Report Praises Prison's Progress

7 October 2014, 06:00

A prison has made good progress in responding to recommendations from an inspection three years ago, according to a new report.

Inspectors made 10 recommendations when they visited HMP Kilmarnock in October 2011.

At a follow-up inspection this July they found that seven of these had been achieved and two partially achieved while one is no longer applicable.

However, they have now made an additional 11 recommendations.

These include that all prisoners should have access to one hour in the open air every day and that the time they spend in reception when they are admitted should be reduced.

David Strang, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said: "It is clear from our inspection that good progress has been made by HMP Kilmarnock in the areas identified in the full inspection report.''

He added: "A new director of HMP Kilmarnock had been appointed in the three months before the follow-up inspection, following the retirement of his predecessor.

"It is still early days but he has brought a fresh perspective to the leadership of the prison.

"In general, we observed good relationships between staff and prisoners. Most prisoners reported to us that they felt safe in HMP Kilmarnock.''

The previous inspection report identified 40 action points, 25 of which have now been achieved, five partially achieved, seven have not been achieved and three are deemed no longer applicable.

The report noted that healthcare at the prison is provided to a good standard but that there remains a need to improve the medical facilities.

It said there is scope to improve communication and mutual understanding between the prison and NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and that the distribution of medication in the residential wings should be reviewed, particularly at the weekends.

Inspectors also found that a high number of prisoners are deemed medically unfit for work and that the processes associated with this should be reviewed.

One of the action points in the previous report was that prisoners should receive their full entitlement of one hour a day in the open air, but this did not always happen, with some receiving only 45 minutes.

The follow-up report recommended that all prisoners should receive an hour in the open air and that the prison should ensure that the process for supervising prisoners at outside exercise is safe at all times.

Inspectors found that all 16 areas of good practice identified in the previous report are still in place and highlighted an additional six.

They noted good examples of engagement with families, through family days and the "email a prisoner service'' which encourages family members, especially children, to maintain contact with their relative in prison.

The report also found improvements in the delivery of education and vocational training, in terms of both quantity and quality of qualifications.

HMP Kilmarnock, which opened in 1999, is a high-security prison with 500 cells and a maximum contract capacity of 692.

At the time of inspection 501 prisoners were being held, compared to 647 at the time of the full inspection.

It is operated by SERCO under a 25-year contract issued by Scottish ministers to Kilmarnock Prison Service Limited.