Thursday, April 26, 2012

Women in Prison

A report recommends that Scotland's only all-female jail should be demolished to make way for specialist units. Last week, the Commission on Women Offenders, chaired by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, published the findings of an eight-month review on women in the country's criminal justice system. It said Cornton Vale prison, near Stirling, should be replaced with a smaller specialist prison for long-term and high-risk prisoners, as well as regional units to hold short-term and remand prisoners. Her comments were echoed by Brigadier Hugh Monro, Chief Inspector of Prisons in Scotland, who carried out his third inspection of the jail in two-and-a-half years. He said inmates suffering from complex mental health issues should be moved into specialist care facilities. Women have been held in "silent cells" without natural light or ventilation where the bed is just a mattress on concrete.

Brigadier Monro said: "We need some signposts nationally about where such people should be held. Either we up our game for male and female prisoners when dealing with mental health issues or we need to look at alternative facilities not within the prison system."

Juliet Lyon
, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:"It is intolerable that some of most vulnerable women in Scotland should be held in one of its bleakest, most outdated and under-staffed institution."

The number of women in prison has more than doubled over the last decade, although 75% of custodial sentences imposed on females are for six months or less.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2012/04/25/cornton-vale-inmates-with-mental-health-problems-should-be-moved-report-says-86908-23837447/

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