Young Offenders Institutions (YOIs) provide custodial facilities for 16–21 year olds (or older in exceptional circumstances with the Governor of the establishment’s agreement):
- HMYOI Polmont is the main establishment for males and females
- HMP & YOI Cornton Vale has limited availability for certain young females (including those within the Mother and Baby Unit or who present complex mental health needs)
- HMP & YOI Grampian has limited availability for young females.
Sixteen 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 child or young person’s safety). Children or young people on remand and those who have been sentenced are often held together. In HMYOI Polmont this is in Monro House 2 for young males or Monro House 4 for young males who have committed certain offences; and Blair House 1 for young females.
Facilities vary by establishment. Cells can be shared with another individual and generally will have a work space area and either ensuite facilitates or near-by access. Children and 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 child or young person, family members, and all relevant professionals throughout their period of detention is fundamental to ensure positive outcomes and successful reintegration.
The following sections apply to all children and young people. Where there are different arrangements for children or young people depending on whether they are remanded or sentenced these are highlighted within the following sections.
Prior to admission to YOI
The child or 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 Families
- 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.
- Broderick, R. and Carnie, J. (2018). Prisoners Survey Prisoners who have been in care as ‘looked after children’ 2017. Edinburgh: SPS.
- Broderick, R. and Carnie, J. (2018). Prisoner Survey Women in Custody 2017. Edinburgh: SPS.
- Cameron, J., Broderick, R. and Carnie, J. (2018). Prisoner Survey Young People in Custody 2017. Edinburgh: SPS.
- HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland. (2019). Report on Expert Review of Provision of Mental Health Services HMP YOI Polmont. Edinburgh: HMIPS.
- HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland. (2019). Report on Full Inspection of HMP YOI Polmont – 29 October to 2 November 2019. Edinburgh: HMIPS.
- 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.