SPS Arts Review

The recently published Scottish Prison Service Arts Review was launched at HMP Shotts on 3rd August. The review, written by Jennifer Hill with support from our partners from the Scottish Prisons Arts Network (SPAN), was produced in the context of the SPS Organisational Review Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives, and the related Purposeful Activity Review (PAR). The document seeks to build on these initiatives by highlighting the contribution of the arts towards custodial rehabilitation by enabling individuals’ to build on their strengths and preparing them to meet the future challenges of work, family and responsible citizenship on release.

SPS Arts Review

The review will also help inform the challenges for creative arts in custody by stimulating engagement and motivating formerly reluctant learners to acquire confidence and self-belief and presenting challenges for wider educational development. Governor Jim Kerr welcomed the review stating that arts were a crucial element of the educational activities for long term prisoners at the establishment. This is evident in the wide ranging impact of the multi-award winning STIR magazine which focuses on the creative arts in stimulating self-reflection and challenging individual behaviours. Concluding remarks were made by Eddie a prisoner at Shotts who informed the group that arts and education had provided him with the confidence for the future challenges of community reintegration and accessing employment.


This perspective was endorsed by James King, Head of Offender Learning who highlighted his on-going work with a multi-agency steering group to determine the specification for the proposed New Generation Contract. This new curriculum will better integrate arts, libraries and family learning opportunities across the prison estate.


The SPS Arts Review documents can be found here:

SPS Arts Review
SPS Arts Review Annexe A
SPS Arts Review Annexe B
SPS Arts Review Annexe C
SPS Arts Review Annexe D