‘Miserable’ Cornton Vale jail to be replaced
PLANS are being drawn up to replace Scotland’s “miserable” women’s prison with a custom-made jail, the justice secretary has announced.
Former lord advocate Dame Elish Angiolini recommended the closure of Cornton Vale, near Stirling, in June, calling it “a miserable place” where some prisoners live in “antediluvian and appalling” conditions.
In a progress report to Holyrood’s justice committee, Kenny MacAskill said plans are progressing to action Dame Elish’s recommendation.
In his letter, before an appearance to discuss progress with the committee on 6 November, Mr MacAskill outlined proposals to develop a custom-made national prison for women in Inverclyde and build a specialist unit for women at HMP Edinburgh.
“Following the commission’s recommendations, I asked the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to begin identifying suitable alternatives to Cornton Vale, leading to its replacement,” he wrote.
“I made clear that I had tasked the SPS with producing plans for developing a more suitable national facility for the small number of women who are either serving long-term sentences or who present a significant risk to the public.
“I agree with proposals that have been submitted by the SPS to develop HMP Inverclyde as a ‘custom-made’ national prison for women offenders. The SPS will work up detailed proposals on how to deliver these changes and I will be able to provide more information in my next annual report to parliament.”
He also announced that the first allocations had been awarded from the Reducing Reoffending Change Fund to support mentoring programmes for women offenders across Scotland.
The Scottish Government 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”.
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