Prisons reform milestone as justice ‘vision’ launched

Michael Matheson, MSP
Michael Matheson, MSP

The transformation of Scotland’s female prison estate reaches a key milestone on Tuesday (July 11) as demolition work begins at HMP & YOI Cornton Vale.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson will join Governor Caroline Johnstone to mark the start of demolition at Scotland’s main women’s prison.

Following the decision in 2015 not to proceed with the planned construction of a large women’s prison in Inverclyde, the Scottish Prison Service has been developing plans for a smaller refurbished national prison for around 80 women at Cornton Vale and for new community-based custody units that will allow women to be kept closer to their families and other essential local support and advisory services.

The start of demolition at Cornton Vale coincides with the launch of a new ‘vision’ paper outlining challenges and priorities for criminal and civil justice in Scotland, developed in collaboration with Scotland’s Justice Board, representing the leadership of Scotland’s justice system.

Mr Matheson will also visit the nearby Raploch community campus to meet young people involved in CashBack-funded basketball sessions. The current round of CashBack funding – derived from seized assets from the proceeds of crime – is focused on initiatives supporting disadvantaged young people, with £17 million earmarked for projects between 2017 and 2020.