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Tackling offending by women

Plans are being prepared for Scotland to have a ‘custom made’ national prison for women and a new specialist unit, according to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Mr MacAskill revealed the proposal in a progress report submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee on the implementation of recommendations arising from the Commission on Women Offenders, chaired by Scotland’s former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini.

As a result of the Commission’s recommendations, the Scottish Government is leading a major shake-up of the way in which Scotland’s criminal justice system deals with women offenders.

Mr MacAskill has outlined work across 17 key areas, including:

  • proposals to develop a planned new prison in Inverclyde as a ‘custom made’ national prison for women offenders and build a new specialist unit for women at HMP Edinburgh,
  • the first allocations being awarded from Reducing Reoffending Change Fund (RRCF) to support mentoring programmes for women offenders across Scotland,
  • plans to publish a consultation paper on a range of options for redesigning the community justice system in Scotland, to ensure the most effective and efficient ways of reducing reoffending,
  • investment in mental health services – both in prisons and the community – to help address the disproportionately high number of mental illnesses amongst offenders, and
  • work to improve the conditions at HMP Cornton Vale immediately, including equipping it with video conference facilities to minimise the time that women offenders have to spend travelling to court.