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New plans for women in custody announced 22/06/2015 Scotland is to adopt a new approach to dealing with female offenders with a move towards custody in the community

New plans for women in custody announced

Scotland is to adopt a new approach to dealing with female offenders with a move towards custody in the community, backed by targeted support to address underlying issues and action to reduce the numbers of women receiving custodial sentences.

The plans, unveiled by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, will see the creation of a new small national prison with 80 places, alongside five smaller community-based custodial units each accommodating up to 20 women across the country.

The smaller community-based custodial units will provide accommodation as women serve out their sentence, with access to intensive support to help overcome issues such as alcohol, drugs, mental health and domestic abuse trauma, which evidence shows can often be a driver of offending behaviour. The units will be located in areas close to the communities of female offenders so that family contact can be maintained.

There will also be more use of community-based alternatives to short-term prison sentences, including restricting liberty through the increased use of electronic monitoring, combined with support in the community, and more funding will be made available for community-based services which provide robust and effective alternatives to custody.

Ministers also plan to consult shortly on proposals to further strengthen the presumption against short-term prison sentences.

 

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