COVID-19 Information Hub



The safety and wellbeing of those living and working in our prisons is a priority for the Scottish Prison Service (SPS). We are working with the Scottish Government, Health Protection Scotland, our NHS colleagues and a range of other partners on a daily basis to manage the unprecedented challenges we are all now facing.

The SPS has robust pandemic plans in place which are implemented on a phased basis in response to escalation demands. We continue to follow public health advice, which means that anyone in our care who displays symptoms of the virus will be asked to self-isolate, as well as those how may have been in contact with that individual.


As at Thursday 22/07/2021 there are currently 783 individuals who are self-isolating across 8 establishments. A significant number of individuals are self isolating due to potential contact with a confirmed case.

There are 128 confirmed cases of COVID amongst those in our care, 124 of which are in HMP Perth.

We continue to manage the outbreak in HMP Perth. There are currently 124 confirmed cases of COVID amongst those in our care at HMP Perth. A significant number of these individuals are asymptomatic positives.

As a precautionary measure, all individuals living in HMP Perth are currently isolating. This means that those in custody do not have access to courts or agents visits, family visits or the gymnasium at the moment. Individuals have access to open air and showers, as well as their mobile phones and the hall phones.

We continue to work closely with Public Health colleagues in the relevant health boards in managing these cases.


7 July 2021

We recognise that this continues to be a challenging time for many families across Scotland, with necessary restrictions still in place during visiting. We are pleased to announce that today we have updated our guidance on visiting. From now on:

  • All visitors on entry to the prison must complete a COVID triage questionnaire. If visitors answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions, they will not be permitted to attend the visit. The questionnaire asks:
    • Visitors will not be permitted to wear disposable gloves during their visit.
    • Hand sanitisers will be available at the entrance to the prison and visitors will be encouraged to use hand sanitisers.
    • Visitors, not from the same household, must maintain a physical distance of at least 1 metre when being escorted from the prison entrance to the visit area.
    • All visitors over the age of 5 years must wear a face mask on entering the prison, while being escorted to the visit area and until seated in the visit area.
    • People in custody may make physical contact with their visitors, such as a hug or handshake, when they first greet at the beginning of the visit and when saying goodbye at the end of the visit. The person in custody and the visitor must be wearing a face mask where there is physical contact. Anyone who is exempt from wearing a face mask/face covering must not make physical contact during the visit.
    • Visitors under the age of 5 may have physical contact throughout the visit.
    • Hand sanitiser will be available to those in custody and visitors within the visit area. Where possible hand sanitiser will be available at the table, but where this is not possible, hand sanitiser dispensers will be in place within the visit area.
    • Visit areas will be arranged to allow a 1 metre distance between each visiting group while seated.
    • Visitors and people in custody are permitted to eat or drink during the visit. Visitors must not move from their designated visit table e.g. to refresh drinks without donning a mask.

    Details of local arrangements are posted on the COVID Friends and Families page. 

    Please remember that these arrangements are subject to change, at any time, depending on local or national circumstances.



    Please see below our updated FAQ's for July 2021

    Covid FAQs July 2021




    Updated: 21 April 2021

    We recognise that the last few months have been challenging for many families across Scotland, with access to in person visits limited and we are pleased to announce that in person visits will be available in all our establishments from Monday 26 April 2021.

    We know that you will be anxious to see your loved ones in person again but threat of the virus has not gone away, so visits cannot simply return to ‘normal’. The visit arrangements in place will be similar to those prior to this most recent lockdown with limits on numbers, physical distancing and public health measures in place. Details of local arrangements are posted on the COVID Friends and Families page

    If you wish to book a visit, please contact your local establishment. 

    Please do remember that these arrangements may be subject to change, at any time, depending on local or national circumstances.


     Establishment Family Contact Support Details


    Virtual Vists Mythbusters

    Online Bank Transfers




    COVID Weekly Update 

    Friday 25 June 2021, Prison Population 7xxx

    There are 31 confirmed cases of COVID amongst those in our care. 

    There are 502 individuals who are self-isolating in 7 different establishments. A significant number of these individuals are self-isolating  due to potential contact with individuals who have tested positive.

    We continue to work closely with Public Health colleagues in the relevant health boards in managing these cases. 





    Number of individuals self-isolating*

    Number of confirmed cases

    HMP Addiewell




    HMP Barlinnie




    HMP& YOI Cornton Vale




    HMP Dumfries




    HMP Edinburgh




    HMP Glenochil




    HMP & YOI Grampian




    HMP Greenock




    HMP Inverness




    HMP Kilmarnock




    HMP Low Moss




    HMP Open Estate




    HMP Perth




    HMP & YOI Polmont




    HMP Shotts








    Weekly staff absence update

    On Friday 25 June 2021 there were 499 members of staff absent across the SPS. This represents 11.0% of the total workforce. 

    In total 122 staff, 2.7% of the total workforce, are currently absent from their work specifically due to reasons related COVID-19.  This includes those who are symptomatic, self-isolating, shielding or caring for family members.

    60 of these staff, 1.3% of the total workforce, are reporting to be symptomatic.



    Visitors (either private or official) are required to wear a face mask/covering from the time they enter the prison, throughout the duration of the visit and until they exit the building. 

    Visitors who advise that they have a health condition or a disability (including hidden disabilities, for example autism, dementia or a learning disability), which exempts them from wearing a face mask, will not be required to wear a face mask/covering. However, visitors who are exempt must advise the prison when booking the visit or prior to the visit taking place that they are exempt to allow the prison to put in place any necessary arrangements required to safely facilitate the visit.





    The SPS is pleased to publish our COVID 19 Route Map which is guided by the Scottish Government's own plan. This plan represents a series of connected, and carefully controlled steps which will be taken to ensure that SPS can move forward, whilst acknowledging the measures we will have to continue to take, such as physical distancing and handwashing to help prevent the spread of the virus or further outbreaks occurring. The SPS will continue to be subject to scrutiny by the independent Inspectorate of Prisons in Scotland and to be accountable to Parliament.

    The plan, and underpinning Physical Distancing guidance, focus on the transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and from Phase 2 to Phase 3.

    Our organisational progress and establishment regime development is premised on:

    a) having the appropriate level of staff resource available to safely make these changes for all who live, work and visit our prison estate; and

    b) having a full suite of health and safety assessments which underpin safe working. 

    Based on this approach, it may be the case that the SPS will have to move at a different pace from wider society. We will provide more detailed guidance around key dates and what they mean in due  course. Please  note that the Route Map is a dynamic document subject to flex dependent upon changes in guidance and advice.







    Early Release Data

    The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 provides new powers for the early release of a specific class of prisoners held in Scottish prisons. Our Early Release Tranche 1, 2 & 3 Reports are available via the links below.

    ER Tranche 1 Report

    ER Tranche 1 Report Tables (Excel)

    ER Tranche 2 Report

    ER Tranche 2 Report - Tables

    ER Tranche 3 Report

    ER Tranche 3 Report - Tables (Excel)




    COVID-19 is impacting on all areas of life including those we care for in prisons and their families, our staff, partners and visitors. We have compiled answers to frequently asked questions which we hope you will find useful. Please click on the link below. These will be regularly updated to reflect the current situation.

    Frequently Asked Questions (August 2020)



    Any contractor, supplier or external partner carrying out essential work within, or delivering essential supplies to, our establishments shall, in terms of their health and safety relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, be safeguarded on an equal basis as SPS employees.

    The SPS is applying the same social distancing principles that you will find in any public environment, as advised and guided by Health Protection Scotland.

    The guidance document below has been produced to provide important information and advice for non-SPS staff entering our establishments.

    COVID 19 Prevention Awareness (NEW) February 2021

    COVID Guidance for Suppliers and Contractors Updated September 2020

    Face Mask and Face Coverings Guidance