Young Offenders Institutions (YOIs) provide custodial facilities for 16–21 year olds:
- HMYOI Polmont is the main establishment for males
- HMP & YOI Cornton Vale is the main establishment for females
- HMP & YOI Grampian has limited availability for young females.
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.
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.
Resources for this page
- Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995
- The Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules 2006
- The Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules 2011
- Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011
- United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Families Outside: Time in Custody Information Sheet
- Families Outside: What to Expect when Starting a Prison Sentence Information Sheet
- Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland
- Scottish Prison Service (SPS)
- SPS Strategy Framework for the Management of Women Offenders in Custody
- SPS/Capability Scotland A Guide to the Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules 2011
- Article 12. (2015). I Witness 2015 the UNCRC in Scotland Young Peoples Voices. Angus: Article 12.
- CYCJ. (2015). Scottish Prison Service Vision for Young People in Custody. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Community Justice Authorities (CJAs). (2015). Framework for the support of families affected by the Criminal Justice System. Scotland: CJAs.
- McCoard, S., Broderick, R. and Carnie, J. (2013). Female Offenders 2013 14th Survey Bulletin. Edinburgh: SPS.
- McCoard, S., Broderick, R. and Carnie, J. (2013). Male Young Offenders 2013 14th Survey Bulletin. Edinburgh: SPS.
- Sapouna, M., Bisset, C., Conlong, A. and Matthews, B. (2015). What Works to Reduce Reoffending: A Summary of the Evidence. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Smith, S., Dyer, F. and Connelly, G. (2014). Young Men in Custody: A report on the pathways into and out of prison of young men aged 16 and 17. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- SPS. (2013). Report of the Scottish Prison Service Organisational Review – Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives. Edinburgh: SPS.
- SPS. (2014). Vision for Young People in Custody. Edinburgh: SPS.