Women Reoffenders

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Justice and Law Officers – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:17 pm on 9th March 2006.

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Photo of Janis Hughes Janis Hughes Labour 2:17 pm, 9th March 2006

To ask the Scottish Executive what progress has been made to reduce the number of women who reoffend. (S2O-9221)

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour

The Executive is fully committed to reducing the number of women who reoffend. We have taken action to address the needs of drug-misusing female offenders and fine defaulters who might otherwise end up in custody, and we have set up the innovative 218 time out centre. We expect the new arrangements for more joined-up management of offenders in prison and the community to offer further opportunities to tackle the issue.

Photo of Janis Hughes Janis Hughes Labour

I thank the minister for that information. The minister will be aware of the high incidence of self-harm among women offenders. Can she advise me what steps the Executive is taking to tackle that matter of concern?

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour

The Executive is concerned about that. A significant amount of work has been undertaken in Cornton Vale prison to address the problems of the women—in particular the young women—who end up in that environment with a range of problems including drug misuse, who are often also the victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence. I extend an invitation to Janis Hughes to discuss the matter in more detail. If she has not yet met the staff at Cornton Vale prison and seen the innovative work that is being done there, I hope that she will take the opportunity to do that. I can facilitate that.