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Inspector urges improvements Addiewell prison

Addiewell Prison Image copyright Scottish Prison Service

Inspectors have raised concerns about levels of staffing and staff deployment at Addiewell jail in West Lothian.

A report from HM Chief Inspector of Prisons David Strang praised the care of inmates and said violent incidents were dealt with appropriately.

However, it also highlighted a lack of job and training places for prisoners.

In relation to 10 standards assessed, HMP Addiewell received one good, four satisfactory and five generally acceptable ratings.

The inspection was carried out between 29 June and 10 July this year.

'Good systems'

In his report, Mr Strang said: "There was a constructive approach to the care of all prisoners on admission to HMP Addiewell. Vulnerable prisoners were well looked after.

"Any incidents of violence within the prison were responded to appropriately and there were good systems in place for managing and responding to intelligence reports.

"However, there were concerns about levels of staffing within the prison and the staff deployment arrangements."

The main findings of the report were:

  • A particular strength was a consistently high level of documented procedures and clear audit trails
  • The requirements for security were thorough and effectively implemented
  • There was a professional approach to the requirements of health and safety legislation
  • Provision of healthcare was of a generally acceptable standard, with well-trained and supported staff
  • Good examples of health promotion and education, with satisfactory health screening for all prisoners on admission.

The report also highlighted the success of the prison's electronic kiosk system which allows inmates to order their meals, book activities and keep track of their finances, without the need to refer to prison staff.

Visiting arrangements

It said visiting arrangements were "well organised", with prisoners encouraged to maintain contact with their family and friends.

However, there were a number of areas identified for improvement:

  • Staffing shortages within healthcare were significant - having an adverse impact on service delivery
  • Despite the modern design of the prison, the range of employment and training opportunities available for prisoners was too narrow and the number of places was too low
  • Classroom attendance was often below 50% capacity
  • Prisoners were offered opportunities for purposeful activities but take-up was disappointing
  • Case management of long-term prisoners' sentences was effective, but this was not the case for short-term prisoners.

Mr Strang said: "I look forward to seeing the action plan produced by HMP Addiewell in response to this report, which I hope will lead to improvements within the prison.

"HMIPS will continue to monitor progress HMP Addiewell makes in implementing its action plan."

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