In July 2016 I wrote a blog “Adjudication hearings in Scottish Prisons.” This is a short update to that blog.  Over the years, I have learnt that the Scottish Prison Service are not always transparent when it comes to publishing  policy and procedure.  During recent Judicial Review proceedings we discovered that the Disciplinary Guide published in 2012 was superseded by new guidance in November 2018 “Guidance on Disciplinary Hearings Nov 2018.”   Unlike the 2012 guidance, the 2018 guidance does not seem to be published on the Scottish Prison Service website.

Part 6 of the guidance deals with requests for legal representation and the manner in which the Adjudicator should consider an application for legal representation from a prisoner.  The advice I would give is that prisoners should always request legal advice prior to the hearing and they should also request representation at these hearings, especially when a not guilty plea is to be entered.  Civil Legal Aid Advice and Assistance is available to provide this advice.

I don’t know if the guidance is available to prisoners.  In the past, we have been told it should be available in the prison library.  My view is that each prisoner facing a charge should be provided with a copy of the guidance and a copy of the Prison Rules so that they can fully understand the procedure and their rights before the disciplinary hearing takes place.

Disciplinary hearings can be very important, as a guilty finding may have an impact in the following ways: –

  •  affect prisoner’s ability to progress.
  •  trigger a security category review.
  •  trigger a requirement for assessment/re-assessment for offence focused               programmes.
  •  trigger downgrade from National Top End and/or the Open Estate.
  •  be taken into consideration by the Parole Board for Scotland when they make an assessment of risk and ability to comply with licence conditions.


Adjudicators,  in my experience, are willing to allow a prisoner to take advice prior to the hearing.  Proceedings are usually adjourned for a very short period of usually a few days.  However, when it comes to actual representation at the hearing, I don’t think Adjudicators give requests for legal representation the consideration they deserve. I’m guessing these applications are rarely granted and, if they are, the number granted will  probably be in single figures.   SPS record keeping makes it difficult to ascertain the exact position.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at theprisonlawyer@gmail.com










At McGreevy & Co., Solicitors we spend a lot of time on the road travelling to courts and prisons across Scotland.  We therefore appreciate the importance of your driving licence to you.

When faced with criminal charges for driving offences we understand the stress and worry this can cause.   The stakes can often be high with your licence, livelihood and income at risk.   We are experienced criminal defence lawyers based in Glasgow.   No matter what charge you are facing, we will provide you with straightforward advice on your options.  The sorts of case which can arise are as follows:

• Speeding

• Death by Dangerous or Careless Driving

• Drink and Drug Driving

• Failure to provide a specimen

• Dangerous Driving

• Careless Driving

• Driving whilst disqualified

• Driving without insurance

• Mobile phone offences

• Failure to stop when instructed to do so

• other road traffic offences

We can assess your eligibility for Legal Aid which may not be available due to the nature of the charge or your financial eligibility.  In those circumstances we will provide you with a quote for the work required.  In most cases we will quote a competitive fixed fee which will offer some certainty regarding the costs involved.

Umar Hussain

If you have been charged with a road traffic offence, feel free to contact our Umar Hussain who will provide you with initial free advice.  He can be contacted at McGreevy & Co., Criminal Defence Solicitors, 370 Victoria Road, Glasgow or by telephone on 0141 422 2220 or 07872122601.

How to contact The Prison Lawyer.


Our Mr Smith can be contacted in the following ways:-


 0141 239 7407 (direct dial land line)

 07968802638 (mobile telephone)

Each of these telephone numbers has an answering machine. If Mr Smith is unable to answer your call, please wait for the greeting to end and thereafter leave your name, contact details and a brief description of the issue which you wish to discuss with him and he will make arrangements to return your call.

If you are passing these numbers to a person in custody. Please request that they ask for the Prison to lists these numbers as legally privileged in order that their telephone calls to our Mr Smith is confidential.


Write to Mr Smith at McGreevy & Co., 370 Victoria Road, Govanhill, Glasgow, G42 8YW




You can also contact him via the contact page on the McGreevy & Co., Solicitors Website


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New Scottish Prison Service Book Policy

As a result of work we have been doing, the Scottish Prison Service has decided to amend the terms of their policy in relation to prisoners receiving books from family and friends.  The previous policy was as follows:-

GMA 59A/12

On 25 May 2015 the new Scottish Prison Service policy  will come into force. This new policy amends the previous policy to provide Governors with a discretion to permit a prisoner’s family and friends to send or hand books in directly to the establishment for the personal use of a named prisoner where there are exceptional circumstances agreed by the Governor.

The policy provides a definition of exceptional circumstances. It will be interesting to see in practice what Governors consider as exceptional.

I have many concerns about the policy. One of the obvious concerns is that it does not expressly recognise the financial pressures on prisoners, their families and friends. The approved suppliers can be more expensive than a charity shop or local supermarket. It does not take into account the issue of books already owned by the prisoner or their family and friends. It will be interesting to see if the Governors will interpret the policy in a way that takes into account the financial pressures on the families of prisoners who wish to provide reading materials to their loved ones.

The  purpose of this blog is not to criticise the terms of the policy. That can and will  be left to another forum. However I do wish friends and families of prisoners to be aware that the policy has been changed in such a way that they might be able to hand in books to their loved ones.




RELEASE: The Koestler Exhibition for Scotland

I have been meaning to post these photographs of the Koestler Trust prisoner art exhibition for Scotland since December 2013.   I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.








Motorcycle by James, HMP Glenochil.
Motorcycle by James, HMP Glenochil.


Cool Dude by Stuart, HMP Addiewell.
Cool Dude by Stuart, HMP Addiewell.






Colourful Bird by Esmail, Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.
Colourful Bird by Esmail, Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.


Astro Scout and Zoomer the Robot by Anon, HMP Shotts.
Astro Scout and Zoomer the Robot by Anon, HMP Shotts.


Spirit of Forgiveness by Anon, HMP Peterhead.
Spirit of Forgiveness by Anon, HMP Peterhead.




Trippin by William, HMP Kilmarnock.
Trippin by William, HMP Kilmarnock.


Plateau Unzipped by Nathan, HMP Dumfries.
Plateau Unzipped by Nathan, HMP Dumfries.


The Power of Nature by Esmail, Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.
The Power of Nature by Esmail, Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.


Would YA of Wouldn't YA? by Anon, HMP Inverness.
Would YA of Wouldn’t YA? by Anon, HMP Inverness.


Heavy Bovril by Michael, HMP Low Moss.
Heavy Bovril by Michael, HMP Low Moss.


Self Worth by David, HMP Dumfries.
Self Worth by David, HMP Dumfries.


Boxers. Dayne from HMP reenock
Boxers by Dayne, HMP Greenock