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Report on HMP Kilmarnock

Report on HMP Kilmarnock

Thursday, March 1, 2012

ISBN: 9781780456423

Full inspection of HMP Kilmarnock undertaken by HM Inspectorate of Prisons from 26 September-3 October 2011.

Executive Summary


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

the quality

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.