Young offenders institutions
Admission process

“Sixteen and 17 year olds moving into custody are likely to be particularly troubled, disadvantaged and vulnerable. Failing to meet their needs as they move from the community to custody can lead to a lifetime of offending behaviour” (Scottish Government, 2011, p.29)

On arrival, Scottish Prison Service (SPS) staff should ensure the child:

The child may also be allowed to make a telephone call at the expense of the SPS.

Issues that have been highlighted will be recorded and promptly followed up.

HMIPS (2019) in the Expert Review of Mental Health in HMP&YOI Polmont highlighted the importance of proactive attention to the needs, risks and vulnerabilities of children in custody on remand and in early days of being remanded or sentenced, and the importance (and shortcomings) in communication and information sharing across justice agencies, with significant implications for the care, support and management of children entering custody.

Notification of the local authority

For all children, the SPS will notify via email the Whole System Approach Lead in the local authority where the child ordinarily resides that the child is in custody. The WSA Lead should share this information with the Lead Professional who should:


A child’s reception into custody may also be a frightening and concerning time for families.

It is important family members are supported during this period. Families Outside, YOI family contact officers and the resources below can provide support and answer questions.

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