A REVIEW of mental health provision at a young offenders’ institution where a tragic student took her own life has found the “risks and vulnerabilities” of some inmates are not given enough attention.

The report on HMP Polmont also found that “systemic inter-agency shortcomings” of communication and information exchange across justice inhibit the management and care of young people entering and leaving the institution.

A review of mental health services for young people in custody was ordered by the Scottish Government following the death of 21-year-old Katie Allan.

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Geography student Katie took her own life in a prison cell in June last year while serving a custodial sentence for a drink-drive offence which led to a teenage boy being left unconscious on Eastwoodmains Road, Giffnock, in August 2017.

While serving her sentence, she lost clumps of her hair and was said to have been ‘singled-out’ for strip-searches by prison officers.

The report found that being traumatised, being young, being held on remand and being in the first three months of custody increases the risk of suicide.

It also found there is a lack of proactive attention to the needs, risks and vulnerabilities of those on remand and in the early days of custody, as well as highlighting “the powerfully negative effect of social isolation.”

The HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report makes more than 80 recommendations, including that social isolation – a “key trigger for self-harm and suicide” – should be minimised, with a particular focus on those held on remand and during the early weeks in custody.

It also said a bespoke suicide and self-harm strategy should be developed by the Scottish Prison Service and NHS Forth Valley for young people that builds on the strengths of the existing framework.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The report contains 80 recommendations and we are clear that improvements can and should be made.

“We will give the report and recommendations full and detailed consideration.”

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Katie’s parents Stuart and Linda, from Giffnock, together with lawyer Aamer Anwar, met the Justice Secretary last year to discuss the issue.

Mr Yousaf said the Scottish Government would work with the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), NHS and other partners to consider further action in light of the review.

The SPS said the safety and wellbeing of everyone in its care continues to be a priority and work is already underway to strengthen the support available.

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said action has already been taken on many of the recommendations in the review and work is underway to address the others.

However, Mr Anwar said the review “paints a picture of widespread failures at all levels of the SPS and NHS.”