Young Offenders Institutions in Scotland


Young Offenders Institutions (YOIs) provide custodial facilities for 16–21 year olds:

16 and 17 year olds are generally held separately from older prisoners in accordance with the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article 37(c) unless mitigating circumstances dictate otherwise (such as a risk to the young person’s safety). Young people on remand and those who have been sentenced are often held together. In HMYOI Polmont this is in Blair House and in HMP & YOI Cornton Vale Skye House.

Young people can be placed in a YOI only by order of the court, either having been sentenced or remanded to custody.

Facilities vary by establishment. Cells can be shared with another individual and generally will have a work space area and either en-suite facilitates or near-by access. Young people can access areas for activities, family visits and to make phone calls.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is responsible for YOIs and establishments are inspected by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland.

One of the SPS priorities is maintaining family contact and promoting positive relationships while the family member is in custody. For young people this aligns with article 37 UNCRC which states children detained in custody should be able to maintain contact with their families except in exceptional circumstances.

Partnership working with the young person, family members, and all relevant professionals throughout the young person’s period of detention is fundamental to ensure positive outcomes and successful reintegration.

Prior to admission to YOI

The young person must have a court warrant naming the establishment to which he/she is to be admitted.

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