Women's custody unit without window bars or high walls to open in city

It aims to help offenders in the justice system reintegrate into communities.

Women’s custody unit without window bars or high walls to open in Glasgow STV News

A new custodial unit aimed at helping women in the justice system reintegrate back into their communities is set to open in Glasgow.

The Lilias Centre in Maryhill will house up to 24 women and is part of a £600m plan to improve Scotland’s custodial estate.

Like the recently opened Bella Centre in Dundee, it has no bars on the windows, nor barbed wire or high walls.

Women at the centre will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own re-integration through community contact and access to local services.

The unit follows the opening of the first of its kind in the UK, in Dundee. The Bella Centre which focuses on 'custody in the community' aims to change the way women in the justice system are supported in their reintegration back into society. Scottish Prison Service

Ministers are seeking to manage female offenders in a way that better supports their rehabilitation.

The centre in Glasgow follows the opening of the Bella Centre during the summer, while work is also progressing on a new national prison for women in Stirling.

Justice secretary Keith Brown visited the newly completed centre in the north of Glasgow on Thursday.

“The Lilias Centre is helping to embed a step change in the way Scotland supports women in custody by focusing on creating safer communities and shifting societal attitudes and circumstances which perpetuate crime and harm,” he said.

“By introducing a gender-specific and trauma-informed approach to managing and supporting women in custody, the new facility will help better prepare them for their re-integration back into their communities.

“This in turn will reduce the change of reoffending by enabling women to build family ties while allowing supportive partnerships in the locality to flourish.

“This approach relies heavily on collaboration between a wide range of partners to serve the rehabilitative needs of women in custody and ultimately support them to reintegrate back into their communities.”

Scottish Prison Service (SPS) chief executive Teresa Medhurst explained that women at the facility will benefit from a more “trauma informed” approach.

“This is another significant step towards realising our transformative vision for women in custody in Scotland,” said Medhurst.

“Women who will be accommodated within the Lilias Centre will benefit from a more community facing, trauma informed approach.”

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