I am pleased to present my first annual report, having been appointed as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland (HMCIPS) in June 2013. I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor,Hugh Monro, who for four years exercised his duties with considerable passion and energy. In his finalreport last year he highlighted the four priorities which he had pursued as HMCIPS: care of female offenders; family access; purposeful activity in prison; and preparation for release. I am pleased to be able to build on the progress he made in these areas.
The vast majority of those currently detained in prison will return to the community in which they lived before they were imprisoned. For some, this will be in a short time; for others it may be in several years’ time. Many will be described in terms of the challenges and problems they have faced – broken relationships, substance misuse and addictions, mental health problems, unemployment, lack of educational achievement, offending background and harm they have caused to others.
But all are human beings with potential; people capable of change and growth. The challenge for society and for the prison service is to identify that potential and to prepare them for responsible citizenship after their sentence is served.