Cornton Vale women’s prison to close in the summer

A female prisoner in a cell at Cornton Vale, which will close in the summer. Picture: PA
A female prisoner in a cell at Cornton Vale, which will close in the summer. Picture: PA
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SCOTLAND’S only all-female prison will close in the summer, justice secretary Michael Matheson will announce later.

The existing Cornton Vale jail, which opened near Stirling in 1975, will be demolished and eventually replaced with a smaller facility on the same site for 80 of the most serious offenders.

Another five regional units, housing 20 prisoners each, will also be built.

Half of the jail’s current population will be moved to vacant wings at HMYOI Polmont, near Falkirk.

Mr Matheson said: “This move is another positive step towards our ambitious new approach to transform the way we deal with women in custody. We must be smarter in our approaches so that we can help break the cycle of reoffending.

“Moving a large number of female prisoners from Cornton Vale to newer, improved facilities at Polmont will allow us to decommission obsolete parts of the prison and progress with our vision for a smaller, high-quality national prison and five community custody units across the country.

“We are able to include Polmont in our plans thanks to the success we’ve seen in reducing youth offending in Scotland, which is down 70 per cent over the last ten years.

“By housing these women in smaller, community bases units closer to their families, alongside providing additional support to address the underlying issues which fuel the crime such as drugs, alcohol or mental ill-health, we can stop them from committing further crimes in the future.”

The Scotish Government scrapped plans to build a larger women’s prison near Greenock last year.

READ MORE: In detail: Scotland’s prison population