Setting the Scene
1.1 Kilmarnock was Scotland’s first private prison. It opened over 13 years
ago and is now run by Serco under a 25 year contract. The fabric of the prison
remains good which suggests that the buildings have been well managed and
cared for over the years. The prison is also kept very clean.
1.2 HMP Kilmarnock is operated under a contract issued by Scottish
Ministers to Kilmarnock Prison Service Limited (KPSL). The contract is
output based and performance by the operating sub-contractor, Serco,
against these outputs and the contractual terms and conditions is monitored
by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) on behalf of Scottish Ministers. SPS
does not prescribe the manner in which resources are allocated by KPSL or
its operating sub-contractor and it is for the contractor to ensure service
delivery and standards are met and that continuous improvement is sought by
efficient working practices.
Inspection of Kilmarnock
1.3 Under the initiative of the Director, Kilmarnock was undergoing a
considerable amount of transformational change at the time of the inspection.
There are a number of areas which this report suggests require improvement
but there was good evidence to show that the Director’s change programme
will address many of these. Overall, I was impressed by the leadership of the
Director in setting the focus on improvement and change. Nevertheless, I
emphasise the need to complete the change programme as soon as possible.
In terms of leadership, I would also like to see managers become more
confident in their abilities and take more responsibility for decisions that
should be taken at the most appropriate level.
1.4 The prison is safe and prisoners are treated well. Levels of violence are
stable compared with the previous report; 82% of prisoners say they feel safe
which compares favourably with other prisons.
1.5 I was impressed by the ‘kiosk’ technology which allows prisoners to
manage their own visits, menus and access to education and work. I am also
pleased to see that the staff are well trained and that the catering staff and the
PE staff provide a particularly good service. Pastoral care in the prison is
1.6 “Out of cell activities are limited and lack stimulation” (paragraph 4.1).
Access to activities is insufficiently good, with only 40% of prisoners out of the
house blocks during the day. For example, only 200 prisoners were accessing
work during the inspection and 22% accessing education. I was not satisfied
that the quality of work was sufficiently good. In some workshops some
prisoners have no work to do and spend much of the time drinking tea or
watching other prisoners who do have work allocated to them. I recommend
that access to work, vocational training and education is improved, and that
of education and work needs to improve (paragraphs 4.18 to 4.22)
1.7 Although there are good points in the prison’s healthcare provision, not
least the mental health area, smoking cessation, dental treatment and alcohol
programme, I have serious concerns about many aspects of healthcare
access, treatment, management and addictions work. Prisoners are very
agitated about this whole area. I recommend, in the light of the transfer to the
NHS and based on this report, that the overall standard of healthcare at
Kilmarnock is reviewed.
1.8 The prison runs an Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme (IEP):
Prisoners are categorised as Basic, Standard or Enhanced. They arrive with
Standard status and can either attract privileges and move up to Enhanced or
be penalised and reduce downwards. However reduction to Basic can
impinge on family visits which I deem to be unfair. The oversight of the
scheme should be reviewed (paragraph 4.9).
1.9 In summary, Kilmarnock has a good and enthusiastic team who work
very hard to deliver the services required by the Scottish Prison Service.
There is a great deal of change being implemented at the prison and I expect
these changes and responses to my recommendations to deliver
improvements in the areas that this report highlights.