Women in custody in Scotland – The actual news is that it’s falling fast and nearly 50% more common in England & Wales

In the Guardian, today:

Scotland’s pioneering community custody units – hailed as a UK first in supporting female inmates – have been left half-empty more than six months after they were opened, the Guardian can reveal.

Campaigners have been left frustrated by the costly, state-of-the-art units not being filled to capacity after opening last year as part of the Scottish Prison Service’s trauma-informed strategy for women.

Responding to the occupancy figures, Katy Clark, the Scottish Labour community safety spokesperson, suggested the prison service needed to “urgently review” criteria for accessing the centres.


Not in the Guardian, a likely explanation, at least in part:

The number of women given custodial sentences fell dramatically from 2019/2020 but the decision, by the Scottish Government, to build the new units was taken in 2015, well before the fall in the number of women who might benefit from them .

This is a good news story. There are now only 198 women in custody in Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-prison-population-statistics-2021-22/pages/5/

All things being equal, England & Wales might be expected, then, to have 11 times as many or 2 170 women in custody.

In England & Wales, there are 3 216 women in custody: https://www.statista.com/statistics/283475/england-and-wales-prison-population-by-gender/

The imprisonment of women in England & Wales is 48% more common than in Scotland.


6 thoughts on “Women in custody in Scotland – The actual news is that it’s falling fast and nearly 50% more common in England & Wales

  1. What caught my eye was the “Campaigners have been left frustrated by the costly, state-of-the-art units not being filled to capacity” and mention of Katy Clark, the Baroness Socialist, so archived the article https://archive.ph/5Nf1D.
    The “Campaigners” appear to be Emma Jardine, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Howard League Scotland, and the aforementioned Katy Clark, Scottish Labour community safety spokesperson, yet look at the cause of their “frustration”.
    The Lilias opened 6 months ago with occupancy for 24.
    Essentially their beef is that 12 more women should have been sent there to make the place more efficient, rather than space being filled on merit by SPS.

    Yet the political chicanery of it becomes obvious with “They were very costly and took a long time to construct so the Scottish government owes us an explanation.” ”

    Presumably she’s never forgiven Patricia Gibson for unseating her…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. So the declared intention of the Scottish government is to work towards reducing custodial sentences and therefore reduce the prison population, eradicate overcrowding and make the prison environment conducive to rehabilitation is wrong. Much better to send everybody to prison whether it’s justified or not just to keep the right wing bring back flogging brigade happy. Then they complain about overcrowding, the increased costs and justify hanging as a much cheaper option.


  3. It’s good that women in Scotland have this service.
    We should build similar units for men surely ? so much is said about equal rights well I think too many men go back and forth to prison without any interception by quality qualified services who can teach them how to avoid doing the things that lead to their imprisonment.

    Labour Tory Lib Dem just want anything bad in Scotland highlighted and expanded and anything good in Scotland stopped and banned.
    This is what the British flag and all who worship it , glorifies.
    I will love the day when we dispossess these people of their mouthpiece media.


  4. Less women in prison. Most of them should not be there. 134 . The units have served the purpose of encouraging the fall. Now any relief budget will be reallocated. To other prevention, intervention. Prevention is better than cure. Easy converting to drink/drug rehabilitation. So even less people are in prison. Too many in the spectrum without proper support. ‘Crime’ is linked to drink and drug abuse. Too many people are in prison. UK the highest number in Europe.
    Prevention is better than cure. Easier and more cost effective. More support and diagnosis. Earlier intervention. Giving people the help they need for a better society.


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