Access to Learning, Skills and Employability Provision

7.4 During induction, prisoners are given information on provision within the Education Unit and vocational training opportunities. There is a robust referral and follow-up system in place whereby prisoners can access opportunities in education or in vocational training at a later stage after induction. Education staff follow this procedure through visits to the libraries in the residential wings and in Reader in Residence sessions. Education programmes are promoted effectively through the Learning Centre prospectus and promotional literature in the halls. In vocational programmes, staff allocate prisoners to appropriate work parties or training opportunities through discussions held at Labour Allocation Boards.

7.5 The Education Unit has capacity for 30 places each morning and afternoon. There are extensive waiting lists for the more popular classes such as Introduction to Hospitality. The Unit is closed in the evening and does not offer evening classes. Remand prisoners have access to education sessions but not to vocational training. Segregation and protection prisoners have access to education and vocational training sessions on a limited basis due to the available capacity.

7.6 There is a limited range of qualifications available within industrial workshops and vocational training programmes. The kitchen offers an SVQ Level 1 to seven prisoners but there are no other certification opportunities available for work parties in the other workshops. The approval for certification for the BICS courses lapsed last year although the prison intends to reintroduce these courses shortly. In vocational training sessions, the prison offers National Progression Awards ( NPA) in painting and decorating, plumbing and bricklaying. However, there are no progression opportunities onto higher level certification for prisoners who have already achieved the NPA standards.

7.7 The library is located in the Links Centre and is staffed by a librarian from Perth and Kinross Council. She delivers a highly efficient and effective service to over 370 prisoners who are registered with the library service. Convicted prisoners have access to over 4000 books, periodicals and other media within the prison library and can request other resources from the wider Perth and Kinross library service. Prisoners access the library one afternoon per week, although access by prisoners from 'A' and 'B' halls is not as good as by prisoners in 'C' hall. Remand and segregated prisoners can access books within satellite libraries based within their halls. The Reader in Residence ensures the satellite libraries have an appropriate supply of books to meet prisoner demand. The service offered by the prison library is an area of good practice.

Assessment of Needs

7.8 All prisoners have the opportunity to test their literacy and numeracy skills by using an alerting tool during induction. The tool aims to identify prisoner literacy and numeracy support requirements. However, this tool has been in use for some years and does not capture sufficiently the full range of additional educational needs that prisoners may have, such as dyslexia. After induction, there are no systematic procedures in place to help identify prisoner's additional support needs. Those prisoners who have additional needs rely upon prison staff to identify their requirements and refer them onto the Education Unit staff or by self-referral procedures to the Education Unit. The prison should pursue the use of an alternative and more effective alerting tool which identifies the full range of prisoners' additional support requirements.

7.9 The prison is developing an employability protocol with external agencies through an employability group to help prisoners reintegrate into the community with improved employability skills. Although at an early stage of development, prisoners are placed at an appropriate point on an "employability pipeline" to help them access support from employment agencies or gain further training upon liberation.

Delivery of Learning

7.10 Staff are well prepared and their lessons are well planned. They provide high levels of individual support to ensure prisoners make good progress as they proceed through their course. Staff in the Education Unit make very effective use of three prisoners who have been appointed as Peer Tutors. Prisoners welcome the role of the Peer Tutor. They help prisoners on a one-to-one basis in the Education Unit which enhances the learning experience for prisoners and supports them in developing their skills and knowledge. An additional six prisoners are currently undergoing Peer Tutor training.

7.11 Staff in the gymnasium are very flexible in ensuring that most prisoners have access to physical education during the week. The gym is well utilised and is busy throughout the week.

7.12 Approximately 60% of prisoners undertake physical activity in the gym on a weekly basis. Staff in the gym are well experienced and qualified to deliver their programmes.

7.13 There are good arrangements for prison and learning centre staff to work together in the planning and delivery of provision across education and work-based activities. This results in opportunities for prisoners to gain and receive recognition for core, vocational and wider skills whilst undertaking prison activities.

Prisoner Learning Experiences

7.14 Accommodation in the Learning Centre consists of a computing suite, art room, training kitchen and other multi-purpose classrooms. Most rooms provide a comfortable and relaxed environment for learning with good access to ICT, although the art room is small for the numbers of learners who use it. The training kitchen provides sufficient space to deliver catering programmes and is well utilised by prisoners.

7.15 There are very good resources in the plumbing, bricklaying and painting and decorating workshops. Industry standard machinery is utilised in the woodwork workshops. The gymnasium uses modern equipment and prisoners are very satisfied with the standard of gym facilities. The availability and standard of the gym facilities is an area of good practice.

7.16 Prisoners are motivated and engaged in their classes and are progressing well. Staff in the education unit and vocational training workshops work well together to provide additional support in literacy and numeracy for prisoners. Prisoners on vocational programmes can access courses in the Education Unit up to three times per week without a reduction in their pay.

7.17 There are very good relationships in the workshops and these ensure that prisoners are on task with their work and engaged in purposeful activity. However, prisoners in the woodwork workshops complained that at times there was not enough work to keep them occupied.


7.18 There are high attainment rates in education and vocational training programmes. In almost all cases, prisoners attain their individual units of study. However, fewer attained full certification of their programme as the full range of units for successful completion is not delivered. Prisoners are making good progress in the development of vocational, personal and social skills.

7.19 Prisoners are prepared well for release from prison through the Job Club programme. They are supported with the help of JobcentrePlus to compile their own curriculum vitae, to complete job application forms and to improve their job interview techniques. A range of external agencies including a national housing association help prisoners with their personal needs upon their liberation. Prisoners and staff are also involved in a number of charitable events. These events have helped to raise significant amounts of money for good causes and to develop prisoner's individual citizenship skills. The use of local community work-placements has recently declined and currently very few prisoners benefit from this service. The establishment has explored opportunities for increasing community placement opportunities for the young offenders in Friarton hall.

Ethos and Values

7.20 There are good relationships between staff and prisoners. This creates a positive atmosphere in which prisoners appreciate and work well with each other and with staff.

Staffing and Resources

7.21 All learning, skills and employability ( LSE) provision within the prison is delivered by SPS staff who are well-qualified and experienced to deliver the programmes. Absences by staff with vocational specialisms results in certain workshops being closed until the staff return to duty. Most staff in the Education Unit hold a Teaching Qualification in Further Education or equivalent.

7.22 Accommodation in the Links Centre, workshops and gymnasium is of a good standard. Classrooms in the education unit are equipped with up-to-date computers and ICT equipment, catering equipment for hospitality classes and a kiln for ceramics in art classes. The vocational workshops are well-equipped and provided a realistic working environment. There are work parties in the prison laundry but currently no certification is available there.

7.23 The gym hall at Perth has excellent facilities and is used effectively to promote and facilitate a healthier lifestyle for prisoners. A comprehensive programme of induction is in place for prisoners wishing to utilise the gymnasium. The library is very well resourced and utilised well by the prison population. The librarian and a Reader in Residence keep the stock in the library and in the satellite accommodation hall libraries up to date and this meets prisoner needs well.

Quality Assurance

7.24 Staff use self-evaluation procedures to propose changes to improve their provision. The Education Unit staff utilise quality assurance and improvement strategies developed by Carnegie College. Previously the unit had established Learner Forums in which tutors had utilised prisoner evaluations of programmes, but prisoners had currently no formal input to discussions on improvement.

7.25 In the vocational workshops, discussions between staff and internal verification procedures are the main mechanisms for improvement. Whilst on their programmes staff keep accurate records of prisoners progress on their individual programmes.

Friarton Hall

7.26 During the working week most young offenders at Friarton are employed in the wood production workshops. The machine shops are very well equipped with industry standard machines however on more than one occasion the inspectors observed that very few YOs were employed in the industrial complex, maybe nine in each of the two areas. However, every young offender has a work placement allocated with further opportunities for education and PE. Visits are also taken during the day which affects the numbers in the industrial complex.

7.27 Staff reported that they have a healthy order book and predicted adequate work well into 2010.

7.28 Prisoners produce a range of wood based furniture including tables, chairs and storage containers, these are all manufactured as part of an external contract. Prisoners can choose to attend up to three educational sessions per week where they can improve their literacy, numeracy or IT skills. These sessions are valued by prisoners. There is a Job Club programme to support and prepare prisoners prior to their liberation.

7.29 The library at Friarton contains a limited stock of reading material. Most of the texts are not readily accessible by those with limited literacy skills. The very good service provided by the Perth and Kinross library services at the main prison is currently not available to prisoners at Friarton. The library facility should be improved.

7.30 The gym facilities at Friarton are dated and require upgrading. Some of the equipment requires repairing or replacing. The all-weather football pitch has been out of commission since early summer. These should be addressed.

7.31 A number of young offenders are involved in the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme and have taken part in a range of projects in the local community. For example, YOs were involved in repairing the drains at a bothy on a local highland estate. Some YOs benefit from supervised work placements where they leave the hall each day and work for a local employer. At the time of the inspection these placements had significantly declined but several more prisoners are due to take up new placements in the New Year. The lack of upgrading at Friarton has had a detrimental impact on the young offenders' experiences.


7.32 There is good provision of learning, skills and employability training for prisoners. Programmes are delivered in purpose built accommodation which meets the needs of prisoners well. There are effective induction procedures. However improvements are required in the arrangements to identify prisoner's literacy, numeracy and other additional support needs. While many prisoners attain a unit of a qualification, few obtain qualifications which will enhance their employability upon their liberation. There are good relations between prisoners and staff and effective support is provided during educational classes and in workshop activities. There is an efficient and effective library service which is valued by prisoners. There are effective arrangements for exercise and gym related activities. Prisoners are well prepared for release through support provided by external agencies. However there are ineffective arrangements to monitor their progress upon their release. In general, too few prisoners benefit from community work-placements.

7.33 There is an appropriate range of educational programmes. However, improvements are required in the provision of the library service, the outdoor football pitch and in the gym facilities at Friarton. There are good arrangements to involve young offenders in a range of local community-based activities.



Healthcare is provided to the same standard as in the community outside prison, available in response to need, with a full range of preventive services, promoting continuity with health services outside prison.

8.1 Healthcare facilities are excellent and very well used. Prisoners in Perth have access to the same level of care as people in community. Addictions clinical support and throughcare is provided to a very high standard. Management provide direction and support to a fairly new but motivated professional team. However, the number of prisoners testing positive for illegal substances on liberation seems high.

Physical Environment

8.2 The healthcare team have moved to a new purpose built facility since the last full inspection. The facilities, d├ęcor, equipment and prisoner record storage are all excellent. It is a stand-alone facility and comprises a range of offices and treatment areas over two floors. There is ample health promotion literature situated throughout the treatment areas.

8.3 The practice of employing cleaners rather than "pass men" ensures that the facilities are consistently cleaned to a high standard. Nurse dispensing is undertaken in "nurse stations" in the halls. These are clean and tidy. Temperature control monitoring and equipment checks are very good.

8.4 The facilities in Friarton hall for healthcare delivery are adequate, clean and tidy.

Primary Healthcare

8.5 The healthcare team comprises 12 primary care nurses; two addictions nurses; three mental health nurses; a healthcare assistant; three administrators; three pharmacy assistants; two clinical nurse managers; and a full time doctor, a part-time doctor and a specialist addictions doctor (part-time). This team also delivers healthcare to Friarton hall.

8.6 The Healthcare Manager is a member of the senior management team and is also responsible for healthcare delivery in the Open Estate for which there is a separate group of staff.

8.7 The administrative support for the team ensures that the nurses are well supported and freed up to deliver healthcare rather than focus on paper driven tasks. Medical clinics are provided every day except Sundays.

8.8 Nursing staff deliver a range of nurse led clinics. These include immunisation clinics; a blood borne virus clinic (including specialist hepatitis C service); a sexual health service; and smoking cessation. Chronic disease management clinics are delivered by an external provider, although new staff have started to train in specialist areas.

8.9 Self referral and complaints forms are readily available in all halls. Prisoners are seen by all services within appropriate timescales. Analysis of healthcare statistical information is of a very high standard, and this has led to complaints dropping by 50%.

8.10 The pharmacy assistants are well integrated with the healthcare team. A robust process is in place for 'in possession' medication spot checks in the halls.

8.11 The internal daily team communication system ensures adequate support to all team members (including the medical team) and the electronic healthcare night report is an area of good practice. The establishment of a local health care staff training group ensures a balance between ongoing professional development and meeting the needs of prisoners.

Secondary Healthcare

8.12 A dentist and dental nurse attend the prison two days per week. The dental facilities are very good. A dental decontamination room allows this service to be delivered on site. An optician, chiropodist and dermatology service are also delivered on site. A visiting pharmacist attends the prison one day per week.

8.13 Excellent links have been established with Tayside NHS Trust for the delivery of a blood borne virus and sexual health service. A nurse within the establishment takes the lead with this service. The level of one-to-one support that prisoners receiving clinical treatment is of a very high standard. Specialist nurse knowledge and experience within the prison is excellent. Both of these clinics are areas of good practice.

8.14 Liaison with external hospitals for appointments is very good.

Mental Health Services

8.15 Consultant psychiatrists deliver three sessions per week. They work closely with the three mental health nurses. A nurse assesses individual prisoners and makes referrals to the Multi-disciplinary Mental Health Team and psychiatrist. Nurses hold individual caseloads of between 12 - 24 prisoners. One-to-one support for individuals is of a good standard with the team utilising a number of the "Books on Prescriptions Scheme: Self Help for Primary Care Mental Health" for prisoners in their care. This team takes the lead for ACT2Care case conferences within the establishment.

8.16 Fortnightly Multi-disciplinary Mental Health Team meetings take place, and the level of joint working is excellent. Consideration should be given to inviting uniformed staff to this meeting.

Management of Medicines

8.17 Medication is stored in line with current legislation, and controlled drugs are dispensed safely. The process where there is only one nurse signatory for methadone at the weekend should be reviewed.


8.18 Although there is no designated Addictions Co-ordinator, addictions services are working well. However, there is a lack of visibility at a local level in terms of substance misuse testing particularly for the YOs in Friarton hall. The testing focus is on suspicion and risk assessment. Clinical prescribing on the day a prisoner enters the prison relies on the result of an unobserved urine sample. This should be reviewed.

8.19 One of the doctors is the lead specialist for prescribing substance misuse clinical support. He works two five hour sessions each week, split between the Open Estate and Perth. Having one individual take the lead and support other doctors and nursing staff ensures continuity of care.

8.20 To ensure throughcare arrangements are in place the doctor and addictions nurse see all prisoners receiving methadone prior to liberation. This is an area of good practice.

8.21 In response to a gap in provision for short-term prisoners, the addictions nurses have recently piloted a process where they see all new prisoners with a substance misuse history on the day of admission. This enables them to liaise, support (where appropriate) and signpost prisoners back into the community at this early stage. This is an area of good practice.

8.22 The Enhanced Addictions Casework Team comprises a team leader, a senior practitioner, four case workers and an administrator. Facilities for the team are satisfactory and the team sees prisoners in the Links Centre. The team is well integrated within the prison and has established excellent links with the addictions team. The team provides a session during induction, delivers one-to-one substance misuse support; and provides group work sessions.

8.23 External links are excellent at all levels. The Senior Management Team are proactive in dealings with the national Thoughcare Addictions Service, Alcohol and Drug Partnerships, local drug death groups, Tayside Throughcare Network, the Community Justice Authority and Tayside Drug Strategy Group.

8.24 Admission statistics show that 89% of prisoners tested positive for illegal substances on admission to the establishment. On liberation this is 28%. Although this is a very big reduction from the figure on admission, 28% of prisoners testing positive on liberation seems high. It is recommended that the reasons for so many prisoners testing positive for illegal substances on liberation are explored.

8.25 A fortnightly Addictions Team Meeting is held to discuss individual prisoner needs. This is a multi-disciplinary group with input from the doctor.

8.26 On the first day of inspection 167 prisoners in the establishment were in receipt of a methadone prescription, of which 28 were on reducing doses. A small number of prisoners were being prescribed suboxone.



Appropriate steps are taken to ensure that prisoners are reintegrated safely into the community and where possible into a situation less likely to lead to further crime.

9.1 The Integrated Case Management and risk management processes work very well. A number of accredited and approved offending behaviour programmes are available to adult prisoners. There are excellent links with community based organisations.

Integrated Case Management

9.2 Perth operates both Standard and Enhanced Integrated Case Management ( ICM) procedures. Standard procedures allow for prisoners serving four years or less to have their needs assessed and a Community Integration Plan developed. The enhanced procedures allow for all prisoners serving sentences over four years and all sex offenders serving six months or more to participate in multi-disciplinary meetings to review risk and needs and develop strategies to reduce the risk of re-offending and risk of harm on release.

9.3 There is an average of 27 case conferences per month. A dedicated team of a manager, two co-ordinators and administrative support ensures that the establishment meets its target for case conferences occurring within timescales. However, there is sometimes a conflict between targets and quality: for example, inspectors observed a case conference taking place without the prisoner present due to him being detained in hospital. A previous case conference was postponed for the same reason.

9.4 A personal officer scheme operates in Friarton hall, 'C' hall levels 3 & 4 and 'A' hall levels 3 & 4. Gallery officers fulfil the role in other areas. Case conferences are chaired by a co-ordinator and there is good attendance by Criminal Justice Social Work. Families are rarely in attendance. Staff have provided information sessions for families in the visitor centre but this has still not resulted in an improvement in attendance. Further initiatives should be tried to increase family involvement in case conferences.

9.5 Twenty staff have been trained as ICM assessors. They do not do risk assessments in partnership with prison based social workers although there is collaboration prior to submission of the final report. An ICM steering group chaired by the Deputy Governor and attended by prison based social workers, psychologists and the ICM manager and co-ordinators meets monthly. This ensures that any problems with the process are addressed quickly.

9.6 There is a close link between ICM and the establishment's Multi-Disciplinary Progression Management Group ( MDPMG). The MDPMG assesses prisoners' eligibility for transfer to the top end or the Open Estate. Consideration should be given to putting all risk management processes within ICM.

9.7 The identification and management of risk is operating well and there is effective monitoring of the processes in place.

Interventions to Address Offending Behaviour

9.8 Programmes to address offending behaviour are delivered in the new regimes building, and the facilities are very good. The staff complement is six officers, managed by the Head of Programmes and Psychology.

9.9 Delivery of programmes is multi-disciplinary with input from officers and psychology. The officers are trained to deliver three programmes each.

9.10 The targets for programme delivery for 2010 are:

Accredited Programmes
Constructs 28
Substance related offending behaviour 10

C.A.R.E. (controlling anger and regulating emotions) 21

Approved Activities
Alcohol awareness 40
First Steps (addictions) 16

9.11 If a prisoner is assessed as requiring a violence prevention or sex offender programmes he will be transferred to a prison which runs these.

9.12 Prisoners at Friarton do not access programmes as their needs should have been met at Polmont prior to transfer.

9.13 There are waiting lists for some programmes: for example there were 97 prisoners waiting to take part in Constructs. These waiting lists should be reduced, and assessed needs met.

9.14 The Head of Programmes and Psychology is conducting research into delivering interventions for difficult prisoners who occupy segregation units for lengthy periods. There are also intense one-to-one interventions and cognitive behavioural therapies available when a prisoner is assessed as suitable for this kind of intervention. This is an area of good practice.

Partner Organisations

9.15 The prison has well established links with community based organisations. Some are contractual such as with Phoenix Futures and Carnegie College, and some are through a Service Level Agreement such as with Perth and Kinross Social Work Department. Good links with voluntary organisations have also been established. A Prison Community Integration Group is developing a set of protocols to address Employment, Housing, Addiction and Health issues with partners in the community.

Preparation for Release

9.16 The main focus in terms of preparation for release is to ensure that every prisoner has some form of accommodation on release. Protocols are in place with Perth, Dundee and Angus Councils to assist with any housing issues. Debt Finance advice is delivered by Jobcentre Plus.


10.1 The 72 hour assessment period for prisoners who request protection (paragraph 2.7).

10.2 A choice of fruit is available with each evening meal, and prisoners can choose to have vegetables as part of every meal (paragraph 2.28).

10.3 The kitchen produces menus in the two most common foreign languages in the prison (paragraph 2.28).

10.4 The 'Core Screen Assessment' during induction is carried out in a private interview room (paragraph 3.29).

10.5 The arrangements for relaying information to non-English speaking prisoners during induction (paragraph 3.33).

10.6 Suicide risk management procedures are tailored to the individual needs of the prisoner (paragraph 3.42).

10.7 Families sometimes attend suicide risk management case conferences (paragraph 3.42).

10.8 The staff rotation policy and practice (paragraph 3.49).

10.9 All escort court staff in Dundee Sheriff Court are first aid trained (paragraph 4.15).

10.10 A dedicated telephone number is available for families who need advice or help (paragraph 5.3).

10.11 All visits staff are encouraged to engage with families and children (paragraph 5.5).

10.12 Innovative use of technology to allow 'virtual visits' (paragraph 5.9).

10.13 The service offered by the prison library (paragraph 7.7).

10.14 The availability and standard of gym facilities (paragraph 7.15).

10.15 The production of an electronic healthcare night report (paragraph 8.11).

10.16 The blood borne virus and sexual health clinics (paragraph 8.13).

10.17 The doctor and addictions nurse see all prisoners receiving methadone prior to liberation (paragraph 8.20).

10.18 The addictions nurses have piloted a process where they see all new short-term prisoners with a substance misuse history on the day of admission (paragraph 8.21).

10.19 There are intense one-to-one interventions and cognitive behavioural therapies available when a prisoner is assessed as suitable for this kind of intervention (paragraph 9.14).


11.1 Young offenders in Friarton hall should be more gainfully employed (paragraphs 2.19 and 7.26).

11.2 Friarton hall should be completely refurbished (paragraph 2.21).

11.3 All suicide risk assessments during reception in the main prison should be carried out in a private and calm environment (paragraph 3.21).

11.4 A more structured approach based on good practice in other prisons should be adopted in the First Night in Custody Centre (paragraph 3.28).

11.5 All safer cells should be of the modern design (paragraph 3.40).

11.6 The reasons for so many prisoners testing positive for illegal substances on liberation should be explored (paragraph 8.24).


12.1 Facilities for recreation in the halls should be improved (paragraphs 2.8, 2.12 and 2.13).

12.2 All prisoners should have access to a chair in their cell (paragraphs 2.9 and 2.12).

12.3 All telephones should have privacy hoods (paragraphs 2.9 and 3.16).

12.4 When the anti-ligature cells in 'C' hall are vacated, they should be cleaned as a matter of course (paragraph 2.14).

12.5 The observation panels on the cell doors in Friarton hall should be kept clear at all times (paragraph 2.16).

12.6 The display screens on the telephones in Friarton hall should be repaired (paragraph 2.16).

12.7 Young offenders in Friarton hall should have access to telephones outwith unlock periods, if required (paragraph 2.16).

12.8 The library facility for Friarton hall should be improved (paragraphs 2.16 and 7.29).

12.9 The toilets in cells in the segregation unit should be enclosed (paragraph 2.22).

12.10 Jackets should be available for use during exercise periods in bad weather (paragraphs 2.24 and 2.25).

12.11 The method of transporting food from the kitchen to the halls should be improved (paragraph 2.27).

12.12 The laundry facility should be improved (paragraph 2.35).

12.13 The lack of certification available in the laundry should be reviewed (paragraph 2.36).

12.14 The inside of escort vehicles should be cleaned overnight (paragraph 3.7).

12.15 The safety message on escort vehicles should be played prior to every journey, in a format which all prisoners can understand, and prisoners' attention should be drawn to this message (paragraph 3.8).

12.16 After completing the court process prisoners should be transferred back to the prison without delay (paragraph 3.9).

12.17 A substantial hot meal should be served to prisoners arriving from court after 16.30hrs (paragraph 3.10).

12.18 All prisoners should receive prescribed medication before leaving the prison under escort (paragraph 3.11).

12.19 All prisoners should have the opportunity to have a shower before leaving the prison for court (paragraph 3.11).

12.20 All prisoners leaving the prison for court should have the opportunity as other prisoners to have breakfast (paragraph 3.11).

12.21 There should be better information available in reception, and this should also be available in a range of languages (paragraph 3.12).

12.22 Chairs should be available in the reception interview room for both prisoners and staff (paragraph 3.14).

12.23 A more secure seal for valuable property packets in reception should be introduced (paragraph 3.15).

12.24 All prisoners should be offered a shower in reception (paragraph 3.16).

12.25 A review of Listener deployment in reception should be carried out to achieve maximum benefits (paragraph 3.17).

12.26 Property and cash should always be opened and checked in the presence of the prisoner (paragraph 3.19).

12.27 Toothpaste and a toothbrush should be available in each room in the First Night in Custody Centre as part of the admission pack (paragraph 3.24).

12.28 Information in the First Night in Custody Centre should be available for non-English speaking prisoners, and prisoners who have difficulty reading (paragraph 3.25).

12.29 Peer tutors and senior managers should have an input to induction (paragraph 3.32).

12.30 Families should be offered a family induction session (paragraph 3.32).

12.31 All safer cells should be kept ready for occupation at all times (paragraph 3.40).

12.32 The local Suicide Risk Management Group should meet at least once every quarter (paragraph 3.43).

12.33 At least one member of the night shift staff on duty should be first aid trained (paragraph 3.46).

12.34 Arrangements should be put in place to ensure that new nurses complete ACT2Care training (paragraph 3.47).

12.35 The holding cells in Perth Sheriff Court and in Dundee Sheriff Court should be kept clean, and graffiti should be removed (paragraphs 4.5 and 4.12).

12.36 Hand washing facilities should be available in the holding cells in Perth Sheriff Court and in Dundee Sheriff Court (paragraphs 4.6 and 4.13).

12.37 The establishment should adopt a more focused and structured approach to Black and Ethnic Minority prisoners (paragraph 4.23).

12.38 The visitor information pack should be automatically made available to visitors and translated versions should be readily available (paragraph 5.11).

12.39 Officers should sit down during disciplinary hearings (paragraph 6.3).

12.40 Prisoners should be offered a copy of the Prison Rules at Disciplinary Hearings (paragraph 6.4).

12.41 All prisoners held in the segregation unit for more than one month should receive a mental health assessment (paragraph 6.15).

12.42 The prison should pursue the use of an alternative and more effective alerting tool which identifies the full range of prisoners' additional support requirements (paragraph 7.8).

12.43 The gym facilities at Friarton hall should be upgraded and some of the equipment should be repaired or replaced (paragraph 7.30).

12.44 The all-weather football pitch for Friarton hall should be put back into commission (paragraph 7.30).

12.45 Consideration should be given to inviting uniformed staff to the fortnightly Multi-Disciplinary Mental Health Team meeting (paragraph 8.16).

12.46 The process where there is only one nurse signatory for methadone at the weekend should be reviewed (paragraph 8.17).

12.47 The process where clinical prescribing on the day a prisoner enters the prison relies on the result of an unobserved urine sample should be reviewed (paragraph 8.18).

12.48 Further initiatives should be tried to increase family participation in Integrated Case Management Conferences (paragraph 9.4).

12.49 Consideration should be given to putting all risk management processes within Integerated Case Management (paragraph 9.6).

12.50 The waiting lists for programmes to address offending behaviour should be reduced, and assessed needs met (paragraph 9.13).


Sources of Evidence

Written material and statistics received from the prison prior to Inspection
Governor's briefing
SPS Prisoner Survey
Prison Records
Prison background material
Discussions with prisoners
Discussions with prisoners' families
Focus groups with prisoners
Interviews with prisoners
Interviews with prison staff
Focus groups with staff


Inspection Team

Hugh Monro

HM Chief Inspector

David McAllister

Assistant Chief Inspector

Mick Armstrong


Karen Norrie

Associate Inspector

Nicol Welsh

Associate Inspector

Peter Connelly

Education Adviser

Andrew Brawley

Education Adviser

John T McCaig