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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-20597: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 13 December 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made toward establishing a new female custodial estate, including its commitment to a smaller national prison and five new community custody units.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 7 January 2019

I have asked Colin McConnell, Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), to respond. His response is as follows:

In addition to progressing the construction of a new women’s national facility, the former Cabinet Secretary for Justice confirmed in 2017 that a phased approach would be taken in respect of the 5 Community Custody Units (CCUs).

The phased approach is to progress initially with two CCUs so that the SPS can test the concept and learn lessons before progressing with the remaining 3 CCUs. This is to ensure that the most effective and efficient approach is taken to meeting the needs of our communities and the women in the care of the SPS.

I am pleased to advise the member that progress is being made in respect of all three of the new facilities, namely the new women’s national facility and the two initial Community Custody Units (CCUs) in Glasgow and Dundee.

Planning permission is in place for all 3 sites and the procurement process to identify contractors to carry out the construction is well advanced. It is expected that the various contracts will be awarded in Spring 2019 so that construction can commence in Summer 2019. All three of the facilities are scheduled to be completed and operational by the end of 2020.

The site of the Glasgow CCU, to be known as the Lilias Centre on Shawpark Street, Maryhill, Glasgow has been acquired by SPS and has been cleared ready for construction to start. Once operational this unit will be able to accommodate up to 24 women.

Planning permission for the Dundee CCU was granted in October 2018 and SPS is now in the process of acquiring the site on Nelson Street, Dundee from the local council and agreeing the arrangements for demolition of the vacant school which is currently on the site. This unit will be able to accommodate up to 16 women.

The women’s national facility is to be built on the site of the current HMP & YOI Cornton Vale and will accommodate 80 women together with a 24 place assessment centre. In order for the construction work to progress, enabling works are being carried out on the site. This work is nearing completion and the demolition of the vacant buildings is due to commence at the end of January 2019.