Prison chief to retire

Colin McConnell to retire after almost eight years as head of prison service.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has thanked Colin McConnell for his work as Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) following his decision to retire later this year.

Mr McConnell has led the SPS since May 2012, following a career in prisons in Scotland, England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Yousaf said:

“I am very grateful to Colin for his important work in Scotland’s prison service, including almost eight years leading the organisation through a critical period of change, challenge and transformation.

“The organisational review he commissioned led to the establishment of a new vision for Scotland’s prisons, focused on the rehabilitation and reintegration of people in the SPS’s care. He has enhanced and highlighted the critical role of frontline prison officers and, as a member of the Justice Board for Scotland, has contributed to our collective aim of a safe, just and resilient Scotland.

“Colin has played a key role in challenging traditional views of the role of prison – driving work aimed at unlocking potential and transforming lives – for example in paving the way for a transformation in how we manage and support women in custody. I wish Colin the very best for his retirement later this year.

“The process to identify a new Chief Executive will begin shortly.”

Mr McConnell said:

“Having been afforded the opportunity to lead one of our nation's core public services and all of the good and loyal people who make it the exceptional organisation that it is, fills me with considerable pride and immeasurable gratitude. I know that whoever is appointed to this role in future will quickly come to feel the same way.”


The SPS is an Agency of the Scottish Government and the Chief Executive is directly responsible to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and to the Scottish Parliament.

Mr McConnell began his career in the SPS as a prison officer, then serving as Assistant Governor at Glenochil and as Management Development Officer at the SPS College, before working in the prison service in England & Wales and, prior to his current role, in Northern Ireland as Director General of the Prison Service.


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