THE Scottish Government has backed proposals by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini which include the replacement of Cornton Vale women’s prison.
• Kenny MacAskill has committed £20 million capital funding in 2014/15 to look for an alternative to the Stirling prison
In total, 33 of her 37 recommendations have been accepted with the remaining four to be examined more closely.
They will lead to greater focus on sentencing and rehabilitation in communities, including more one-to-one support for at risk offenders and supported accommodation to help women complete their sentences and address any underlying problems, such as addiction, which might be fueling their crime.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “The stark reality is highly concerning.
“Only 2 per cent of women offenders were involved in serious violence last year, with the vast majority of them not posing a serious risk of harm to the public.
“Yet, the number of women offenders in prison has doubled in the last decade, despite crime falling.
“Many of these women are in and out of prison time and time again, often on short sentences for minor offences, and the negative effects can be seen in communities up and down the country.
“Many are being kept on remand when the courts do not see the need to give them a custodial sentence in the end.
“Reoffending rates upon release are unacceptably high, and the effects on family members can be devastating.
“The evidence shows that this can be a catalyst for their sons or daughters to turn to a life of crime themselves.”