Funding of £3 million is to be invested in services and facilities for female offenders by the Scottish Government, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has announced.
The money will be used to establish new community justice centres in Glasgow and Aberdeen as well as expand services in Edinburgh and Dundee.
Seven additional projects across the country will also receive funding to develop and improve their work with women offenders in a way that matches local needs, the Scottish Government said.
Mr MacAskill’s announcement comes before he is due to update Parliament on the progress of recommendations made by the Commission on Women Offenders, which was headed by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini.
In partnership with agencies like the Scottish Prison Service, the commission reviewed how the Scottish Government could improve opportunities for women offenders.
The Justice Secretary said: “I am extremely pleased with the progress we have made, together with our partners, in meeting the recommendations of the Commission on Women Offenders.
“The funding I am announcing today will help transform services for women so that we can help them break the cycle of reoffending and start making a positive contribution to society.
“The commission recognised that women offenders have very different needs to those of their male counterparts and require very specific support. We have set about meeting those needs to provide a better future for women offenders, their families and communities.
“We are not complacent, however - there is still a considerable amount still to do to help women avoid the vicious circle of reoffending and imprisonment and lead meaningful and productive lives.”
To help meet the recommendations of the commission, the Scottish Government is also supporting mentoring schemes for female offenders as well as working with the Scottish Prison Service to develop HMP Inverclyde as a “custom made” national prison for women, a new regional unit for women in Edinburgh and a unit for women at the new HMP Grampian.
Cornton Vale is also being upgraded while the new facilities are developed.