The Scottish Government has announced plans to build its first alternative female prison in Maryhill and Dundee as part of efforts to reduce reoffending.

Cabinet secretary for justice Michael Matheson said the two Community Custody Units (CCU), managing lower-risk female prisoners closer to local services and support, would be located on the site of the former Maryhill Health Centre and at a site still to be confirmed in Dundee.

The Maryhill CCU will provide facilities for around 20 women and is due to be open by the end of 2020.

The locations were identified following careful consideration of a variety of sites and in consultation with the relevant local authorities.

These new community based units will provide facilities for around 20 women. The women who will serve their custodial sentence in the CCU will be appropriately assessed as suitable for serving out this part of their sentence closer to their community and with greater community access.

Michael Matheson said: “These new community units will assist women to maintain links with their families and accommodate them close to both their communities and the agencies that can ensure they are able to move away from offending.

“Work on these units will respond to the changing profile of the female prison population, and the risk profile of women in custody.  The Scottish Prison Service plan that these first 2 units, and the national facility, will be open by the end of 2020.

“This work is part of a wider transformation within our prisons, professionalising the role of prison officers, ensuring a focus on rehabilitation, and supporting the re-integration of people leaving custody.”

Colin McConnell, Scottish Prison Service chief executive, said: “I want these new Community Custody Units to be a real part of the communities that they are in.

“We know that we cannot deliver this on our own and we relish the opportunity of working with council colleagues in Glasgow and Dundee, local health colleagues, 3rd sector partners and the communities themselves to develop radical new ways of caring and supporting those women who have found themselves within the criminal justice system.

“Getting it right for those in custody is a key step in ensuring the safety of the entire community. By successfully reintegrating offenders we reduce risk and create safer communities.

“I have been delighted and indeed humbled by the support and enthusiasm shown by colleagues in Glasgow and Dundee for those projects and it is only fair to extend this thanks to colleagues in Fife. I am sure that we will continue to rely on their support.”

Both CCUs will be subject to the planning process in their respective local authority areas.

Public consultation events for both locations will take place in due course.

Source: Scottish Construction Now!

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