News

Scottish government backs preventative agenda on crime

Ministers announced new approach to stop reoffending and reduce prison numbers

The Scottish government has announced a new agenda focused on crime prevention to tackle the problem of overcrowded prisons.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson announced that the new approach will see two “community-based” units for women will be built in Glasgow and either Fife or Dundee.

A small prison for around 80 women will be built at Cornton Vale to replace the jail being demolished there. The current jail was built to imprison 217 women, but the population soared to 350.

If follows the recommendations of a commission led by the former Lord Advocate, Dame Elish Angiolini, that the prison estate should be for high-risk and long-term offenders.

The new community facilities will focus on the recovery of damaged women, and allow them more time with their families.

The Holyrood administration has introduced a series of changes to sentencing and rehabilitation in a bid to stop the cycle of reoffending that saw huge numbers of people in and out of jail on a short-term basis.

Matheson said the preventive approach to youth justice, one focused on early intervention to keep teenagers out of the criminal justice system, had already had an impact.

Scotland has seen a 64% fall in the number of under-18s in custody since 2006.

Our decisive shift in approach to youth justice has seen huge falls in youth offending

“Our criminal and civil justice system, and the valued professionals who sustain it, are focused on building a safer and a fairer Scotland – protecting the public while supporting individuals and families facing financial, emotional or other crises,” said Matheson.

“Our decisive shift in approach to youth justice, intervening earlier and providing multi-agency support, has seen huge falls in youth offending and we continue to draw lessons from that success.”

Matheson added: “While our imprisonment rate – the second highest in western Europe – remains too high, prisons will always be necessary for those who commit the most serious offences, or who pose significant risks to public safety.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
From the NHS to levelling up: Here are all the broken promises after 14 years of Tory rule
General Election 2024

From the NHS to levelling up: Here are all the broken promises after 14 years of Tory rule

'Nature is slowly healing': How rewilding is bringing Britain's extinct species back from the dead
Conservation

'Nature is slowly healing': How rewilding is bringing Britain's extinct species back from the dead

Beat the Streets music festival funds new homes for rough sleepers: 'If we could do more, we would'
Homelessness

Beat the Streets music festival funds new homes for rough sleepers: 'If we could do more, we would'

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices
energy bills
Energy bills

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know