Tuesday 13 January 2015
UNISON Scotland, the public services union with many members working in Criminal Justice services has urged the Scottish Government to scrap their plans to build a new Women’s prison.
The union has written to Justice Secretary Michael Matheson saying that a tendering exercise for the construction of a new jail near Greenock should be halted.
The plans go against expert opinion and are at odds with the Scottish Government’s declared policy of reducing the number of women in prison. A new prison of this size is also against the recommendations of the Commission on Women’s Offending.
Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convener of UNISON Scotland, and Chair of the union’s Social work Issues Group said:
“Prison is a very expensive way of not solving problems. Committing large sums of money to expanding prison capacity is to spend money on failure.
"Far better than spending some £60m on a new institution, with associated running costs, would be investment in the services which can help tackle the root causes of women’s offending – poverty, substance and alcohol misuse, mental health problems, histories of domestic and sexual abuse.
"Spending which attempts to tackle with these represents a far better use of public resource in a time of acute pressures on public spending."
Note to editors: UNISON ebrief on Women Offenders