Expectations: inspection criteria

'Expectations' is the document which sets out the detailed criteria HMI Prisons uses to appraise and inspect prisons.

These criteria are used to examine every area of prison life, from reception to resettlement, including:

  • safer custody
  • health services
  • good order
  • work
  • diversity
  • resettlement

The concept of a healthy prison is one that was first set out by the World Health Organisation, but it has been developed by this Inspectorate, and is now widely accepted as a definition of what ought to be provided in any custodial environment. It rests upon four key tests:

  • safety:  prisoners, even the most vulnerable, are held safely
  • respect: prisoners are treated with respect for their human dignity
  • purposeful activity:  prisoners are able, and expected, to engage in activity that is likely to benefit them
  • resettlement:  prisoners are prepared for release into the community, and helped to reduce the likelihood of reoffending

Healthy prison assessments

4 Outcomes for prisoners are good against this healthy prison test.
There is no evidence that outcomes for prisoners are being adversely affected in any significant areas.

3 Outcomes for prisoners are reasonably good against this healthy prison test.
There is evidence of adverse outcomes for prisoners in only a small number of areas. For the majority there are no significant concerns. Procedures to safeguard outcomes are in place.     

2 Outcomes for prisoners are not sufficiently good against this healthy prison test.
There is evidence that outcomes for prisoners are being adversely affected in many areas or particularly in those areas of greatest importance to the well-being of prisoners. Problems/concerns, if left unattended, are likely to become areas of serious concern.  

1 Outcomes for prisoners are poor against this healthy prison test.
There is evidence that the outcomes for prisoners are seriously affected by current practice. There is a failure to ensure even adequate treatment of and/or conditions for prisoners. Immediate remedial action is required.

More information

Find out more about how we judge prisons and immigration detention facilities by reading the full document:

Armed Forces service custody premises expectations (PDF 0.72mb)  

Police custody expectations (PDF 0.33mb)

Prison expectations (PDF 1.00mb)

Immigration detention expectations (PDF 1.17mb)

Children and young people expectations (PDF 0.91mb)

Court custody expectations (PDF 0.17mb)

HM Inspectorate of Prisons

Contact

Get email alerts
Find a form
Find a court form