Case study: Petty criminals mixed with dangerous inmates at Cornton Vale
“Cornton Vale is really run down,” said a mother-of-two, who has recently been released from the prison after serving 13-months for a drugs related crime.
“No prison is the best place in the world for a woman and I do agree that the best thing that could be done is to pull it down.
“I found it hard going there. There is this stigma attached to it and a feeling that everybody gets treated the same no matter what their problems are.
“Not everybody in there is a drug-user or alcohol dependent. Everyone has issues, but they may be different issues.
“There was a feeling that a lot of problems were not focused on, particularly mental health problems. Mental health is a massive issue in there and it is not recognised enough.
“I first went in before Christmas in 2010 and it was very overcrowded. Everybody was having to share space and rooms.
“They didn’t have separate blocks for long-termers, so petty criminals were in with dangerous criminals. That is a big problem in Cornton Vale, which I don’t think you would get in a guy’s prison.
“People who had committed some really bad crimes were put in with mainstream prisoners.
“You couldn’t do that in a guy’s prison, because there would be a riot – especially people who had done something with kids – that’s a big, big thing.”
While inside, the mother-of-two managed to pass a Higher exam in computing.
Since her release, she has been working with the charity Circle Scotland, which supports children and families of prisoners.
“I would say that Cornton Vale is not the right place for a lot of people and I certainly hope that I never, ever go back there.
“But I’ve got to keep on the right track and Circle Scotland have been a great help with that.
“Having said that, some of the staff in [Cornton Vale] were fantastic. They were really nice people and I got on better with some of them than I did with the prisoners.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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