Scottish Prison Service

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Scottish Prison Service
Scottish Prison Service logo.svg
Agency overview
TypeExecutive agency of the Scottish Government
HeadquartersCalton House
5 Redheughs Rigg
EH12 9HW[1]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Teresa Medhurst, CEO Edit this at Wikidata
Scotland in the UK and Europe

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is an executive agency of the Scottish Government tasked with managing prisons and Young Offender Institutions.

The Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, currently Teresa Medhurst, is responsible for its administration and reports to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, who is responsible for the Scottish Prison Service within the Scottish Government.

There are fifteen prison establishments in the country, two of which are privately managed.[2] The SPS employs over 4,000 staff, with its headquarters in Calton House, located in South Gyle, Edinburgh.[3]


Key personnel[edit]

The current Chief Executive is Teresa Medhurst and supporting her is the SPS Board consisting of:

  • Allister Purdie - Director of Operations (Acting)
  • Caroline Johnston - Director of Corporate Services (Acting)
  • Sue Brookes - Interim Director of Strategy & Engagement (Acting)

List of establishments[edit]

HMP Addiewell and HMP Kilmarnock are both privately managed under contract to the SPS.

Other responsibilities[edit]

Prisoner escorting[edit]

In November 2003 SPS signed a contract on behalf of Scottish Ministers for a "Prisoner Escort and Court Custody Service". This contract with Geoamey provides for all prisoner escorting between police cells, court, prisons and hospitals as well as covering escorts from prison such as funerals, hospital appointments and community placements and also operating the court custody units. In 2012, SPS contracted this service out to G4S then onto Geoamey in 2018.

Secure hospital[edit]

Some prisoners are detained in a secure psychiatric hospital. This is run by the Scottish National Health Service rather than the SPS.

Prison aftercare[edit]

An aftercare scheme, Throughcare, has significantly cut reoffending. The scheme involves getting released prisoners a roof over their heads, sorting out their benefits and medical needs, and showing them that someone cares about them. 78% of former prisoners who received Throughcare did not return to prison over two years. Eleven Scottish prison service sites use Throughcare.[6] "The TSOs [Throughcare Support Officers] use a case management approach, working collaboratively with the prisoner, their family, statutory and third sector service partners, to discuss appropriate support provision and to develop a personalised plan to support the person during their transition from custody back in to the community."[7]

Media coverage[edit]

The SPS has been featured in many TV shows including Prison: First & Last 24 Hours on Sky One which was broadcast between 28 October 2015 and 5 December 2016.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact Us". Scottish Prison Service. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  2. ^ "About us". Scottish Prison Service. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  3. ^ "About us: Headquarters". Scottish Prison Service. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  4. ^ Watchdog finds 'emergency' conditions in Scottish prisons The Guardian
  5. ^ "The State Hospital". NHS Scotland. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  6. ^ Throughcare prison support scheme 'cuts reoffending' BBC
  7. ^ Throughcare Support Officers in Scottish Prisons

External links[edit]