New hostel for female offenders in Glasgow

Female offenders who would otherwise be jailed are to be offered
a supportive alternative in the community in the first full time
facility of its kind in the United Kingdom.

The hostel will be based in Glasgow and managed by Glasgow
council social work department in direct response to the high
levels of overcrowding and suicide at Cornton Vale,
Scotland’s only female prison. The initiative was applauded
by Clive Fairweather, chief inspector of prisons, who warned that
the overcrowding of prisons could “lead to serious problems and in
some cases even death”.

The centre will provide six to eight residential places and
facilities for up to 30 people for rehabilitation and counselling
programmes. Residence or attendance there would be a condition of a
bail order, would last for around three weeks. The hostel will
support about 100 women each year.

Paul Silk, principal officer for criminal justice for Glasgow
council’s social work department, said that the hostel is in
part a response to many women who “almost elect” to go to Cornton
Vale to stabilise drugs and personal problems as well as avoiding
threats to them in the community. Silk said: “The need in respect
of women offenders is clear-cut so there is a commitment to get
something up and running.”

The council is working with the Scottish executive and health
authority in securing a site and premises in the city. Glasgow has
been chosen because of the high ratio of female prisoners in the




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