Glasgow & West Scotland

Problems highlighted amid good report for HMP Greenock

Greenock Prison Image copyright SPS
Image caption Inspectors said the overall report on HMP Greenock was "good"

Prison inspectors have highlighted ongoing shortcomings at Greenock jail despite giving it a "good report".

The inspection, carried out in May, noted a range of improvements following a more critical report in 2009.

These included prisoners being well prepared for release, strong links with the local area and good relationships between staff and inmates.

Inspectors identified problems with the state of the building and issues over dental care and library provision.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland David Strang said: "Overall, this is a good report for HMP Greenock.

"When the two new community integration units are built and operational, there will be greater scope for the prison to work constructively with the prisoners to improve their preparation for return to the community".

Reevel Alderson, BBC Scotland's social affairs correspondent

Greenock Prison is one of a handful of century-old jails in Scotland, receiving its first prisoners in 1910.

The age of its buildings is one of the major problems identified by HMCIP.

David Strang said Ailsa Hall has problems with "persistent" dampness and the kitchens are described as "dated."

But the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said it has already addressed that with remedial works.

Further improvements could be undertaken once the proposed HMP Inverclyde is built.

SPS is currently preparing tender documents for the new prison near Inverkip, which will hold up to 350 women.

Greenock is termed a "community-facing" jail, meaning its prisoners come mainly from the local area.

The report praises its work in helping to maintain family ties with those in jail, and the way it prepares prisoners for release.

In October 2014 it will open two new community integration facilities in which prisoners nearing the end of their sentences will live independently, doing their own laundry and cooking.

The report praised the jail for its "excellent" links with the local community and noted good work in preparing prisoners for release and the positive relationships between staff and prisoners.

It also commended the good range of healthcare services available for both men and women.

Inspectors noted, however, that achievement of qualifications had been "quite limited" while library provision was poor and in need of review.

There were also still issues related to the age and condition of the building itself, including dampness, and the "poor" condition of the separate cells, although these were rarely used.

The report also noted that accessing dentistry appeared at times to be problematic and did not reflect provision within the community.

Inspectors also found a lack of an overall strategy within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to guide the provision of addictions services within HMP Greenock.

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