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To: Michael Matheson, Justice Minister, Scottish Government


27/01/15: A victory! The prison plans have been cancelled. Here's Maggie's message from Edinburgh Women for Independence: "Thanks to all supporters, we have succeeded in our campaign against the super prison women! We look forward to supporting the Scottish Government in implementing the full report of the commission on women offenders."

Read more here:


We call on the Scottish Government to cancel plans for the proposed large prison for women in Inverclyde. This plan is against the recommendations of the Commission on Women Offenders, chaired by Eilish Angiolini, and is being pursued against all expert evidence and opinion.

We call on the government to implement the Angiolini Report recommendations in full.

Why is this important?

The Government is considering the plans. You can have an influence.

In 2012 the Scottish Government set up a Commission on Women Offenders. It recommended:
- Most women prisoners on remand or serving short-term sentences should be held in local prisons.
- Supported accommodation should be commissioned as an alternative to custody
- A range of alternatives to prosecution and to imprisoning women on remand should be developed.
- Cornton Vale should be replaced with a smaller specialist prison for long-term prisoners and those who present a significant risk to the public.

The Scottish Government intends to put out to tender the building of a new, large women’s prison in Greenock in January 2015. Professor Andrew Coyle has described this as “….a tragedy which will be with us for decades to come.” Baroness Corston has said it will be “to the detriment of women who are going to be imprisoned there [and] an unnecessary drain on the Scottish public purse....It will fail”.

It has been estimated that 80% of those in Scotland’s women’s prison at Stirling, Cornton Vale have mental health problems. Many are victims of severe physical, emotional and sexual abuse. There are high rates of self-harm and drug and alcohol problems. The majority committed relatively minor offences, and are serving short-term sentences which have little impact on reoffending. A quarter of women prisoners are on remand and only 30% of them go on to get a prison sentence.

Most of these very vulnerable women should not be in prison at all, but rather in rehabilitiation supported accommodation or other rehabilitative community services.

Imprisoning women also has a major effect on their children. Around 30% of their children develop physical and mental health problems, and there is a significantly higher risk of them also ending up in prison. Women prisoners who have regular contact with their children are less likely to re-offend.

The Scottish Government claims it is following recommendations by building a large prison, which will house up to 350 women, in a more inaccessible location in Inverclyde. The plan is wrong and will waste resources that are needed for treatment, rehabilitation, and family support.


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Reasons for signing

  • Because there should be more mental health provision for these women and fewer prisons. Sending mothers to prison is SO wrong in so many ways!
  • Prison Reform is part of the way to create the better and more caring Scotland I wish to live in.
  • Piling people into prisons is not the solution to crime in Scotland...there needs to be a more caring approach!


2015-02-22 20:27:50 +0000

Petition is successful with 3,431 signatures

2015-01-29 15:56:45 +0000

Petition is successful with 3,429 signatures

2014-12-24 18:05:30 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2014-12-21 12:34:38 +0000

500 signatures reached

2014-12-18 20:48:29 +0000

100 signatures reached

2014-12-18 19:37:55 +0000

50 signatures reached

2014-12-18 18:36:57 +0000

25 signatures reached

2014-12-18 17:25:32 +0000

10 signatures reached