Stuart McMillan MSP (SNP) has today (Wednesday) highlighted, in the Scottish Parliament chamber, how the now scrapped HMP Inverclyde, for women offenders, must not be forgotten and the site in Greenock must not lay empty.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has announced that current plans for a female prison in Inverclyde will not go ahead. Since coming into post, Mr Matheson has been scrutinising proposals for a purpose-built facility at Inverclyde.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Prison Service will now undertake a period of extensive engagement with key partners with a view to investing in smaller regional and community-based custodial facilities across the country. This will also involve looking at international models of best practice.
Mr McMillan said:
“Here in Inverclyde we now have a site, earmarked for a large scale development, being left empty. This is something I raised in my meeting with the Justice Secretary, earlier this week.
“Therefore, I was pleased the Cabinet Secretary informed me the site is to refer back to its original purpose – a new build prison to replace the existing HMP Greenock. The issue facing this is the length of time it will take for the replacement of HMP Greenock to occur.
“However, I am content that the works that have taken place will actually assist the Scottish Prison Service with their future plans in how to deal with both female and male prisoners.
“On the issue of women offenders, it has been widely accepted and acknowledged that a different approach is required with women in-order to prevent re-offending. Therefore, I acknowledge the decision taken by the Justice Secretary to look again at how we deal with women offenders.
“As I previously stated, it’s vital we support female offenders and prevent the vicious circle of reoffending, by ensuring that links to the family and community can be maintained.”