Still Nothing to See Here? One year update on prison deaths and FAI outcomes in Scotland

Published: November 2022

This briefing provides a one-year update since we published our reports Nothing to See Here? and A Defective System in October 2021. In that work, we analysed nearly 200 Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) determinations, comprising all the FAIs published of the 359 deaths in prison occurring between 2005 and 2019. FAIs are the only mandated, publicly accessible investigation into prison deaths that exists in Scotland and have the ultimate aim of
preventing deaths in similar circumstances.

In this briefing we assess where things are one year later. We review deaths in prison during the Covid years (2020-22) and analyse all the FAIs published since our previous publication.

In summary, since we last reported:

  • There were a higher number of deaths in prison (121) during 2020-2022 than in any other three-year period preceding it
  • 32 FAIs involving deaths in prison have been completed since early 2021; as of October 2022 there are 123 FAIs outstanding
  • Sheriffs have identified even fewer precautions, system defects or recommendations than in our first report
  • Family involvement remains low

Authors: Sarah Armstrong, Linda Allan, Deborah Cairns, Stuart Allan and Betsy Barkas

Authors / Editors

Prof Sarah Armstrong

University of Glasgow

Elizabeth Barkas

University of Glasgow

Research Themes

Criminal Justice and Health

Evidence, Statistics and Trends

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