Perth is a well led prison and management and staff have coped exceptionally well with running the prison during a period of major construction, according to a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons published today.
The main findings of Brigadier Hugh Monro’s report are:
- The basic necessities including exercise, changing bedding and the laundering of clothes are all met to an adequate standard.
- Relationships between prisoners and staff are very good.
- Arrangements for maintaining contact with family and friends are very good.
- There are good opportunities to participate in education and work, and the quality of education is high.
- Healthcare facilities are excellent and well used.
However, the report also points out that:
- Friarton hall was in need of complete refurbishment. It has subsequently been mothballed.
- The conditions in Perth Sheriff Court and Dundee Sheriff Court are poor.
- The number of prisoners testing positive for illegal substances on liberation seems high.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland Brigadier Monro said:
“The overall inspection of Perth concludes that it is a very well led and managed prison. There is consequently a distinct feeling of “unity of effort” from the most senior to most junior members of staff. The effect of this on the prisoners appears to be very positive; the staff/prisoner relationship in Perth is particularly good.
“Perth has many examples of ‘good practice’. I also highlight good living conditions; excellent visit facilities, including the Visitor Centre and contacts with family and friends; good opportunities to participate in education and work; and excellent healthcare facilities. Everyone is focused on trying to help prisoners and meet their needs.
“There are, of course, areas for improvement. The number of prisoners testing positive for illegal substances on liberation is far too high at 28%. This figure suggests, amongst other things, that illegal drugs are being smuggled into Perth prison and this is a cause for concern. The First Night Centre, although a good start, needs to reach its full potential. Food, at the point of serving could be improved; the laundry should be improved and more information should be available to non-English speaking prisoners. Prisoners leaving the prison early to go to court do not always receive a proper breakfast; do not have the opportunity to shower, and do not always receive prescribed medication. The conditions in Perth Sheriff Court and Dundee Sheriff Court are poor.
“I had some reservations about Friarton hall although that hall was ‘mothballed’ on the 9th March. It seemed to me that the positive effects of strong leadership, so evident in the main prison, were less obvious at Friarton with the result that we found a less well managed unit. This may have been due to the air of uncertainty surrounding the future of the hall, which as I say has now been ‘mothballed’. There was also insufficient gainful employment. Friarton was dirty, unkempt and run down. It needed to be completely refurbished. On the other hand I was impressed by the standard of the external work placements available to some of the young offenders.
“Overall, however, this is a positive report and I have been impressed by so many areas of good practice, particularly given all of the disruption caused by the building works.”
1. Today’s report relates to a full inspection of Perth Prison (which included the nearby Friarton hall); with a focus on the conditions in which prisoners live and on the way prisoners are treated. Friarton hall was mothballed on 9 March.
2. For an embargoed advance electronic version of the report the media should contact Lee Simpson or Martin Hunt at Tartan Silk Public Relations on 0131 557 8885.
3. Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland Brigadier Hugh Monro is to release his report on Perth under embargo at a media conference today (Tuesday) in Perth Prison.
4. The Chief Inspector is available for media interviews.