MSPs seek women offenders reform update

It reported back in 2012, recommending that Cornton Vale should be replaced with a smaller specialist prison for women. Picture: TSPL
It reported back in 2012, recommending that Cornton Vale should be replaced with a smaller specialist prison for women. Picture: TSPL
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THE JUSTICE SECRETARY will face questions from MSPs today on the progress of reforms to the way women are dealt with by the criminal justice system.

Michael Matheson published the latest report on implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Women Offenders last week.

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He will update Holyrood’s Justice Committee on a range of measures being put in place, including replacing Scotland’s only women’s prison, Cornton Vale, near Stirling.

The commission, chaired by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, was set up in 2011 following critical inspection reports.

It reported back in 2012, recommending that Cornton Vale should be replaced with a smaller specialist prison for women serving long-term sentences and who present a significant risk.

Investment made in Scottish women’s prisons

Most female prisoners on remand or serving short-term sentences should be held in local prisons, the commission said.

Mr Matheson is expected to update MSPs on plans for a new facility at HMP Inverclyde.

Its design was signed off in August, with an invitation to tender due to be published in early 2015.

The new prison and other regional units will have the capacity to house Scotland’s 450 female prisoners, with the aim of reducing the number in future years.

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