Independent Review of the Response to Deaths in Prison Custody

Thematic Report

Independent Review of the Response to Deaths in Prison Custody

In November 2019, I was tasked by the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice to undertake an independent review of the response to deaths in prison custody.

The Review was co-chaired by myself as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS); Professor Nancy Loucks, Chief Executive, Families Outside; and Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC). 

After nearly two years of research and analysis and with the support of the Co-Chairs, a team of researchers, academics and experts in the field of prisons and prison healthcare, I am pleased to upload the report of the Independent Review into the Response to Deaths in Prison Custody (The Review). 

The report makes a number of important recommendations for improving processes following a death in custody. The main recommendation, however, relates to the need for an independent body to conduct a speedy review of every death in custody. That organisation should also be tasked with collecting and analysing data on deaths in custody to identify both good practise and systemic issues requiring attention, and check on the implementation of action to prevent further deaths in custody. There are however other key recommendations including suggested changes to family engagement and joint staff training. 


Yours Sincerely 


Wendy Sinclair-Gieben                                                                                                                                      HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Scotland