Communication with Scottish Prison Service regarding photocopying of mail: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Correspondence (including emails, attachments, typed or handwritten notes, letters, notes/records of phone calls, minutes of meetings, briefings or otherwise) between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Prison Service regarding the proposal to change prison rules to allow for the photocopying of prisoner mail, between 1 September 2021 and 3 November 2021).


Attached is a copy of some of the information requested. Whilst our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance some information has been provided in the form of an extract because the remainder of the information in that document does not fall within the scope of the request. Furthermore, we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because elements of the correspondence you requested have been redacted under exemption in terms of section s.38(1)b) and section 36(1).

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

An exemption under section 36(1) of FOISA (confidentiality of communications) applies to some of the information requested because it is legal advice and disclosure would breach legal professional privilege.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of open and transparent government, and to inform the public debate. However, this is outweighed by the strong public interest in maintaining the right to confidentiality of communications between legal advisers and clients, to ensure that Ministers and officials are able to receive legal advice in confidence, like any other public or private organisation.

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The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI202100252770 - Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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