Young Offenders Institutions in Scotland


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):

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.

Children and 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 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.

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