Women Offenders

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:02 pm on 13th April 2005.

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Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party 4:02 pm, 13th April 2005

I recognise that inter-agency and departmental co-operation is needed to ensure that things work properly to tackle the issue, but we also recognise the systemic nature of the problem. Over the 10-year period between 1994 and 2003, the female prison population in Scotland increased by 68 per cent, which is four times the rate of growth of the male prison population. That clearly suggests that there is a systemic problem that must be addressed.

I hope that for the strategy that the minister is pushing forward to address the issue, the Executive is realistic and ensures that resources are available to deliver the services that are necessary, because if the Executive fails to deliver those at a prison and a community level, it will fail to address what other ministers with responsibility for justice have failed to do for the past six years.