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by Staff reporter
26 May 2023
Scottish Prison Service hails 'step change' for women as new trauma-informed jail prepares to open

Prison officers walk through the visits room at Stirling Prison

Scottish Prison Service hails 'step change' for women as new trauma-informed jail prepares to open

An £85m facility set to open this summer marks a "significant change" for women in custody, the Scottish Prison Service says.

HMP & YOI Stirling is designed without bars on cells. It includes a mother and baby unit and mental health support area and is "designed to encourage and support transformational change by adopting a trauma-informed approach".

The SPS says the opening of the site is "a step change in the way we, and Scotland as a whole, views and treats women who are sent to prison, taking full account of their likely experience of adversity and trauma and supporting them towards a new and happier path in life".

The site replaces HMP & YOI Cornton Vale and is the third purpose-built for women in the past year, with the Bella and Lilias Community Custody Units opening in Dundee and Glasgow in 2022.

SPS chief executive Teresa Medhurst called it "an exemplary custodial setting for women" and said the "relationships forged between our staff, partners communities and individuals in our care" are "at the heart of" the service's Strategy for Women in Custody.

Angela Constance, cabinet secretary for justice and home affairs, said: "The new Stirling Prison will provide world-leading facilities that are designed to meet the specific needs of women, focusing on rehabilitation and reducing reoffending.  

"Providing a safe and secure environment in smaller accommodation units that research shows produces the best possible outcomes, Stirling Prison will also deliver intensive mental health care, a mother and baby unit and specialist support to help with reintegration back into the community on release.  

"Coupled with the opening of two new female custody units in Dundee and Glasgow in the past year, we are investing to transform and modernise the female estate so that it supports women towards a more settled path in life and better serves our society."

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