Scottish Prison Service (Auditor General’s Report)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 3rd December 2019.

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I do not have that figure to hand, but I undertake to write to Liam MacArthur with it. I know that there has been additional investment in mental health staff in our prisons. I take the issue extremely seriously. That is why I asked HM chief inspector of prisons in Scotland to look at mental health, particularly at YOI Polmont, because, of course, the issue affects the youngest and most vulnerable people in our care. I also take extremely seriously the issue of the mental health of our staff. I hope that I have given some detail and some reassurance in the statement about what the SPS is doing to help members of staff with any mental conditions, stress or problems that may arise from working in the prison estate.

I also take the issue of throughcare very seriously. That is why the Government worked closely with the third sector to see where it could come in when the throughcare service was suspended by the SPS and we had to use those experienced prison officers back in the main prison estate. I was pleased that, with its agreement, the third sector was able to step in. That is a temporary measure and, of course, if we manage to reduce the prison population, we can have a further discussion on how things can progress thereafter.