Welcoming the report from the Commission on Women Offenders, Ann Henderson, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Assistant Secretary, said:
“The STUC Women’s Conference has repeatedly called for action to reduce the number of women incarcerated in Cornton Vale. The criminal justice system has failed these women, many of whom have mental health problems, drug addictions, and are living in desperate poverty. Year on year more women are inappropriately placed in Scotland’s jails, splitting up families and increasing re-offending.
“We commend the work carried out by Elish Angiolini and the Commission, and support the calls for urgent action.
“We look forward to working with all those across the range of agencies involved, supporting the provision of Community Justice Centres as ‘one-stop shops’ for women, and to increase awareness of the specific needs of women and children.
“We are also keen to play our part to support all women in finding, or returning to, employment, as a significant contribution to reducing re-offending. Employability programmes, and childcare support, are crucial for the future.”
Notes to Editors
The Commission on Women Offenders, established to examine how female offenders are dealt with in the criminal justice system, has produced its final report. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/commissiononwomenoffenders/finalreport-2012 In June last year, the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill asked former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini to chair the Commission to find a more effective way of dealing with women offenders with a view to reducing reoffending. Sheriff Danny Scullion and Dr Linda de Caestecker were also appointed to the Commission.
The STUC Women’s Conference in 2011 unanimously adopted a resolution calling for urgent action on the issue, and the STUC is represented on the Scottish Working Group on Women’s Offending http://www.scccj.org.uk/index.php/scottish-crime-and-justice-faqs/womens-offending-in-scotland/scottish-working-group-on-womens-offending/
For further information contact Ann Henderson, Assistant Secretary STUC and Secretary to the STUC Women’s Committee 07875 208167