The movie was inspired by the success of the earlier prison picture Scum (1979) made and released years about three years earlier. Whereas that gaol film had male inmates this film instead featured female jailbirds. The two movies are considered companion pieces, this film even being referred to as a sequel of sorts; the two films share a number of same and similar story elements common to both movies.
A few of the crew worked on both "Scrubbers" and the earlier penitentiary picture Scum (1979). Roy Minton worked as a writer on both whilst Don Boyd was a producer on both too.
The film's "Scrubbers' title is an English prison slang term that means "undesirable person". In Britain, it can also refer to a "promiscuous woman", whilst in Ireland, it means "a common or working class woman".
The word "Borstal" is a British term for a "youth penitentiary" but it has also been used for "detention centers" and "approved schools". Borstals were for serious offenders and extreme delinquency and were run by the Her Majesty's Prison Service. The meaning of the term "borstal training" was really just another way of saying "court sentence".
Promotional materials for the film on DVD have stated this movie is from "The writers of Scum (1979)" but in fact only one of the writers, Roy Minton, worked on that movie, as Scum (1979) only had one writer. The other writers of "Scrubbers" did not work on Scum (1979).
Most of the actresses looked much older and at least significantly at least in their twenties than the teenage offenders they were supposedly portraying.
According to the DVD sleeve notes, the film featured "actors who have actually done time".
In an early film role, actor-comedian Robbie Coltrane played a character with the oddly name of "Puff Guts".