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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-14328

  • Asked by: Daniel Johnson, MSP for Edinburgh Southern, Scottish Labour
  • Date lodged: 26 January 2023
  • Current status: Answered by Keith Brown on 2 February 2023


To ask the Scottish Government what steps the Scottish Prison Service is taking to (a) identify and (b) provide treatment for prisoners with neurodevelopmental disorders.


I have asked Jim Kerr, Interim Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), to respond. His response is as follows:

From a learning and education perspective, all individuals admitted to custody are invited to participate in a screening process conducted by SPS education provider (Fife College), who deliver contracted learning services across all SPS sites. If during this process the assessor identifies any behaviours, presentation or capacities that are indicative of a neurodivergent condition, a further referral can be made to utilise a profiling tool called Do-IT with the consent of the individual concerned. In these circumstances specifically trained Fife colleagues apply the profiling tool. The referral process is open to all staff, not just SPS uniformed staff, if they believe an offender in SPS care needs additional support.

In addition SPS may also fulfil its role in the identification and treatment of offenders in its care by referral of individuals who present with potential learning difficulties to the NHS. NHS are then responsible for assessment, diagnosis and the development, in partnership (with SPS), of a support plan. Formal clinical assessment and diagnosis falls within the remit of NHS colleagues who would refer to specialist services where indicated. A shared support plan would be developed and implemented as required. Where an offender is admitted into custody with an existing diagnosis, NHS colleagues would support transition from those community services with which individuals have been engaged.