women imprisonment

Scottish Survey - Female Offenders (2011)

The Scottish Prison Survey, published every two years, is essentially a census that provides an outline of the characteristics of people who are incarcerated in this country. The survey asks questions about basic standards of living: Cleanliness, hygiene and fitness, food, healthcare, smoking, bullying and general atmosphere. It also quantifies the drug use, addictive behaviour and mental well-being of women prisoners in Scotland.

13th Prisoner Survey (2011) Female Offenders


SCCJR: Female Imprisonment in Scotland

This latest report from the SCCJR outlines the key issues regarding women’s penal policy in Scotland. In particular, the report highlights why the characteristics of women’s offending differs so considerably from men’s. Women, they write ‘are typically convicted of relatively minor crimes that pose little public risk and, because they are usually convicted of offences that are less serious than those committed by men’. The report also addresses a troubling rise in the number of women sent to prison in Scotland in the last 15 years which has not been mirrored by a corresponding increase in women’s offending. The report’s main aim then is to explore the main causal factors driving the increased number of women incarcerated in Scotland.

Read the report here: Understanding the Drivers of Female Imprisonment in Scotland 


Cornton Vale Inspector of Prisons Report 2011

This report highlights the critical condition of Cornton Vale prison. A summary of some main issues includes:

  • At a strategic level there is little demonstrable evidence of clear priority action for Cornton Vale
  • Ross House (Often used for vulnerable prisoners)N is suffering from a  lack of financial resources
  • The treatment of female prisoners at Cornton Vale fell well short of the standards on a number of counts, particularly for those most vulnerable prisoners in the ‘Management Suites’ in Ross House
  • Staff remain inadequately trained to deal with such vulnerable and disturbed women
  • In 2009 it was found that women who have to make a one day return trip to far away courts often had did so without receiving a hot meal during the day, without a shower prior to travel, without receiving their methadone (if prescribed) prior to travel and without reading material on the journey. This 2011 report finds that the situation has not improved.
  • Four major developments urged in 2009 have not yet been taken forward. These are:  i) proper ‘Care and Separation’ Unit to manage and provide for women exhibiting extreme behaviours which represent a threat to themselves and to others, as well as for those presenting mental ill health; ii) a new health centre; iii) a purpose built visits facility was urgently needed, and; iv) a purpose built Mother and Baby Unit.











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