First two Community Custody Units for women announced

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice today announced that the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has acquired a site in Maryhill, Glasgow, with the intention of building one of the first Community Custody Unit (CCU) for women in Scotland there. The CCU will be based on the site of the former Maryhill Health Centre.

SPS can also confirm that the second CCU will be within the city of Dundee at a site yet to be identified.

These locations have been identified following careful consideration of a variety of sites and in consultation with the relevant local authorities. 

These new community based units will provide facilities for around 20 women. The women who will serve their custodial sentence in the CCU will be appropriately assessed as suitable for serving out this part of their sentence closer to their community and with greater community access.  

Crucially, the CCU will take a new approach to the management of women in custody with a strong focus on partnership working and coproduction.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice said;

“These new community units will assist women to maintain links with their families and accommodate them close to both their communities and the agencies that can ensure they are able to move away from offending.  

Work on these units will respond to the changing profile of the female prison population, and the risk profile of women in custody.  The Scottish Prison Service plan that these first 2 units, and the national facility, will be open by the end of 2020.

This work is part of a wider transformation within our prisons, professionalising the role of prison officers, ensuring a focus on rehabilitation, and supporting the re-integration of people leaving custody.”

Colin McConnell, SPS Chief Executive said;

“I want these new Community Custody Units to be a real part of the communities that they are in.

We know that we cannot deliver this on our own and we relish the opportunity of working with council colleagues in Glasgow and Dundee, local health colleagues, 3rd sector partners and the communities themselves to develop radical new ways of caring and supporting those women who have found themselves within the criminal justice system.

Getting it right for those in custody is a key step in ensuring the safety of the entire community. By successfully reintegrating offenders we reduce risk and create safer communities.

I have been delighted and indeed humbled by the support and enthusiasm shown by colleagues in Glasgow and Dundee for those projects and it is only fair to extend this thanks to colleagues in Fife. I am sure that we will continue to rely on their support.”

Both CCUs will of course be subject to the planning process in their respective local authority areas. Public consultation events for both locations will take place in due course.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:

“The siting of a local Community Custody Unit in the city will help reduce re-offending as the women in the unit will be closer to their families and communities, and they will have access to the high-quality support services we have in Glasgow.  These services provide the support – based on Canadian and Nordic models - that successfully prepares women offenders for re-integration after their time in custody.2

Dundee City Council community safety and public protection convener Councillor Alan Ross said:

“We welcome this announcement and will work together with the Scottish Prison Service on the development of new services for women in custody.

This reflects the approach we are taking in the city to support women in the criminal justice system.

I look forward to more details from the SPS on the plans for the CCU in Dundee.“



Tom Fox         Head of Corporate Affairs, SPS                0131 330 3606 / 07747040223