HM Inspectorate of Prisons Report on HMP Peterhead: Full Inspection 14 - 20 June 2010

Prison - Full Inspection Report

Executive Summary

ISBN 978 0 7559 9451 9
DPPAS 10842

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Key Facts










Good Practice

Action Points

Annex 1 Sources of Evidence

Annex 2 Inspection Team

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 Peterhead between 14 and 20 June 2010.

Ten recommendations and a number of other points for action are made. The report highlights 16 areas of good practice.

HUGH MONRO signature

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
23 September 2010



HMP Peterhead is located on the south side of the Aberdeenshire town of Peterhead.


The prison holds Scotland's convicted, male long-term sex offenders.


The prison was built in 1888, and was designed to hold 208 prisoners. Additional buildings were completed in 1909, 1960 and 1962. Peterhead has had a sometimes troubled history, not least a number of disturbances and roof top protests in the late 1980s. It has been a centre for sex offenders since 1994. The conditions in the prison have been criticised by the Prisons Inspectorate on a number of occasions. The SPS announced in 2009 that the prison would close and be replaced with a new prison HMP Grampian.

The prison is due to be replaced on the same site with HMP Grampian in 2014.

Design Capacity


Population on First Day of Inspection



The accommodation is old and there has been very little investment in recent years. All cells are single occupancy but the majority of prisoners do not have access to 24 hour sanitation or to running water in their cell. Only two small units have access to 24 hour sanitation. Between them these areas hold 25 prisoners.

Last Inspected

The last full inspection was in July 2006 with a follow up inspection in June 2008.


Setting the Scene

1.1 In many respects, visiting Peterhead prison is a journey into the past, for here is a prison, over 120 years old, where the core buildings are largely unchanged. The fabric of the prison is therefore poor and the lack of significant investment over many years clearly shows. Cellular accommodation is bad with narrow doors, cramped cells, low levels of natural light and inadequate ventilation. In addition, facilities in other areas of the prison, including Reception, the Learning Centre and the Gate area, are no longer fit for purpose.

1.2 Many have been waiting for a long time for Peterhead prison to be closed and for a new prison to be built. The announcement that HMP Grampian is to be built on site on an adjacent piece of ground has been welcomed by staff weary of 'making do'; however they will only be convinced when they see the foundations being laid. I mention this to illustrate the sense of fatigue that I felt from staff about the demanding situation in which they find themselves. Previous inspections have reported on this difficult state of affairs at Peterhead and yet, at best, the prison will be required to maintain the current role for a further four years. I will therefore be reporting again on Peterhead to ensure that current conditions do not deteriorate even further.

Inspection of Peterhead

1.3. Overall Peterhead is perceived as a safe prison by prisoners and they appreciate the freedom from abuse that many of them have experienced from other prisoners in mainstream prisons. There are comparatively low levels of violence but minor assaults have increased by almost 50% over a period of 12 months and this requires examination. There is little evidence of bullying or intimidation.

1.4 Staff and Managers suggest there is little or no drug abuse. However, drug testing is not robust and in the latest SPS Prisoner Survey a small number of prisoners admit to injecting and other forms of drug misuse and this is not being picked up in the prison (paragraph 8.24).

1.5 Peterhead prison is Scotland's national facility for long-term male sex offenders. Throughout the inspection inspectors felt the Governor and his staff were hampered by the lack of a National Sex Offender Strategy which should give guidance on a number of issues not least staff training, progression of prisoners and preparation for release.

1.6 Unlike any other prison in the United Kingdom, Peterhead has neither running water nor sanitation in cells. Instead prisoners use chemical toilets which are emptied twice a week by trained prisoner work parties. Hand-washing in cells is done using temporary basins with water from pump action flasks (paragraph 2.6)

1.7 The environmental impact of this 'slopping out' system on prisoners and staff alike is extremely unpleasant. The process of emptying the chemical toilets is a degrading activity for anyone to observe, far less participate in. At the time of the inspection I witnessed this emptying out process and was concerned to find that prisoners were not wearing the correct personal protective equipment and not following the safe system of work in which they had been trained. This is hardly surprising because some of the prison staff had not been trained to supervise the activity. On a return visit, I found prisoners wearing the correct protective equipment and prison officers trained and supervising the prisoners. However, the sluice sinks into which the waste is emptied are not modern and not fit for purpose. The ventilation in the sluice areas is inadequate for the task of dispersing the odours, which can be considerable. Whilst the Governor and his staff are to be congratulated for the considerable efforts they are making to try to address the situation, I still found this 'improved process' to be degrading and falling short of satisfactory hygiene standards.

1.8 Infection control measures in relation to hand cleaning in cells was found to be inadequate: the pump action flasks were unhygienic and appeared, in a number of cases, to be used for providing boiling water for hot drinks and not for washing hands. On my return visit, flasks were missing altogether from some cells and others still found to be dirty. Non- alcohol-based hand cleansing gel could be one alternative to the flasks.

1.9 In summary, I found the whole sanitation and the hand hygiene issue to be deeply unsatisfactory. In my opinion, a better solution needs to be found in order to facilitate 24 hour prisoner access to proper sanitation facilities and this needs to happen as quickly as possible (paragraphs 2.6 and 2.7).

1.10 In complete contrast to the issues surrounding the age of the buildings, I have been greatly encouraged by the staff at Peterhead. This report provides comprehensive evidence that prisoner/staff relationships are excellent (paragraphs 4.3 and 4.4)

1.11 The prisoner population at Peterhead provides staff with particular and unique challenges, yet in the main staff rise to this well. This may be helped by the ever-improving training regime at Peterhead where the Governor and his staff are providing good induction training and are beginning to lead the way on 'train the trainer' processes and for addressing the shortfalls in developmental training (paragraphs 3.45, 3.49, 3.50 and 3.51).

1.12 Nevertheless, there is insufficient role-specific training. There is not enough training for Personal Officers, although it is clear that the managers in charge of training are aware of this gap. This is becoming a regular theme in my reports and I hope to see a policy that sets out Personal Officer roles, supported by a comprehensive training package (paragraph 3.33).

1.13 I am somewhat disappointed by the lack of training to help prison officers cope with the risks of collusion and conditioning by prisoners at Peterhead. It is also odd that there is no apparent universal sex offender awareness and education training which is badly needed for all prison officers who manage sex offenders and all staff who come in to contact with them in the course of their duties (paragraph 3.48).

1.14 I now want to focus on the progression of Peterhead's prisoners and how they are prepared for release. I am concerned about the seeming lack of progress made by Peterhead prisoners on two counts. Firstly, not all prisoners in Peterhead are willing to address their offending behaviour. This is also true of some sex offenders held in other prisons - notably Dumfries - who similarly refuse to participate. Therefore too many are liberated without the benefit of attending relevant programmes to address their sex offending behaviour. As an example of this, nearly one quarter of the prison's population (24% - up from 0.6% since the last inspection in 2006) have been recalled to prison, an indication that their ability to adhere to the terms of their conditions of supervision is inadequate. I recommend that greater efforts are made to ensure the maximum number of prisoners attend programmes to address offending behaviour, and that all, without exception, are far more comprehensively prepared for release than is presently the case (paragraph 9.16).

1.15 Secondly it is clear that progression for prisoners at Peterhead is remarkably slow. Very few (nine during the past two years) move to national Top Ends or to the Open Estate. It is therefore clearly very difficult to assess and test prisoners in less secure conditions prior to release. This lack of progression raises the risk of re-offending. It is difficult to see how sex offenders are being sufficiently prepared and assessed for their capacity or motivation to lead a crime-free life on release. This report recommends that further work is done to see how best to test sex offenders in less secure conditions prior to release (paragraph 9.15).

1.16 This whole situation is exacerbated by the lack of programme provision to address offending behaviour. The Core, Adapted, Extended and Rolling Sex Offender Treatment Programmes were, until March of this year in Peterhead, the main programmes to address such behaviour. The Core SOTP ran for seven to nine months. All prisoners were expected to participate in SOTP yet in 2009-10 only 48 completed the course. A number of prisoners refuse to participate, but in reality the numbers are constrained by the lack of places and this is another reason why progression through the prison system for sex offenders can be so slow (paragraphs 9.43 and 9.44).

1.17 SOTP has now been replaced by the new 'Good Lives' programme in an effort to overcome some of the perceived inflexibility and costs of SOTP. This programme is not yet accredited nor is it evaluated and it needs to be both as soon as possible. It does though address issues of healthy sexual functioning which was a significant deficit in SOTP.

1.18 I was impressed, however, by the excellent Integrated Case Management and parole teams which are well organised and operated by knowledgeable and professional staff. However, they need augmentation to cope with the busy schedule and complex issues presented by Peterhead's population, and I would like to see more highly valued involvement by Personal Officers (paragraph 3.33). The Healthcare Team also deserve considerable praise for their commitment to improve and develop their service.

1.19 There is adequate access to constructive activity during the day with only 69 prisoners not participating in some form of activity. In many respects the vocational training is good and I was particularly impressed by the recycling project and access to therapeutic horticulture (paragraphs 7.1, 7.3 and 7.9). There are high levels of achievement in the prison (paragraph 7.24).

1.20 In summary there are many positives in Peterhead Prison but these are overshadowed by the very real issues surrounding the age and fabric of the prison. Considerable efforts will need to be made to ensure this situation does not worsen prior to closure. Substantial input is also required to maximise prisoner participation in sex offending and other relevant programmes and to better prepare them for release.



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 conditions in the prison, particularly in almost all of the cells, are among the worst in any prison in Scotland. Cells are small, have little natural light and ventilation and there is no running water. A form of slopping out still exists. Chemical toilets are emptied twice a week by a trained work party of prisoners. Access to clean mattresses, bedding and clothing is very good. The quality of the food is good.


2.2 HMP Peterhead is the national resource for Scotland's convicted, male long-term sex offenders. The design capacity of the prison is 306. There were 299 prisoners unlocked on the first day of inspection - all of whom are housed in single cell accommodation.

2.3 At the time of inspection the breakdown of sentence was as follows:


Number of Prisoners

Order of Lifelong Restriction


Life (Mandatory)


Life (Discretionary)


Extended Sentence Recalls


10 + Years


4 - 10 Years




Accommodation Areas

2.4 Peterhead has four main residential Halls: A, B, C and D; an Annex to B Hall; an Enhanced Regime (E Hall); and a local Top End facility (the Unit). The breakdown of the capacity on the first day of inspection was:


No. of Cells









B Hall Annex






2.5 Six cells in C Hall were out of commission for refurbishment during the inspection.

A, B, C and D Halls

2.6 The facilities in the four main Halls are very similar. All cells are single occupancy and have electric power. Although the Halls were clean, the buildings are old and the conditions in which prisoners live are among the worst of any prison in Scotland. Cells are small, have poor lighting and ventilation and do not have running water, only pump action flasks, many of which were found to be in a dirty condition. This represents an infection risk. It is recommended that prisoners are provided with proper hand cleansing facilities in their cells and staff should ensure that flasks are kept clean and prisoners informed of hygienic procedures.

2.7 The worst aspect of these Halls is that there is no in-cell sanitation and a form of slopping out still exists. Prisoners use a chemical toilet which is emptied twice a week by a prisoner work party. Although these prisoners are trained in safe working practices it was observed that the use of personal protection equipment was inconsistent. Some prisoners wore masks and face shields, some wore just masks, others wore no masks or wore goggles and no-one wore head protection of any form. For safety reasons, the party should use a trolley to deliver the chemical toilets to the ablutions area for emptying and cleaning, however, prisoners were observed carrying the toilets. Some staff also said that they had not been properly trained on how to supervise those carrying out this duty. Slopping out is degrading for all those concerned. It is recommended that alternatives to slopping out are found.

2.8 There are no 'safer cells' in any of the Halls. All prisoners at risk of self-harm are located in the Health Centre under supervision.

2.9 Recreation facilities in each of the Halls include a television, a snooker table and/or pool table, a dartboard, dominoes and some other board games including chess and checkers. Console games are available on request from staff. Recreation facilities are very good.

2.10 All new prisoners receive a new mattress and these are replaced when required. The prison has an on-site facility where old mattresses are recycled. This is an area of good practice. All showers in the Halls provide privacy by way of a door and a shower curtain. Prisoners are able to shower every day and after physical exertion, before court and before visits.

2.11 Prisoners have good access to telephones. Signs are displayed explaining that telephone calls are recorded and that a message is played to people receiving a call that the call is being made by a prisoner. The telephones provide adequate privacy, and some are located in specially made telephone kiosks. This is an area of good practice.

2.12 The allocation of lower ground floor cells to those prisoners with mobility or health related issues was recognised and appreciated by prisoners.

2.13 All areas outside the cells were clean and tidy. The garden areas in particular are bright and colourful.

2.14 The exercise area is located between B and C Halls. It is a large yard which is monitored by CCTV. Exercise is available between 12.30hrs and 13.30hrs each day. On average around 120 prisoners use the exercise yard on a daily basis. In summer, all prisoners have the opportunity to use a sports field two nights a week.

B Hall Annex

2.15 The physical conditions in the Annex are the same as in B Hall.

E Hall

2.16 E Hall is of a similar age to the rest of the prison and is currently used for prisoners who have earned the opportunity to move there through the internal progression system. It now provides an enhanced regime. Prisoners who are located in E Hall have to be approved, after assessment, by the Risk Management Group as part of the internal progression system. E Hall is seen as an intermediate step before progression to the internal Top End or the Unit as it is known. It has space for 15 prisoners.

2.17 Prisoners have their own key to open and lock the cell door. All cells have electric power.

2.18 The conditions in E Hall are much better than in the four large Halls. It is very clean and there is no graffiti or litter.

2.19 The cells do not have in cell sanitation, but as prisoners have a key to their cells, they have access to a toilet at all times. Due to the small size of the cells the prison has introduced an "items in use list" and prisoners are only allowed the items on the list. This system is strictly adhered to but is ineffective in limiting the volume of personal property in the cells. One cell had two large television boxes in the space between the door and bed. These were full of property, despite the storage unit and the space under the bed also being full. This is both a security risk and a health and safety hazard. The amount of property stored in some cells should be reduced.

2.20 Cell windows offer adequate ventilation. Mattresses and bedding are in good condition and prisoners can launder their own clothes.

2.21 There is a telephone in a booth and notices about the recording of calls. There is a servery which is in good condition and is kept clean. Prisoners can dine in association if they choose to do so.

2.22 Recreation consists of board games, in cell or communal television, personal computer games, DVDs and darts. Prisoners also have access to a kitchen. In addition to this prisoners from E Hall can go to B Hall to take part in recreation there. They also have access to outdoor recreation on two nights per week.

The Unit

2.23 The Unit is of a more recent design and build than the rest of the prison. It was previously used for disruptive prisoners before the prison became a centre for sex offenders. It is currently used as a Top End for prisoners who have moved through the internal progression system. It has space for 10 prisoners. Prisoners who are located in the Unit have to be approved, after assessment, by the Risk Management Group as part of the internal progression system.

2.24 The conditions in the Unit are better than in the four large Halls. All cells have electrical power, a sink and a toilet. There is no graffiti or litter. Prisoners have their own key to open and lock the cell door. However, some prisoners store a lot of property in their cells (see also paragraph 2.19). Cell windows offer adequate ventilation. Mattresses and bedding are in good condition and prisoners can launder their own clothes.

2.25 Recreation consists of board games, in cell or communal television, personal computer games, DVDs and darts. Prisoners also have access to their own kitchen.


2.26 The kitchen is clean and staff and prisoners wear appropriate clothing. Some of the equipment is old, but is replaced when necessary. The kitchen employs 26 prisoners, four of whom have registered with the Scottish Qualifications Authority for an SVQ in food preparation and hospitality. At the time of inspection no prisoners had gained any qualifications in catering.

2.27 A food focus group is in place. This had lapsed for a while but now plans to meet on a quarterly basis. The group provides prisoners with an opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions. The minutes of these meetings indicate that catering staff are receptive to suggestions. Complaints are dealt with through the formal complaints system.

2.28 A five week rolling menu is in place and all prisoners make their choice three weeks in advance. Healthy choices are available and all special diets can be met.

2.29 In general, the quality of the food is good. In most cases prisoners confirmed that they were content with the quality, choice and size of portions. However, they did state that the quality had in their view deteriorated since the introduction of standardised recipes by SPS. In particular prisoners say the standard of breakfast has worsened in quantity and quality. The kitchen cooks most of the food from fresh and buys in as few pre cooked items as possible.

2.30 During the week prisoners receive breakfast at 07.30hrs. Lunch is served in the Halls at 12.00hrs and the evening meal is served at 17.00hrs. At the weekend prisoners receive a continental breakfast at 08.00hrs. Lunch is served at 11.45hrs and the evening meal is served at 16.45hrs. A pack including milk, sugar and biscuits is also issued at the weekends. The food is transported to the Halls in heated trolleys, but it is kept in these for as short a period as possible and the quality of the food is still good when it is served.

2.31 Duty managers taste the food in the kitchen on a regular basis. They do not taste the food at the points of serving.


2.32 The canteen operates a 'bag and tag' system and the arrangement works well. It stocks a good range of items including greetings cards marking family, religious and cultural events. The prices are competitive.

2.33 A Canteen Committee meets quarterly and these meetings are minuted. Prisoners from each Hall attend as well as staff from throughout the prison. The committee meetings are a useful way for prisoners to make suggestions and express their views on prices and the system in general.

Clothing and Laundry

2.34 The laundry is clean and employs up to 12 prisoners. However, there are no vocational training opportunities for prisoners working in the laundry.

2.35 The arrangements generally for clothing and laundry are very good. All newly admitted prisoners are issued with a new mattress and clean sheets and pillow cases. Prisoners can use their own quilt, pillows and sheets if they wish. All clothing issued by the prison is of a good standard and is personally labelled. This ensures that prisoners always get their own clothes back from the laundry. Prisoners can have their clothes laundered as often as they want and the laundry instructor carries out a quality check for each Hall before the laundered items are returned. No prisoners complained about the service provided by the laundry.



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

3.1 The prison is safe for both prisoners and staff.

Security and Safety

3.2 There have been no escapes from Peterhead since the last full inspection.

3.3 In 2008-09 there were no serious prisoner-on-prisoner assaults. In 2009-10 there was one. There were 15 minor prisoner-on-prisoner assaults in 2008-09 which increased to 28 in 2009-10. The reasons for this rise in assaults should be examined. In 2009-10 there was one minor assault on staff. Despite the increase in the level of minor assaults last year, prisoners perceive themselves to be much safer in Peterhead than they would be in any other prison.

3.4 The prison displays notices describing the prison's "Zero Tolerance" stance on violence. There is a good understanding of, and adherence to, this throughout the prison by both prisoners and staff. This is an area of good practice.

3.5 Peterhead has no dedicated Segregation Unit but reserves four cells outwith the main accommodation areas for the infrequent occasions on which a prisoner may require to be removed from association for short periods because of his behaviour. Over the last year, these cells have been used on only a couple of occasions.

3.6 The age of the prison and the lack of appropriate investment over many years has resulted in a physical deterioration in the fabric of the estate. This has presented a significant challenge to successive Governors in terms of maintaining physical security standards in a prison which accommodates high supervision prisoners. Although investment has been made recently to improve some of the security infrastructure there is scope for further improvement. A number of areas for remedial action related to physical security and to intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination have been drawn to the attention of the Governor.

3.7 The prison has a comprehensive search policy in place which covers all relevant areas and people. For the most part search records are well maintained.

3.8 In 2008-09 there was one death in custody and three in 2009-10. All three from 2009 are still subject to a Fatal Accident Inquiry ( FAI).

Supervision Levels

3.9 The Prisoner Supervision System ( PSS) process complies with national standards and timescales. Prisoners have sight of and sign the relevant documentation relating to their supervision level. The outcomes are recorded on the electronic SPS Prisoner Records System ( PR2).

3.10 All PSS reviews are generated by the Integrated Case Management office. All prisoners are reviewed on an annual basis. This allows account to be taken of any special circumstances which a prisoner may have. Personal Officers in the Halls are involved in the process and communicate decisions to the prisoner as well as finalising the document by obtaining his signature.

3.11 The transfer of information from the PSS reviews to PR2 is good.

Escort Handover Procedures

3.12 The only prisoners who leave the prison under escort are those being transferred to another establishment; are attending a medical appointment; or are making a court appearance. They all receive their prescribed medication prior to leaving the prison. Prisoners leaving the prison early in the morning have the opportunity to have a shower before departure. Prisoners on escort have the same opportunity for breakfast as other prisoners.

3.13 The observed interactions between escort staff and prisoners were appropriate. All vehicles inspected were clean and had water, food and first aid kits on board. Most prisoners spoken to at the prison and in the court cells said that they had heard the safety message before the journey started. All prisoners spoken to knew their destination and approximately how long the journey would last.

3.14 The information contained in the Personal Escort Record ( PER) was appropriate on leaving the prison or police station and on return. There are good informal exchanges of information between prison reception staff and escort staff.

3.15 All prisoners arriving at Peterhead are transferred from other establishments, none arrive direct from an initial court hearing. It was noted that one prisoner who was transferred from HMP Dumfries and another from HMYOI Polmont had not alighted from the vehicle at all during their journeys. These are long journeys especially considering that the vehicle from Polmont called at Glenochil and Aberdeen to transfer other prisoners. In both cases a lunch and water had been provided. Escort staff should ensure that appropriate comfort breaks are given to prisoners on long journeys.

3.16 The prison provides a meal for prisoners regardless of the time of arrival.

Admission Procedures

3.17 Peterhead mainly accepts prisoners from Barlinnie, Edinburgh and Perth. Dumfries holds sex offenders who refuse to engage in sex offender programmes or to address their offending behaviour. As a result there are often transfers between these two prisons if prisoners change their decision about participating.

3.18 The transfer of prisoners is managed by residential managers in Peterhead who take care to prioritise prisoners with urgent or particular needs. For example, an admission check list takes into account information such as Tribunal dates, attitude to interventions and the recommendations of the last Tribunal. The transfer arrangements are very well managed.

3.19 The reception process is carried out by one officer. A passman helps out with property. The Gate Officer registers prisoners' details on the computer system which takes away some of the pressure in reception.

3.20 The reception area itself is small. The reception officer has a work station but there is also a ' BOSS Chair' 1 in this area which adds to the cramped feel. When prisoners are admitted they are placed in a small communal holding room. There are some prisoner information notices on display and a comprehensive file of translated information for prisoners whose first language is not English. This is an area of good practice.

3.21 A warrant check, the Personal Escort Record and a suicide risk management ( ACT2Care) interview are carried out immediately. However, the prisoner was not searched until all of the other parts of the reception process were carried out during the reception process observed by inspectors, and the prisoner was not asked to sit on the BOSS chair.

3.22 The ACT2Care interview takes place in a small room that doubles up as a medical inspection room. This part of the process is another example of staff making best use of the space available. The interview takes place out of sight and hearing of the passman and any other people who may be there. It is conducted in a calm environment and all receptions, regardless of the length of time it takes, have the chance to talk.

3.23 Cash and personal property are opened and checked in the presence of the prisoner, who then signs for receipt.

3.24 Most prisoners are allowed to keep their own clothing, but if they do not want to do this, property is stored in reception. The amount of property being held in reception is excessive . The packets in which valuable property is placed are not sealed, and packets can be easily opened and items removed.

3.25 Once all of these processes have been carried out the Health Centre is contacted and a nurse attends to complete the medical assessment. This interview takes place in the same room that the ACT2Care interview is held, which is quiet and private.

3.26 There is no prisoner telephone in reception but a telephone credit of 30p is given automatically and each reception is located in B Hall Annex where telephones are readily accessed.

3.27 Apart from the fact that searching the prisoner is left to the end, the reception process works well despite the limitations of the building.

First Night in the Prison

3.28 All new prisoners are located in B Hall Annex where the first night process takes place. There is a comprehensive checklist of items which staff go through with all prisoners before they are locked up for the night. Items on the checklist include how to operate the chemical toilets; how to summon help; the fire procedures; and visiting arrangements.

Induction Procedures

3.29 All new prisoners attend an induction programme in B Hall Annex. A translator can be brought in if required. As well as the translated national induction programme there are also translations, produced by staff, which cover local issues.

3.30 The induction process is a rolling programme over 12 weeks. There is also written information describing the facts that are presented during the induction presentations. Listeners deliver a session and programmes staff also explain what is available. There is no input from senior managers to the induction programme.

3.31 The core screen is completed as part of induction the day after admission. Officers use a private room where a good quality assessment is carried out in safe surroundings.

3.32 There is a well-structured approach to delivering induction and prisoners were appreciative of the approach which staff take. Feedback from prisoners was that reception, the first night arrangements and the induction processes were very effective in helping them settle in.


3.33 Internal progression is based on supervision level, response to addressing offending behaviour and the potential for further movement to a national Top End or the Open Estate. Personal Officers and the ICM process are the key ways in which progression is managed. However, Personal Officers are not receiving sufficient training for the role and feel undervalued in the ICM process, leaving some prisoners with a poor view of Personal Officers. The managers in charge of training are aware of this gap.

3.34 Progression means a move from B Hall Annex to one of the main Halls, then to 'E' Hall and then to the Unit. If appropriate, further progression is then possible to one of the national Top Ends or the Open Estate.

3.35 To move to E Hall or the Unit a prisoner has to be low supervision; be eligible under the SPS "Management Rule" 2; have completed all relevant group work; been free from Governor's reports in the preceding three months; not had any closed visits for three months; and have at least one negative and no positive drug test results in the previous three months. The SPS risk management processes are in place for national progression.

3.36 The regime in E Hall offers access to some of the better jobs in the prison and to 24 hour access to sanitation. The accommodation is of a good standard.

3.37 Similar conditions apply in the Unit but the accommodation is located away from the main Halls. This offers a certain level of freedom to make use of the grounds as well as the internal areas. The prisoners in the Unit generally hold the most trusted positions which allows them to have a greater amount of freedom throughout the establishment. It does not offer work placements in the community following protracted negotiations over the years with the community. The Unit offers a particularly useful step in the progression process:

  • It gives an added incentive to sex offenders where this would not be available in other prisons.
  • It acts as an added part of the assessment process prior to prisoners moving to a Top End or the Open Estate.
  • It provides an opportunity for prisoners to be tested on Special Escorted Leaves in the community.

3.38 Due to a recent changeover in staff, not all Officers and Managers involved in the process had the opportunity to visit the national Top Ends and Open Estate at the time of the inspection. Unit staff did not know what the Top Ends or Open Estate could offer. Similarly, no members of staff from the Open Estate or Top Ends had visited Peterhead. Consequently, there is little understanding of what happens to a sex offender when he leaves Peterhead. Some prisoners expressed concern that progression meant having to move out of the safe environment of Peterhead into the uncertainty of a prison where they would be mixing with mainstream prisoners. There were no transfers to Top Ends or the Open Estate in 2009. There have been nine transfers since January 2010. It is recommended that staff involved in preparing prisoners for a move out of Peterhead, or to Peterhead from other establishments, have a full understanding of the issues involved and that prisoners are comprehensively prepared for transfer.

Suicide Risk Management

3.39 One of the three deaths in custody in 2009-10 may be attributed to suicide but the FAI is still outstanding. In 2010 to the time of the inspection nine prisoners have been managed under the suicide risk management ( ACT2Care) process.

3.40 There are two ACT2Care trainers in the establishment. The statistics show 93% of staff have completed the mandatory e-learning training and 73% have completed the classroom based part of the training. The ACT2Care co-ordinator is very pro-active and participates in the audit process and training.

3.41 The ACT2Care Co-ordinator has developed a system for following up prisoners who have previously been on ACT2Care. This helps in auditing each ACT2Care episode to ensure compliance with the process.

3.42 There is a local ACT2Care Group which is chaired by the Deputy Governor and is well attended by a range of functions including psychology and social work. The Listeners also attend. There are currently seven Listeners in Peterhead. Listeners are prisoners who are trained by the Samaritans to support prisoners who may be vulnerable or at risk of self harm. Two have been in place for two years and the other five completed their training in the two months prior to the Inspection. The Listeners meet with the Samaritans once a month and they meet regularly with the Listener Co-ordinator. They feel well supported.

Night Duty

3.43 One manager and seven officers are on duty during the night. All staff spoken to understood their role and its importance with regard to the security of the prison and the safety of the prisoners. All were confident about emergency procedures. A system is in place where new officers shadow all of the available posts before taking up the post themselves. This is an area of good practice.

3.44 Although the night duty instructions require some updating they are user friendly and easily accessible.

Staff Training and Development

3.45 The training department comprises a full-time staff training officer. This team is supported by trainers from various parts of the prison who deliver the core training. A training strategy document sets out priorities. A matrix called "Talent Watch" highlights the differences between performance and potential and how training and development needs can be assessed and addressed.

3.46 Staff attendance rotas are organised so that training can be delivered every Friday afternoon. The establishment meets its targets for core competency training.

3.47 The delivery of training and development of staff has improved over the last year. A training needs analysis identified gaps in three areas which are now being addressed:

  • Preparing people for specific roles
  • Succession planning
  • First Line Manager training

3.48 However, there is a lack of training to help staff cope with the risks of collusion and conditioning by prisoners. There is also no universal sex offender awareness and education training for staff working with sex offenders.

3.49 The facilities available to staff for training are very good. In particular the purpose built Control and Restraint training suite is an example of good practice.

3.50 There are good arrangements in place for induction training. The process is coordinated by the training officer and ensures that a tailored programme is in place for all new entrants.

3.51 Peterhead has addressed shortfalls in the national SPS training provision such as developing training for newly promoted C to D and D to E band officers. The training packs are comprehensive and appreciated by those who have used them. The progress on core training and specialised training is impressive.

3.52 Given the nature of the prisoner population in Peterhead and the fact that children are involved in visits it is of considerable importance that child protection training is available to all appropriate staff. Eighty three per cent of operations staff have received training locally in the past and this training requires to be refreshed. At a minimum, all operations staff working in the visits room should receive up to date child protection training.

Health and Safety

3.53 Responsibility for oversight and co-ordination of Health and Safety and fire prevention lies with the Head of Estates and the part-time Health and Safety Co-ordinator. The local Health and Safety Committee, chaired by the Governor, is the forum in which relevant matters are discussed and actioned as appropriate. There is also a Health Protection and Sanitation Committee in operation and the prison has trained a number of cleaning 'champions'.

3.54 The health and safety challenge in Peterhead is a significant one given the age and poor condition of much of the estate. The volume of maintenance and repair work is high. Historical shortfalls in resources, some skills and data recording systems has resulted in both the Head of Estates and the Health and Safety Co-ordinator carrying significant workloads. There has consequently been some erosion in planned maintenance.

3.55 However, the Health and Safety team is progressing a programme of local audit and risk and hazard identification. Safe systems of work are now available for most areas and risk assessments are reviewed on an annual basis but with managers undertaking interim checks monthly and quarterly. All staff have responsibility for maintaining safe practices across the prison.

3.56 Between April 2009 and May 2010 there were 38 minor accidents (17 staff and 19 prisoners) and seven accidents (six staff and one prisoner) which required to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive.

3.57 As a result of a change in SPS policy no independent audit of the prison's Health and Safety practices has taken place for a number of years as the SPS Health and Safety Adviser no longer undertakes this role. Professional audit has been replaced by safety support visits supplemented by compliance checklists available to all prisons via the Prison Resource Library. The latter arrangements assume that local staff have the knowledge, skill and experience to identify and address all of the complex legislative requirements. In the case of Peterhead, there are training gaps which would need to be filled before a reasonable level of assurance could be given. It is recommended that SPS considers reinstating independent professional Health and Safety audits of all establishments.

3.58 The Head of Estates and the Health and Safety Co-ordinator also have responsibility for fire safety and there is a fire safety action plan in place. A review of fire signage was in progress and a fire simulator has been purchased which will allow full fire extinguisher training to be carried out for all staff.

3.59 In summary, significant efforts are being made to meet all of the requisite standards in relation to Health and Safety and Fire Safety. However, given the volume of work the Health and Safety Co-ordinator role needs to be undertaken on a full time basis and both this post holder and the Head of Estates require support from local management to fund relevant professional training and allow time to undertake it.



Prisoners are treated with respect by staff.

4.1 Relationships between prisoners and staff are very 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 treated well by escort staff. The conditions in Banff and Peterhead Sheriff courts are acceptable.


4.3 Relationships between prison staff and prisoners are very good. Escort staff also display good interpersonal skills and consideration of the needs of prisoners. The SPS Prisoner Survey indicates that 94% of prisoners said they got on ok, well or very well with prison staff. The figure for escort staff was 71%.

4.4 There are good channels of communication throughout the prison, particularly in the Halls. This is demonstrated in areas such as provision of feedback to staff from senior management meetings, as well as in other indicators such as the wearing of name badges; the cooperation between ICM, interventions, activities and Hall staff; and the understanding demonstrated by staff of local and national issues.

Banff Sheriff Court

4.5 There is no secure area for prisoners to disembark from escort vehicles. Staff have to park in the main street and escort prisoners through public areas to reach the cells. Despite the physical limitations the security processes in place ensures that the delivery of prisoners is carried out safely.

4.6 The Court has one cell which can hold up to eight prisoners. A secure interview area can be used to segregate sex offenders from other prisoners. Staff are aware of the limitations of the accommodation and take appropriate steps to ensure that things run smoothly. The rooms themselves are in a reasonable condition, although the cell has no natural light and neither room has CCTV installed. The police station is close and there is a good relationship between the courts, police and escort staff who work together to ensure that any problems that may occur do not interfere with the running of the court.

4.7 The area immediately around the cells is a public area but there are plans to make this more secure. A security door should be installed between the cells and the public area.

4.8 There is one toilet which prisoners have to ask to use. There is a sink and good hand washing facilities with a soap dispenser and paper towels.

4.9 There are good exchanges of information between prison, police and escort staff using the Personal Escort Record ( PER) form.

4.10 Fire evacuation procedures involve returning prisoners to the escort vehicle which is parked outside the court building. Solicitors are able to speak to their clients in the interview room. Arrangements for medical support are in place. All escort staff are trained in first aid. This is an area of good practice.

4.11 Drinking water is available and regular hot drinks are served throughout the day. Sandwiches and crisps are served at lunch time. Special dietary needs can be accommodated.

Peterhead Sheriff Court

4.12 There is no secure area for prisoners to disembark. Escort staff should be aware that members of the public can easily access the disembarking process. A security issue was pointed out during the inspection.

4.13 The reception process takes place in the first room that prisoners enter. It is separate from the cells and affords a good facility for confidentiality and for appropriate searching to be carried out. There is a secure storage area for property and the handover of information is good.

4.14 There are three small cells in Peterhead Sheriff Court. There is no natural light in any of the cells and although the fabric of the cells is acceptable there is a lot of graffiti on the walls and ceilings. The segregation of different categories of prisoners and males from females is difficult. There is a good relationship with the nearby police station should assistance be needed in housing prisoners.

4.15 There is no CCTV in the cells, only in the corridor. The provision for lawyers is good: two rooms are purpose built. The rooms ensure confidentiality and safety. There is one toilet which is appropriately equipped for male and female prisoners. Fire evacuation procedures are in place and understood by all staff.

4.16 Arrangements for medical support are in place. All escort staff are trained in first aid. This is an area of good practice.

4.17 Drinking water is available and a hot drink is served at regular intervals. A meal is served at lunchtime.

Equality and Diversity

4.18 At the time of inspection, the prison held one deaf prisoner. A number of measures have been put in place to assist this person including provision for a "Type Talk" telephone. In addition there is also a rolling programme of British Sign Language awareness training whereby a number of prisoners and staff are now trained in basic sign language. This is an area of good practice.

4.19 Regular Equality and Diversity meetings are held. Grampian Regional Equality Council attend these meetings and provide a source of advice and support in this area. In addition, one Manager and one Officer are members of the Grampian Regional Equality Council Committee.

4.20 On admission, prisoners are informed of the work of the Equality and Diversity team and one member of the team will meet prisoners within 72 hours. The team is made aware of all foreign national admissions.


4.21 The searching of prisoners and cells is carried out in a respectful manner. All searching documentation was complete and the prison's search policy meets national standards. Random searching of staff takes place, although the Metal Detector Portal is not used in the staff searching process. A number of issues relating to searching and other security matters were drawn to the attention of the Governor.



Good contact with family and friends is maintained.

5.1 Efforts are made by prison staff to help prisoners maintain contact with families and friends, although the location of the prison makes visiting difficult for some. There is no dedicated visits staff group.

Family Strategy

5.2 The prison does not have a written family strategy, but does refer to the SPS guidelines for Children and Families. An information pack for visitors is available and there is information relating to visits posted on notice boards in the visits area. Travelling to Peterhead by public transport can be time consuming and costly, although a SACRO bus does run from Glasgow on one Saturday each month. The prison carried out a Visitors' Survey in 2009 and plans to do this every year. The survey covers areas such as how visitors travel to the prison, the Assisted Travel Scheme and the provision and variety of refreshments during visits. A Children and Families Development Group is held on a quarterly basis. This Group considers issues such as visit uptake, complaints and family involvement in Integrated Case Management. Families Outside (with whom the prison has good links) attend these meetings.

5.3 Eight staff are designated as Family Contact Officers, although none is full-time and the role seems to exist in name only. No visitors spoken to knew what the FCOs did or had any contact with them. The role of the Family Contact Officer should be reinvigorated.

5.4 The visits role is an Operations function and there are no dedicated visits staff. Operations staff rotate duties between visits, the Gate and night shift, the result of which is that they do not have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge over a sustained period of time in one area. Consistency of visits staff is important to enable them to get to know prisoners' visitors, to ensure the provision of consistent advice and support to them and to build up an effective security focus.


5.5 Visits take place at the following times:


13.45hrs to 15.30hrs

19.00hrs to 20.30hrs

Saturday and Sunday

14.00hrs to 16.00hrs

5.6 There are two visits areas. The main visits room which is located in the main Gate area is used during the week. An 'overspill' room in the education unit is also used at the weekends when most visits are booked. The fact that visitors have to be escorted through the prison to this overspill room raises security issues. Children are never taken into the prison for visits in the overspill room. The process for receiving visitors works well, although the vestibule area is too small for the reception process. Once through security visitors are escorted into one of two portacabins which are used as waiting areas. There is no Visitors Centre.

5.7 The main visits room is small but functional. A vending machine provides hot and cold drinks and snacks. The overspill visits room is also functional and visitors also have access to refreshments.

5.8 Visitors spoken to were content with the way in which they were treated, and although some said they would prefer not to have to travel long distances, they balanced this against the increased risk of sex offenders being assaulted by other prisoners in mainstream prisons. They said that they were treated with respect by staff.


5.9 A comprehensive information pack is available for visitors. This pack includes amongst other things prison contact details; the location of the prison; accommodation in the Peterhead area; entitlements; and visiting times. Information is also available on notice boards.


5.10 Prisoners can send as many letters as they can afford and there is no limit to the number they can receive. There is adequate telephone provision.



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

6.1 Prisoners have very good access to legal entitlements including the Prison Rules and legal text books.

Legal Entitlements

6.2 Prisoners have very good access to legal entitlements including access to the Prison Rules, legal text books and human rights literature. The library is easy to access and all prisoners who were asked knew where to obtain information. The protocol for dealing with privileged correspondence from solicitors has been developed into a very robust procedure.

6.3 Legal visits are facilitated by using appropriate rooms in the visits area. Video conferencing is also available to ensure that legal representation is maintained.

Management of Disciplinary Procedures

6.4 At the disciplinary 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 and a copy of the Prison Rules was available. Whenever possible, the reporting officer attends the hearing regardless of the plea offered by the prisoner. All members of staff were seated for the hearings. All prisoners found guilty were informed of the route of appeal before they left the hearing.

6.5 Disciplinary paperwork is completed appropriately and First Line Managers conduct a quality check on the charge and evidence. This is an area of good practice. The process followed and the reasons for decisions and awards were understood by prisoners.

6.6 There are on average 25 hearings a month, which is low compared to other establishments. An average of 9% of hearings result in a not guilty or case dismissed verdict.

Religious Observance

6.7 The chaplaincy team comprises a full-time Church of Scotland chaplain and a part-time Roman Catholic Deacon. Ministers from other denominations also visit the prison. These resources are shared with HMP Aberdeen.

6.8 A Roman Catholic service is held at 14.00hrs on a Friday and a Church of Scotland service at 08.30hrs every Sunday. Muslim prisoners are able see an Imam and attend weekly prayers on a Friday. Muslim prisoners felt that they had been well treated during Ramadan.

6.9 The chaplains are well integrated into the life of the prison, and attend ACT2Care Case Conferences and mental health meetings. They also hold monthly chaplaincy meetings to ensure that prisoners are included in decision making about provision for religious observance. This is an area of good practice.

Visiting Committee

6.10 The Visiting Committee felt that the prison was doing the best it could given the fabric of the building. Since the announcement was made that a new prison was to be built it was important to keep staff morale up until it opened. Staff were coping well with the uncertainty.

Prisoner Complaints Procedure

6.11 Complaint forms are on display in all of the Halls and prisoners can access them at any time when unlocked. They are also encouraged to discuss issues with their Personal Officer to try and resolve an issue quickly. There is an easy to understand flow chart which explains the complaints processes.

6.12 A review of complaints paperwork indicated timely and appropriate responses. The Internal Complaints Committee meets every week. Prisoner complaints are given careful consideration and detailed reasons are given for decisions.

6.13 There were over 600 complaints raised between April 2009 and April 2010. Of these 168 were confidential access to the Governor, 92 were about medical issues and 17 were appeals against disciplinary hearing findings. The rest were general complaints such as property, access to work, access to visits and facilities.

6.14 The prisoner complaints procedure operates effectively and the system is transparent and fair.

Management of Segregation

6.15 There is no dedicated Segregation Unit in Peterhead, although there are two cells above the Health Centre which can be used for prisoners who need to be removed from normal circulation. There is a sink and toilet in these cells and there is adequate natural light and ventilation. There is no electric power but hot water is provided in flasks should anyone be held in the area for more than a few hours.

6.16 The cells are rarely used, but when they are there is good access to a telephone and to visits, showers, gym and exercise.



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

7.1 There is a limited range of vocational and educational qualifications available and poor linkages between the two. There is no overall local Learning, Skills and Employability Strategy in place. However, the prison is meeting its targets and prisoners are content with the opportunities available. The prison has introduced an innovative recycling work party and provision of PT is very good.


7.2 The contract to deliver education in Peterhead prison is held by Motherwell College. The College's target for offender learning hours is 20,000 per annum and the Learning Centre usually exceeds this target. The provision is managed by a Learning Centre manager and a team of staff. SPS delivers a range of vocational training programmes and work parties. These are taught by full-time prison officer instructors in the production and vocational training workshops.

Access to Learning, Skills and Employability Provision

7.3 During the inspection an average of 53% of prisoners were out of the Halls engaged in constructive activity during the day. Sixty prisoners were also engaged in hall passman duties. Only 69 prisoners were not involved in some form of activity.

7.4 In the Learning Centre and workshops and production workshops there are nine sessions available during the week. On arrival at the prison and during their induction process, prisoners undertake the SPS alerting tool which is used to determine whether a prisoner needs to be engaged to be assessed using the SQA Screening and Leveling Tool to gauge their level of literacy and numeracy skills and to ascertain which programmes they are prepared to engage in. However, this alerting tool is limited and does not offer a realistic assessment of the levels of prisoner literacy or numeracy without referral to the SQA Screening and Leveling Tool. The alerting tool should be replaced.

7.5 After this process, prisoners receive a prospectus for the Learning Centre and are interviewed individually by the Learning Centre Manager. Prisoners are also made aware of the type of vocational programmes and work party duties available. The range of opportunities includes jobs in the production workshops for grounds management, joinery and textile activities and vocational training in bricklaying and carpentry. There is also employment in a recycling and waste management project. Prisoners engage in the British Institute of Cleaning Services ( BICS) and the prison will shortly commence the Scottish Vocational Qualifications in catering and horticulture. Employment and vocational training opportunities are promoted on notice boards and through discussions with Personal Officers.

7.6 Attendance by prisoners at education classes does not affect their work payment for their other jobs and also includes a small incentive payment.

7.7 In the Learning Centre the types of programmes delivered include communications classes which cover Access 2 to Level 6. The highest level was introduced to allow prisoners to progress to Open University level courses. Ten prisoners were undertaking an Open University programme. Numeracy and mathematics programmes range from Access 2 up to and including Higher Mathematics. There are numerous Creative Arts and Drama Group activities and prisoners undertake Information Technology classes.

7.8 The Learning Centre contributes to the prison's 'Gala Week' at which the range of education provision is showcased to the prisoners. These include the introduction of skills such as problem-solving and working with others.

7.9 The target average hours per annum is 10,000 hours per production workshop, with certification undertaken in three: joinery and carpentry, bricklaying and horticulture. The prison target for certification is 250 certificates per year but this target is regularly exceeded. For example 400 certificates were achieved last year.

7.10 However, the range of different levels in the certificates delivered in the workshop is narrow. In vocational training, prisoners currently have no opportunity to progress to a higher level upon completion of their programme. The constraints of imprisonment and the inability to progress qualifications through associated work placements limits the level of qualification opportunities available to prisoners.

7.11 The gymnasium delivers classes to prisoners seven days per week. The classes range from beginners classes to more advanced programmes. Gym staff deliver classes to those prisoners over the age of 55 which helps to generate interest and introduce physical education to this age group. This is an area of good practice. Gym staff deliver the Prison Sports Leader Award to prisoners and this programme has high levels of attainment. The gym facility uses a range of modern equipment and is a very welcoming facility. It is busy at peak times but staff have devised a series of programmes to ensure activity is spread throughout the week. Prisoners have few problems gaining access to equipment and almost all prisoners are satisfied with the standard of the gym.

7.12 The gym staff link well with nursing staff in the Health Centre. They hold joint meetings and nursing staff recommend prisoners who would benefit from physical exercise to gym staff. There are two activities each year in which nursing and gym staff work together to promote healthy lifestyles and physical exercise for prisoners and staff. These sessions are very helpful at identifying health issues and planning healthy activities in the gym. The link with the Health Centre is an area of good practice.

7.13 A small but adequate library is located within the Learning Centre. It is maintained by a passman who ensures that the library is clean and tidy and that good electronic records are kept and logs of usage are generated.

Delivery of Learning

7.14 Staff in the Learning Centre, gymnasium and workshops are well qualified and experienced. Almost all staff were well prepared for their activities and had detailed teaching plans for their activities. However, in more than a few cases the teaching materials were dated and insufficiently stimulating.

7.15 Much of the learning and teaching observed was based upon a demonstration by the teachers followed by one-to-one support as prisoners worked their way through tasks. The standard approach was one where prisoners worked independently through course materials and asked for support and clarification when they encountered something where they needed advice. This approach serves prisoners well and they were motivated and engaged in their programmes.

7.16 Staff delivering certificates in the workshops helped prisoners develop a good range of skills. Because these programmes had limited progression, staff helped prisoners develop skills well beyond the levels of competence required for their programmes.

7.17 Prisoners on the innovative recycling programme produce a database of how much waste is produced by the prison each day. For example, during the inspection inspectors found that 29% of prison waste was made available for recycling. Prisoners log the waste management generated by each Hall and provide a data set that demonstrates the notional savings the prison has made each month, the recycled products by weight and monthly rankings of the Halls with prizes for the Hall with best recyclable waste management performance. The instructor on this programme has established the waste management work party in the prison and is very proactive in the development of this ground-breaking course. This recycling programme and the statistical analysis for the Recycle Centre is an area of good practice.

Prisoner Learning Experiences

7.18 The accommodation in the Learning Centre consists of the library, a computing suite and two multi-purpose classrooms. These rooms provide a comfortable and relaxed environment for learning, but they are small so the number of prisoners who can benefit from education programmes is limited.

7.19 The Learning Centre has few displays of prisoner work or achievements on the walls. In the workshops prisoners produce high quality woodwork and carpentry products and the prison is considering placing some of these products in the Learning Centre for holding plants to brighten up the area.

7.20 There are good, if dated, resources in the workshops, but prisoners make good use of modern equipment as is available. Prison staff maintain older machinery to good order and these machines work very well.

7.21 Prisoners are motivated, engaged in their lessons and are progressing well. Staff in the Learning Centre provide effective support for prisoners. Prisoners on vocational programmes can access courses in the Learning Centre with no reduction in their basic wage. However, staff in the Learning Centre do not work with staff in the workshops to deliver contextualised literacy and numeracy skills in a way which is relevant to the vocational skills they are developing.

7.22 There are good relations between staff and prisoners. Prisoners show commitment and motivation during their activities and they actively develop good levels of skills and knowledge. In the workshops, prisoners develop their employability skills and work well with other prisoners in teams or independently. On the BICS programme two prisoners are trained assessors and support and encourage their peers through the programme.


7.23 There are high levels of attainment in the prison. In the Learning Centre prisoners have good support from staff and sufficient opportunities to gain their awards. However, the Learning Centre does not have examples of prisoner work on display nor evidence of celebrating achievement such as prisoner certificates, prominently exhibited.

7.24 There are high levels of attainment in the workshops. In the joinery workshop there were examples of very high quality finished products prisoners had produced from their programme.

7.25 In the gymnasium, prisoners on the Prison Sports Leader Award had very high levels of attainment. In addition many prisoners were gaining in self-confidence by accessing the gym in activities that were appropriate to their abilities.

Ethos and Values

7.26 Overall there are positive and respectful relationships between staff and prisoners. In the workshops instructors ensure that groups are busy and involved in purposeful activity. Occasionally there is discontinuity between contracts and there is some down time, but staff work hard to ensure there are sufficient activities available throughout the week.

7.27 The Learning Centre manager is involved in the prison's pre-release group which meets about four times each year and provides very practical advice and training for prisoners as they prepare for release.

Quality Assurance

7.28 Learning Centre staff utilise quality assurance procedures developed by Motherwell College. However they do not systematically utilise self-evaluation procedures to reflect on what worked well in programmes and to establish a plan for improvement with actions necessary to bring about these improvements.

7.29 Staff in the workshops are involved in internal and external verification procedures with external agencies and this is their main mechanism for improvement. There are regular discussions in staff meetings about how best to use the limited resources available.



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 The Healthcare Team provides a wide range of clinics for prisoners with long-term conditions. Medical cover is good as is the provision of mental health services: the number of staff trained in Mental Health First Aid far exceeds any other establishment.

Physical Environment

8.2 The Health Centre is located beside the main exercise area and is easily accessed from all residential areas. All consulting and clinical areas are located on the ground floor and are accessible to prisoners with disabilities. There is a treatment room, dental suite, consulting room and a large room for group work. Each of the areas is spacious, clean and well equipped although there are no computers in any of these areas to access electronic records. There is a good variety of Health Promotion materials on display and available in the Health Centre.

8.3 There are two rooms in the Health Centre for prisoners with disabilities. These are adequately equipped and spacious enough to accommodate someone in a wheelchair. The wardrobe door doubles as a privacy screen but it is difficult to operate from a wheelchair. There is also an adapted shower within the Health Centre which can be used by prisoners with disabilities.

8.4 There are two safer cells located in the Health Centre which are used to accommodate prisoners who are assessed as being at a high risk of self-harm or suicide.

Healthcare Team

8.5 There are four full-time equivalent nurses, with a Clinical Manager in charge and a healthcare support post split between healthcare administration and pharmacy assistance. Three of the nurses are primary care nurses and one works in both primary care and mental health. All staff have been in post for between three and eight years.

8.6 The Clinical Manager works Monday to Friday and provides day-to-day management of the Health Centre and clinics. The healthcare team provides a full range of services including long-term conditions clinics and smoking cessation.

8.7 Prisoners are mainly satisfied with the healthcare provision in Peterhead. The medical prisoner complaints forms are readily available in the Halls. There were 92 complaints in 2009-10. These complaints relate mainly to dental services and medication issues.

Primary Healthcare

8.8 The primary care team offers a wide range of long-term conditions clinics including diabetes, hypertension, respiratory, cardiac and care of the elderly. There is also evidence of partnership working with NHS Grampian who provide the Hepatitis C clinics. Three prisoners have commenced Hepatitis C treatment. Healthcare staff report good support from catering and operations staff for prisoners receiving treatment.

8.9 Healthcare services are covered as part of the induction process and prisoners receive an information sheet on the services available.

8.10 Medical cover is provided through a private company, MEDACS, who in turn have contracted with a Peterhead Medical Practice which consists of twelve doctors. There are three regular Doctors who attend but any of the other Doctors in the practice will provide cover. Clinics are provided three days each week. The Doctors will usually see prisoners within 48 hours for urgent referrals and within seven days for all others. Both the Healthcare Team and the Doctors feel the current arrangement for medical cover meets the needs of the population and is consistent with the medical services provided in the community. There has only been one recorded prisoner complaint regarding the medical service to date in 2010.

8.11 Prisoners who require transfer to hospital or an outpatient appointment will attend either Peterhead or Aberdeen hospital. On the day of inspection a prisoner was unable to attend an outpatient appointment as the escort provider failed to turn up on time. Healthcare staff advised that this was the second time this had happened that week and one prisoner had been unable to attend for three hospital appointments in a two week period because the escort provider had failed to turn up on time. This is unacceptable and should be addressed.

8.12 The dental suite is well equipped and clean. There have been recent changes to the Dental contract and a new dentist started work at the end of 2009. He provides a dental clinic one day a fortnight and is addressing long waiting lists which existed prior to 2010.

8.13 The optician attends the prison one day a month. The room provided is adequate for this service. The waiting list is approximately one month.

8.14 The podiatrist attends the prison once a fortnight. There is currently no waiting list.

Mental Health Services

8.15 The Mental Health team receives six or seven referrals each week and prisoners with non-urgent referrals can wait several weeks to be seen by the mental health nurse. This waiting list should be addressed.

8.16 Medical provision for mental health is provided by six psychiatrists from Royal Cornhill Hospital ( RCH) in Aberdeen. They provide one session per week and work on a six week rotational basis. The psychiatrist will see an average of four patients per session. There is evidence that the psychiatrists are resistant to seeing another colleague's patients even when it has been identified by the Mental Health Team that the prisoner requires to be seen. There are also concerns about the actual time being spent consulting during their sessions. The psychiatrist who attended during the inspection spent over 45 minutes on the telephone to a colleague regarding an NHS patient despite three prisoners waiting to be seen. The provision of psychiatric services should be reviewed to make sure that consulting time is used efficiently.

8.17 The Multi-disciplinary Mental Health Team meetings are now well established and take place on a fortnightly basis. They are well attended and the meetings are patient focused. Minutes of the meetings are available. Although the Deputy Governor attends the meeting it is currently chaired by the Mental Health Nurse. The Deputy Governor should chair these meetings.

8.18 Sixty per cent of staff are trained in Mental Health First Aid. This far exceeds the level reached by any other establishment and is an area of good practice.

Pharmacy and Medication

8.19 The pharmacy service has been provided by Lloyds Chemists since April 2010. Medication can now be ordered and delivered on the same day.

8.20 At the time of inspection there were 255 prisoners receiving 'in possession' medication. Prisoners have lockable cabinets in their cells to store this medication.

8.21 Supervised medication is administered in the Halls. The areas used are not purpose built and they are also used for other activities. Examination of each of the areas showed cluttered work space with broken electrical appliances, snooker balls and newspapers left on the work surface. Even when cleared the work space is insufficient to hold both medications and the prescription folder.

8.22 Although there is an officer present during the supervised medicines process, there are no physical barriers between the nurse and the prisoner and due to restricted space, the prisoner is within reaching distance of the medication. It is recommended that medication is administered in a safe, hygienic and confidential environment.

8.23 Supervised medications are administered twice a day between 07.15hrs and 08.00hrs and between 19.30hrs and 20.45hrs on weekdays. At the weekend supervised medications are administered at 07.45hrs and again at 16.00hrs. Many prisoners take their medication away rather than consuming it in the area in which it has been administered. This should stop immediately.


8.24 Staff and managers do not consider there to be a problem with illicit substances in the prison. However, there is no admission and exit testing, no suspicion testing and little risk assessment testing and consequently no clear picture of the levels of drug misuse within the prison. Prisoners do not have drug screen urine tests carried out on admission to the prison. In the SPS Prisoner Survey (2009), four prisoners said that they had used illegal drugs in HMP Peterhead in the month prior to the survey taking place. One prisoner was receiving a Methadone prescription.

8.25 Phoenix Futures are contracted to provide 1.5 full-time case workers with support from the team manager who covers both HMP Aberdeen and HMP Peterhead. The majority of the work carried out by Phoenix Futures involves alcohol awareness sessions, smoking cessation groups and one-to-one support for prisoners with alcohol problems.

Infection Control

8.26 Cells do not have any running water. Prisoners are provided with a thermos flask and a basin for general hand washing purposes and after using the chemical toilet located in their cell. On testing the water in one thermos flask it was found to be cold and the prisoner said he had filled it from the cold tap. Some prisoners fill the thermos from the hot tap and others also used the geyser which contains boiling water. Staff do not supervise this process and prisoners state they have not been advised which source to use for filling their flasks. On inspecting a number of thermos flasks, they were dirty on the inside and around the water spout. Prisoners should be provided with proper hand cleansing facilities in their cells, and staff should ensure that flasks are kept clean and prisoners informed of hygienic procedures.



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 A number of programmes to address offending behaviour are in place. The prison withdrew the Sex Offender Treatment Programme ( SOTP) in March 2010 and will pilot a new programme 'Good Lives' in July. Forty eight prisoners completed SOTP in 2009-10. Although not all prisoners take part in a Sex Offender Treatment Programme before being released back into the community, they have opportunities to participate in other offending behaviour programmes. Very few prisoners are tested in less secure conditions prior to release.

Integrated Case Management

9.2 Integrated Case Management ( ICM) is a multi-agency approach which is focused on reducing reoffending by means of identifying and managing the risks and needs of prisoners in preparation for their return to the community. ICM seeks to ensure that there are joint processes in place between the SPS and community agencies to maximise the potential for successful community reintegration and harm reduction. This is particularly important for sex offenders.

9.3 Peterhead's ICM unit comprises a manager (who is co-located with the person responsible for parole and life sentence prisoners), three full time ICM co-ordinators and an administrator. The team is responsible for organising and chairing ICM case conferences; for undertaking risk and needs assessments; for ensuring the completion of community integration plans; for Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements ( MAPPA) case management; for the transfer of data onto prisoner records ( PR2); and for some parole processes. The team also provides awareness sessions for staff, and individual advice and support to Personal Officers as appropriate.

9.4 The work of the ICM team is complex given the nature of the prison's population. The predominance of long-term prisoners, all of whom are subject to enhanced ICM, to MAPPA and to parole processes, adds significantly to their responsibility and workload. At the time of inspection, the prison also held 23 prisoners subject to Orders of Lifelong Restriction whose case management and risk assessment is complex and resource intensive. The sentence breakdown illustrates the scale of the task:

Orders of Lifelong Restriction


Mandatory Life


Discretionary Life


Extended Sentence Recall


10 years +


4-10 years


9.5 The ICM team has a high level of delivery against targets in terms of meeting timescales and in encouraging prisoner and community agency participation in the ICM process. Ninety eight per cent of case conferences have community-based social work representatives in attendance either in person or via a video conferencing link. However, like many other prisons, family participation is low, and the prison should make every effort to raise such participation.

9.6 Between 1 June 2009 and 31 May 2010, 252 case conferences were held, of which 197 (78%) were by video link. The video link case conference experience would be considerably enhanced by the provision of more up to date equipment with better screen resolution.

9.7 Meetings are attended by one of the Unit's ICM staff; the Personal Officer; Community Based Social Workers; the prisoner, and any professionals who have current input in the prisoner's management such as Psychology, Group Work and Mental Health. In advance of the meeting the prisoner receives a personal letter explaining the process and what he can expect. This is useful in helping to prepare the prisoner for the meeting and is an area of good practice.

9.8 Overall, the ICM Unit is well-organised and operated by knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff who are committed to maintaining high standards in the operation of the ICM process.

9.9 Unfortunately, the office in which the team works is cramped and has no natural light. Consideration should be given either to relocating the ICM team to more suitable office space, or if that is not possible, to refurbishing and upgrading the present facilities.

Risk Management Group

9.10 The Risk Management Group ( RMG) is a multidisciplinary meeting which takes place monthly and is chaired by the Deputy Governor. It examines all recalls to custody; any cases that have been referred on from the ICM Process whereby the identified need cannot be met within current resources; and any other offender who has been identified as a risk by two independent staff sources.

9.11 The Group also considers prisoners whose progress or participation in the regime has stalled or those whose attitudes, behaviour and response is giving cause for concern. Personal Officers attend RMG meetings but ICM Case Co-ordinators do not. Consideration should be given to involving ICM Case Co-ordinators, in addition to their manager, in both RMG and Multi-disciplinary Progression Management Group ( MDPMG) meetings as their knowledge of individual prisoners is often extensive and therefore of significant potential value in the analysis and decision making process.

Multi-disciplinary Progression Management Group

9.12 The Multi-disciplinary Progression Management Group meets monthly and is chaired by either the Governor or Deputy Governor. Its purpose is to consider all prisoner applications for transfer to national Top Ends or to open conditions. The Group comprises uniformed and specialist staff who are involved in prisoner assessment and management.

9.13 Peterhead itself has a designated Top End and the MDPMG also considers prisoners for transfer to this local unit from which they are eligible for Special Escorted Leave from the prison. External transfer from this Top End is, however, very limited.

9.14 Until April 2010 when four prisoners were transferred to the Open Estate there had been no movement for two years from Peterhead to the national Top Ends or to open conditions. Since then and up to the time of inspection, one prisoner was transferred to Chrisswell House in Greenock and four to Kerr House in Shotts.

9.15 Although it is acknowledged that it is critical to ensure that all risk factors are fully taken into account before making any decision to transfer a sex offender to a national Top End or open conditions, the very small numbers who are ultimately tested in less secure conditions before release is of significant concern to the Inspectorate. It means that for the vast majority of sex offenders released from closed conditions there has been no opportunity to test either their capacity or their motivation to lead a crime free life on release. It is recommended that ways to test sex offenders in less secure conditions prior to release are pursued as a matter of urgency.

9.16 Further, not all prisoners in Peterhead are willing to address their offending behaviour and so participation in relevant programmes is not universal and many are released back into the community at the completion of their sentences without having addressed the issues which led to their serious sex offending. At the time of inspection, the prison held 56 prisoners on Extended Sentence Recalls and a total of 71 recalled prisoners altogether - nearly a quarter of the prison's population. It is recommended that other options to engage all sex offenders in Peterhead should be considered to encourage them to address the issues which led to their sex offending. It is also recommended that an examination takes place of the reasons for such a large number of sex offenders being recalled to custody.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements

9.17 Sections 10 & 11 of the Management of Offenders etc (Scotland) Act 2005 require the police, local authorities and the SPS to establish joint arrangements for the assessment and management of risk posed by violent and sexual offenders. MAPPA is a co-ordinated multi-agency approach to the management of this group of offenders in the community who pose a risk of serious harm to others. MAPPA's fundamental purpose is public safety and the reduction of serious harm.

9.18 The majority of Peterhead prisoners are subject to MAPPA, the exception being those who are not Registered Sex Offenders. At the time of inspection there were 14 prisoners who were not Registered Sex Offenders. The management of Peterhead prisoners subject to MAPPA is undertaken by the ICM Unit. The prison was represented at five 'Level 3' MAPPA meetings (for the most serious offenders) in the community in the 12 months prior to the inspection and will attend 'Level 2' meetings as necessary. We are, however, very concerned that MAPPA processes are not initiated until three months before sex offenders are released. It is recommended that MAPPA arrangements are reviewed to ensure that much more action takes place well in advance of the liberation of sex offenders.

9.19 Peterhead Management has taken the initiative to invite all community MAPPA co-ordinators into the prison for a familiarisation and awareness visit in order to strengthen links and develop mutual understanding of the challenges which exist in managing the risk presented by sex offenders both in custody and in the community. This is an area of good practice.

Orders of Lifelong Restriction

9.20 The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 introduced new provisions for the sentencing and treatment of serious violent and sex offenders. The Order of Lifelong Restriction ( OLR) provides for the lifelong supervision of such offenders and focuses on intensive supervision. The OLR is designed to ensure that offenders, after having served an adequate period in prison to meet the requirements of punishment, do not present a risk to public safety once they are released into the community. The period spent in the community is an integral part of the sentence which lasts for the duration of the offender's life. The purpose of each OLR is to ensure that in relation to serious offenders responsible for significant acts of a violent or sexual nature there will be a reduction in re-offending and greater protection offered to the general public.

9.21 At the time of inspection, Peterhead held 23 prisoners subject to OLR. Because of the complex work involved in creating a Risk Management Plan for each prisoner, the process is extremely resource intensive. For example, psychological risk assessment input alone amounts to between 40 and 60 hours per case. There is no doubt that preparing Risk Management Plans stretches the prison's resources.

Life Sentence Prisoners

9.22 There were 67 Life Sentence prisoners in Peterhead at the time of inspection. All Lifers participate in the enhanced ICM process where their risks and needs are identified and plans drawn up to address the deficits. Lifers who are willing to do so, participate in offending behaviour programmes and other interventions at appropriate stages in their sentence, and ideally in advance of critical milestones. Lifers must have addressed their high priority risks and needs before they can be considered for transfer to a national Top End or open conditions.

9.23 There is no comprehensive written information pack available for the guidance of Lifers and OLRs in relation to their parole and management arrangements. These prisoners are briefed verbally at induction and then again at their first ICM case conference and while the latter meets the immediate need, there is a great deal of information to be absorbed and a written version of the briefing would be of benefit.


9.24 A First Line Manager fulfils the role of both Lifer Liaison Officer ( LLO) and Early Release Liaison Officer ( ERLO). He is responsible for the co-ordination of all parole casework for the prison including Life Sentence prisoners and those on Orders of Lifelong Restriction. He is supported by a Parole Clerk and works in collaboration with the ICM team and other staff from across the prison.

9.25 At the time of inspection, there were 299 prisoners subject to the parole process, of whom 67 were Lifers and 23 subject to an OLR. The work involved in the preparation of parole cases for Peterhead's population is complex and challenging.

9.26 In the year 2009-10 there were 90 Parole Board Tribunals held in Peterhead. Of these the LLO or his colleagues presented 78 cases and on only 12 occasions was there representation from the Victims, Witnesses, Parole and Life Sentence Division of the Scottish Government. Notwithstanding the protocol which exists between SPS and the Scottish Government's Criminal Justice Directorate in relation to Scottish Ministers' representation at Tribunals, the very serious nature of the offences committed by Peterhead prisoners and the resultant risk and case management complexity, demands much of the " SPS Officer" who has the responsibility for single-handedly representing Scottish Ministers at the Parole Tribunal. The Governor should examine this imbalance in representations between the prison and Scottish Government officials to ensure that the LLO/ ERLO is adequately supported in this very responsible task. Notwithstanding the pressures, the LLO and his team meet 100% of parole timescales which under the circumstances is impressive.

9.27 The next Service wide LLO forum has been invited to Peterhead specifically to be informed about the new sex offender programme (see paragraphs 9.45-9.46) and the particular challenges facing staff in seeking to transfer suitable sex offenders to national Top End and open conditions.

9.28 Staff involved in case managing and processing OLR prisoners reported to inspectors that some OLR prisoners arrive in Peterhead so close to the tariff date set for them by the Court that there is very little time to prepare the Risk Management Plan. It is recommended that steps are taken by SPS to ensure that prisoners subject to Orders for Lifelong Restriction enter the relevant assessment processes as quickly as possible.

9.29 Personal Officers who are assigned to work with OLR prisoners are given additional support by the ICM team and others and some effort is made to match officer and prisoner given that the relationship between the two may potentially last for a considerable length of time.

Interventions to Address Offending Behaviour

9.30 The programmes team comprises eight group workers, one programmes manager, seven psychologists and one social worker. At the time of inspection there were three group worker vacancies and one psychologist was on maternity leave.

9.31 Programmes are delivered in four group rooms, one of which is located above the health centre. All rooms are suitable for delivery of the programmes.

9.32 The following offence focused programmes were run in 2009-10.

9.33 Constructs is a general offending behaviour programme designed for use in the community and in prison. It is a cognitive behavioural based programme aimed at reducing reoffending. It involves two to three sessions a week, with 28 sessions in total. This is an Accredited Programme.

9.34 Controlling Anger Regulating Emotions ( CARE) is an intensive, cognitive behavioural programme, aimed at medium to high risk prisoners whose offending behaviour is linked to substance misuse. It involves two to three sessions a week, with 25 sessions in total. This programme is not accredited.

9.35 Alcohol Awareness addresses the needs of prisoners who have identified risks or needs relating to their use of alcohol. It involves eight sessions in total. This is an Approved Activity.

9.36 The Violence Prevention Programme ( VPP) is an intensive, cognitive behavioural based programme aimed at prisoners who are assessed as posing a high risk of violence related reoffending. It involves four to five sessions a week, with 94 sessions in total. This programme is not accredited.









Alcohol Awareness









9.37 It is very encouraging that Peterhead was able to run the Violence Prevention Programme for two prisoners during 2009-10. Staff were specially trained to do this. If the programme had not been run it would have been extremely difficult to progress these two prisoners. However, the targets for the other offence focused interventions should be more challenging.

9.38 The following accredited sex offender treatment programmes were run in 2009-10.

9.39 The Core SOTP is a cognitive behavioural treatment programme designed to address the majority of criminogenic factors experienced by the majority of sex offenders. It consists of 85 two hour group sessions. Each group has eight prisoners. Two to four sessions are delivered each week, and each programme takes between seven to nine months to complete.

9.40 The Adapted SOTP has been developed to meet the needs of intellectually and/or socially low functioning sex offenders. It was introduced to the SPS in 2001 to meet the needs of prisoners who would have difficulty completing the CORE programme. The Adapted Programme consists of 87 two hour group sessions. Each group has eight prisoners. Two to four sessions are delivered each week and it usually takes between seven and nine months to complete.

9.41 The Extended SOTP is a second stage programme designed to provide further treatment of specific risk factors in prisoners who present a higher likelihood of committing a further sexual offence. The programme consists of 76 two hour group sessions. Each group has nine prisoners. Sessions are delivered two to four times each week.

9.42 The Rolling SOTP is a first stage programme for prisoners who present a low risk of reoffending. It is also used as a top-up for prisoners who have outstanding treatment needs. Rather than all group members starting and finishing the programme together, the Rolling Programme continues without a stop date in mind. Group members join and leave as the programme rolls on. The programme consists of 45-60 hour group sessions with sessions running three times each week.

9.43 The Sex Offender Treatment Programme ( SOTP) was run in 2009-10 as follows:


















9.44 All prisoners in Peterhead are expected to participate in SOTP, (although not all do so), with prisoners who pose the highest risk, and are at the appropriate stage of their sentence, taking priority. However, not all prisoners consent to being assessed and some might be at a very early stage in their sentence. All prisoners are given the opportunity to be assessed and engage in an intervention prior to release or critical dates. If a prisoner is liberated from Peterhead without having completed SOTP this is relayed to the relevant agencies such as Criminal Justice Social Work and the Police via the ICM and MAPPA processes.

9.45 During 2009-10 SPS reviewed the existing SOTP and considered it to be complex, inflexible in terms of risk levels and not cost effective. Consequently, Peterhead stopped running the SOTP programmes at the end of March 2010 and will pilot a new programme, 'Good Lives', aimed at sex offending behaviour in July 2010. The target completions for 'Good Lives' should be more challenging than they were for SOTP.SOTP will still run in selected other prisons.

9.46 The Inspectorate is concerned that a longstanding accredited sex offender programme has been stopped and replaced with an untested, unaccredited, in-house programme. The 'Good Lives' Programme should meet national accreditation standards as a matter of priority.

9.47 SOTP has been stopped in Peterhead without a full evaluation of its effectiveness ever having been carried out by SPS. An evaluation measure has been built into the 'Good Lives' implementation plan.

Community Partnerships

9.48 Peterhead falls within the boundary of the Northern Community Justice Authority. At the time of inspection links between the CJA and the prison were not as well developed as they could be.

9.49 The prison does not release prisoners directly into the local community unless they come from the area.

9.50 A number of outside groups visit the prison to undertake work with prisoners. These include Alcoholics Anonymous, the Prison Fellowship, the Samaritans and the Shannon Trust (Literacy Project).

9.51 There is considerable development potential in relation to community partnership working outwith statutory obligations and also to community payback initiatives. This should be addressed.

Preparation for Release

9.52 All prisoners undergo the Core Screen process as part of their ICM reviews. 3 The Core Screen process is monitored by the ICM coordinators but as the population is entirely sex offenders, all are subject to Statutory Supervision Orders and so issues such as accommodation are dealt with in collaboration with Criminal Justice Social Work staff.

9.53 Peterhead's main focus in terms of preparation for release is to ensure that every prisoner is released to some form of suitable accommodation. All accommodation for sex offenders has to be approved by CBSW and the local police.

9.54 The pre release process can be quite complicated given the fact that Peterhead prisoners are returned to their "home" establishment six weeks before release (see paragraph 9.58).

9.55 The prison has developed a programme which helps prisoners cope with the emotional and practical side of returning to society after a lengthy sentence. The programme is delivered five times a year to 12 to 14 prisoners who are to be liberated within two months. It is delivered by the induction officers and associated specialists and covers the following areas:

  • Welfare Benefits
  • Money management (all prisoners get the chance to open a bank account)
  • License conditions (both the police and CBSW deliver this session)
  • Being on the sex offender register
  • Disclosure and CV assistance
  • How to apply for jobs (with mock interview and help from JobcentrePlus)
  • Alcohol and drugs advice
  • Education and training
  • Harm reduction

9.56 The course is delivered through a mixture of presentations and discussion sessions in a supportive environment.

9.57 When a long-term prisoner is approaching release a case conference is always held. This is chaired by a representative of the prison based social work team. This meeting reviews licence conditions, housing, benefits and throughcare. ICM staff also attend this meeting. The case conference addresses the basic needs that a prisoner has when being released.


9.58 Prisoners are transferred about six weeks prior to liberation to the main sending establishments or to the establishment which is local to their release address. This results from a long standing agreement between the prison and the Peterhead community that limits the release of sex offenders to the Peterhead area to just those who were living in the area prior to receiving their sentence.


10.1 The mattress recycling scheme (paragraph 2.10).

10.2 The specially made telephone kiosks (paragraph 2.11).

10.3 The zero tolerance stance on violence (paragraph 3.4).

10.4 The comprehensive file of translated information available in reception (paragraph 3.20).

10.5 Before starting a night duty post all officers new to that area shadow all of the available posts (paragraph 3.43).

10.6 The purpose built Control and Restraint training suite (paragraph 3.49).

10.7 All escort staff in Banff Sheriff Court and Peterhead Sheriff Court are trained in first aid (paragraphs 4.10 and 4.16).

10.8 A number of staff and prisoners are trained in basic sign language (paragraph 4.18).

10.9 First Line Managers conduct a quality check on the charge and evidence following the completion of disciplinary hearing paperwork (paragraph 6.5).

10.10 The chaplains hold monthly meetings with prisoners to involve them in decision making about provision for religious observance (paragraph 6.9).

10.11 Gym staff deliver tailored classes to prisoners over the age of 55 (paragraph 7.11).

10.12 The link between the Health Centre and the gym (paragraph 7.12).

10.13 The recycling programme and the statistical analysis for the Recycle Centre (paragraph 7.17).

10.14 Sixty per cent of staff are trained in Mental Health First Aid (paragraph 8.18).

10.15 Prisoners receive a personal letter explaining the process in advance of ICM case conferences (paragraph 9.7).

10.16 Peterhead Management have taken the initiative to invite all MAPPA co-ordinators into the prison for a familiarisation and awareness visit and to strengthen links (paragraph 9.19).


For SPS Headquarters

11.1 Alternatives to slopping out should be found (paragraph 2.7).

11.2 Consideration should be given to reinstating independent professional Health and Safety audits of all establishments (paragraph 3.57).

11.3 Ways to test sex offenders in less secure conditions prior to release should be pursued as a matter of urgency (paragraph 9.15).

11.4 Steps should be taken to ensure that prisoners subject to Orders for Lifelong Restriction enter the relevant assessment processes as soon as possible (paragraph 9.28).

For the Scottish Government

11.5 A review should take place of the reasons for the large number of sex offenders being recalled to custody (paragraph 9.16).

11.6 A review of MAPPA arrangements should take place to ensure that much more action takes place well in advance of the liberation of sex offenders (paragraph 9.18).

For the Establishment

11.7 Prisoners should be provided with proper hand cleansing facilities in their cells, and staff should ensure that flasks are kept clean and prisoners informed of hygienic procedures (paragraphs 2.6 and 8.26).

11.8 Staff involved in preparing prisoners for a move out of Peterhead, or to Peterhead from other establishments, should have a full understanding of the issues involved and prisoners should be comprehensively prepared for transfer (paragraph 3.38).

11.9 Medication should be administered in a safe, hygienic and confidential environment (paragraph 8.22).

11.10 Other options to engage all sex offenders in Peterhead should be considered to encourage them to address the issues which led to their sex offending (paragraph 9.16).


For SPS Headquarters

12.1 The SPS alerting tool used to identify potential literacy and numeracy skills issues should be replaced (paragraph 7.4).

12.2 A comprehensive written information pack should be available for the guidance of Life Sentence prisoners and prisoners subject to Order of Lifelong Restriction in relation to their parole and management arrangements (paragraph 9.23).

12.3 The new Sex Offender Programme 'Good Lives' should meet national accreditation standards as a matter of priority (paragraph 9.46).

For the Establishment

12.4 The amount of personal property stored by some prisoners in E Hall and in the Unit should be reduced (paragraphs 2.19 and 2.24).

12.5 Duty managers should sample the food at the points of serving (paragraph 2.31).

12.6 Vocational training opportunities should be available for prisoners working in the laundry (paragraph 2.34).

12.7 The reasons for the rise in minor prisoner-on-prisoner assaults should be examined (paragraph 3.3).

12.8 Prisoners should be searched and asked to sit on the BOSS chair as soon as they enter reception on admission to the prison (paragraph 3.21).

12.9 The amount of prisoners' property stored in reception should be reduced (paragraph 3.24).

12.10 The packets in which valuable property is placed in reception should be sealed (paragraph 3.24).

12.11 Senior managers should have an input to the induction programme (paragraph 3.30).

12.12 Personal Officers should receive sufficient training for their role in the Integrated Case Management process (paragraph 3.33).

12.13 The night duty instructions should be updated (paragraph 3.44).

12.14 Training should be provided to help staff cope with the risks of collusion and conditioning by prisoners (paragraph 3.48).

12.15 Sex offender awareness and education training should be provided to staff (paragraph 3.48).

12.16 Operations staff require their child protection training to be refreshed. At a minimum, all staff working in the visits room should have up to date training in child protection issues (paragraph 3.52).

12.17 The Health and Safety Co-ordinator role should be undertaken on a full-time basis (paragraph 3.59).

12.18 The Health and Safety Co-ordinator and the Head of Estates should have support from local management to fund relevant professional training and be allowed time to undertake it (paragraph 3.59).

12.19 The role of the Family Contact Officer should be reinvigorated (paragraph 5.3).

12.20 The range of different levels in the certificates delivered in the workshops should be explored to establish what can be included within the constraints of imprisonment (paragraph 7.10).

12.21 The Learning Centre should display prisoners' work and achievements in the area (paragraphs 7.19 and 7.23).

12.22 Staff in the Learning Centre should work with staff in the workshops to deliver contextualised literacy and numeracy skills in a way which is relevant to the vocational skills they are developing (paragraph 7.21).

12.23 Learning Centre staff should systematically utilise self-evaluation procedures to reflect on what worked well in programmes and to establish a plan for improvement (paragraph 7.28).

12.24 Computers to access electronic data should be available in the treatment room, dental suite and consulting room in the Health Centre (paragraph 8.2).

12.25 Non-urgent referrals to the Mental Health Team should not have to wait several weeks to be seen (paragraph 8.15).

12.26 The provision of psychiatric services should be reviewed to make sure that consulting time is used efficiently (paragraph 8.16).

12.27 The Deputy Governor should chair the Multi-disciplinary Mental Health Team meetings (paragraph 8.17).

12.28 Prisoners should consume supervised medications in the area in which they have been administered (paragraph 8.23).

12.29 The prison should make every effort to raise family participation in the ICM process (paragraph 9.5).

12.30 The video link case conference equipment should be updated (paragraph 9.6).

12.31 Consideration should be given to moving the ICM team to more suitable office accommodation, and if that is not possible, to refurbishing and upgrading the present facilities (paragraph 9.9).

12.32 Consideration should be given to involving ICM Case Co-ordinators in both Risk Management Group and Multi-disciplinary Progression Management Group meetings (paragraph 9.11).

12.33 The Governor should examine the imbalance in representation between the prison and Scottish Government officials at Parole Board Tribunals to ensure that the Lifer Liaison/Early Release Liaison Officer is adequately supported (paragraph 9.26).

12.34 The targets for completions of offence-based interventions should be more challenging (paragraph 9.37).

12.35 The targets for completions of the 'Good Lives' sex offending programme should be more challenging than they were for SOTP (paragraph 9.45).

12.36 Ways to develop community partnership working outwith statutory obligations and also develop community payback initiatives should be explored (paragraph 9.51).

For the Escort Provider

12.37 Escort staff should ensure that appropriate comfort breaks are given to prisoners on long journeys (paragraph 3.15).

12.38 The Escort provider should always turn up on time to take prisoners to hospital appointments (paragraph 8.11).

For the Scottish Courts Service

12.39 A security door should be installed between the cells and the public area in Banff Sheriff Court (paragraph 4.7).

ANNEX 1: 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


ANNEX 2: Inspection Team

Hugh Monro HM Chief Inspector

Kate Donegan Deputy Chief Inspector

David McAllister Assistant Chief Inspector

Mick Armstrong Inspector

Adam Quin Associate Inspector

Lesley McDowall Associate Healthcare Inspector

Peter Connelly Education Adviser

Peter McNaughton Education Adviser