Problems in Scotland’s Prisons
Prisons in Scotland have a purpose of enforcing punishment which involves deprivation of liberty for a set period of time. However, imprisonment may be intended to act as a deterrent to re-offending, on both an individual and general basis. Prison services also provide rehabilitation to provide prisoners with the education, skills and opportunities which will change them and help them when they are released from prison and back into society. In the worst case scenarios criminals are put in prison under public protection which provides safety to the public. The aim of the prison service is to reduce re-offending and offer value for money for the taxpayers and ensuring the public are protected. Prisons are in the Criminal Justice Service to keep criminals out of society until have learned their lesson and are ready to be released back into society.
However, most prisons are set up with educational facilities which range from basic literacy and numeracy through to degree programmes. The prison service also provides vocational training in a number of trades, including building trades, painting and decorating, IT and horticulture. Activities like these will help criminals to find jobs and make a life for themselves when they leave prison. Prisons help to teach criminals with lifelong skills which hopefully keep them from reoffending. Inside ant prison they have set up workshops for productive work where prisoners can earn wages and access to work can provide useful leverage in encouraging good behavior. Being drug-free is often a pre-requisite for workshop activity. First Step, and Lifeline where introduced in Prisons to help fight drug abuse. First Step was described as a ‘flagship’ intervention in one establishment. Intended to help chaotic users address their drug problems, it challenges participants’ beliefs about themselves and their use, and provides information and support towards giving up drugs. First Steps is considered to pave the way for Lifeline, an intensive four week course for drug free individuals who have the potential to relapse, in particular those who will be leaving prison soon. The aim of Lifeline was to help prisoners stay drug free and stable after leaving prison. The programme is structured sequentially; each episode comprises a morning session of group work followed by different activities in the afternoon, aimed at helping find ways to fill time outside (Shewan, Marshall, Wilson, Vojt, Galloway and Marley, 2006). A major aspect of prison is the provision of extensive health care provision, because of the close connection between deprivation, poor health and imprisonment. Most prisons now have their own health wings which cater for physical health, mental health and dental services. Prisons are also set up with psychological services which play a very important part. Psychologists contribute to specific programmes for prisoners with certain difficulties. The most common carried out within prisons are induction to prison life and anger management. Psychological help has had a played a central role in risk assessments for early release and parole decisions. The most important factor that has to be cared for within the prison service is for access to a range of welfare provision. This includes social work services; religious observance and chaplaincies; contact with families; planning for release; and home leave schemes. Visiting arrangements for spouses and children are particularly crucial for prisoner morale.
Prisons have to set up special arrangements as not every prisoner is the same. In general, offenders sentenced to less than 4 years are released unconditionally after serving half of their sentence. For offenders serving more than 4 years, but less than a life sentence, they may be released on licence after half their sentence on application to the Parole Board. If this is unsuccessful, they will be released on licence...