Prison to Rehab Protocol

The Prison to Rehab Protocol sets out the process for prison based staff, residential rehabilitation providers and individuals on accessing the Prison to Rehab Pathway. The pathway supports individuals leaving prison who would benefit from accessing abstinence based treatment on release.

Prison to Rehab Protocol


This procedure supports individuals who would benefit from accessing abstinence based treatment, to access residential rehabilitation on release from prison. This process has been designed to support individuals who have a history of problematic alcohol and/or drug use.

This procedure should be used by Scottish Prison Service (SPS), Prison Health Care Service and Residential Rehabilitation Providers. Annex A, developed in partnership with residential rehabilitation services, sets out the available provision through this pathway and provides further background information on the pathway by the Recovery and Residential Providers Group.

Expectations of Prison Staff

It is expected that staff within prisons are aware of this protocol. This includes governors, prison officers and prison healthcare staff. Any prison based staff involved in programmes which offer support for those with drug and alcohol conditions should be involved in active preparation with the individual to identify the most suitable residential service. Prison healthcare staff will be required to provide background information such as medical history and historic substance use.

Expectations of Rehabilitation Providers

Residential rehabilitation providers will conduct a robust assessment of suitability and will take an active role in the individual's preparation by ensuring they are fully informed of what a rehab placement entails. Residential rehabilitation providers are expected to engage with prospective service users, prison staff and prison healthcare staff and should indicate the suitability of their service at an early stage, redirecting the individual to an alternative service where appropriate.

Residential Rehabilitation providers are also expected to link in with the relevant Alcohol and Drugs Partnership to ensure continuity of care for the individual once the residential placement is complete.


This protocol is available to all convicted prisoners within Scottish penal establishments. There is an expectation that individuals accessing the protocol will demonstrate a high and deep-rooted motivation to abstinent recovery within the prison setting. Individuals should be actively involved with prison recovery initiatives.

The expected length of time for preparation is at least 12 weeks, and it should be noted that some residential rehabilitation providers operate a waiting list. Interest should be expressed as early as possible to ensure there is sufficient time to complete the assessment process and access the rehab provider of the individual's choosing.

Contents of the Protocol

  • Detailed process (page 2)
  • Summary flowchart of referral and claims process (page 5)
  • Annex A: Participating residential rehabilitation providers (page 6)



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