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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14476: Elaine Smith (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 February 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to ensure that young people under the care of the Scottish Prison Service are not vulnerable to institutional neglect. 

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 February 2018

The Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989 sets out the statutory arrangements for inspecting and monitoring prisons in Scotland. Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS), who is appointed in terms of section 7 of the Act, has responsibility for inspecting the conditions in prisons and the treatment of prisoners and overseeing the exercise of the functions of independent prison monitors.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) undertakes a formal programme of inspections of individual prisons and publishes reports on its findings. Independent Prison Monitors (IPMs) are members of the public who, as representatives of civil society, are appointed to monitor the conditions in prisons. One IPM must visit a prison at least once every week and they may speak in private with any prisoner, visitor, prison officer or other person working at the prison when doing so. Reports on the findings of monitoring are published on a quarterly basis. HMIPS is one of the 21 statutory bodies that make up the UK National Preventive Mechanism established in March 2009 after the UK ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in December 2003.