Prisoners at HMP Shotts lacking ‘meaningful’ work

David Strang, the chief inspector of Prisons for Scotland. Picture: TSPL
David Strang, the chief inspector of Prisons for Scotland. Picture: TSPL
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A LACK OF MEANINGFUL and productive work for prisoners at HMP Shotts is among a series of failings uncovered in a new inspection report.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland David Strang has complained that the majority of visiting times are in weekdays, meaning school-age children are unable to see their parents at the North Lanarkshire jail.

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He found that first aid-trained staff were not always on duty at the maximum-security male facility and an official anti-bullying strategy was not being implemented.

Nearly a quarter of the recommendations outlined during a full inspection last year have not been achieved, he said in a follow-up inspection report released today.

He has also called for a review of the role and purpose of the prison’s National Integration Centre, which is designed to prepare long-term prisoners for integration into mainstream establishments, and training for officers who tend to prisoners’ personal needs.

But he said most prisoners reported that they felt safe and he witnessed good relationships between staff and prisoners.

He praised work producing the Stir Magazine, which is supported by New College Lanarkshire, as an area of good practice.

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He said HMP Shotts “has made good progress in addressing the 51 recommendations from the full inspection report in 2013”, with 31 achieved, seven partially achieved, 12 not achieved and one is deemed no longer applicable.

Mr Strang said: “Progress can be seen in relation to many of the recommendations made in the inspection report of 2013.

“An area of concern identified in the full inspection related to the provision of work available to prisoners through the Scottish Prison Service national contracts. This has not been addressed.

“There is still a lack of meaningful and productive work available for prisoners, which represents a lost opportunity for constructive activity for long-term prisoners.

“I am, however, impressed by the work done in the prison in support of local charities.”

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