News In Focus
Funding aims to help stop women reoffending
Scotland’s eight community justice authorities (CJAs) are to share £800,000 in a new drive to prevent women from reoffending.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the additional funding as he responded to the report by the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee on Female Offenders in the Criminal Justice System (click here for news item).
He said that the report's findings and recommendations reflected many of the issues identified by ministers to improve the management and support of women offenders in prison and the community.
Individual CJAs will decide how best to use their £100,000 funding provided for this year – but it could be used to introduce projects similar to the pilot support service with Barnardo's for women from the south west of Scotland released from prison, and the Think Again project aimed at developing skills and confidence for women offenders in Lothian & Borders.
Mr MacAskill said: "The number of women offenders in the criminal justice system – especially the number in jail – has risen very sharply and disproportionately over recent years. Although women remain a very small proportion of the total prisoner population, the number of women prisoners has almost doubled over the 10 year period to 2007-08, to a daily average of around 420.
"In general, and as the committee report recognises, the health and other needs of women offenders are more complex and wideranging than those of male offenders. So that is a range of needs that need to be addressed, be it in prison or in the community.
“As further evidence of our commitment, I am providing significant extra resources to each CJA in this financial year to add further impetus to their work with women offenders.”