HMP & YOI Stirling – Scotland’s National Facility for Women

KSmi_Cornton_Vale_YOI-104THE Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is preparing to open the new HMP & YOI Stirling, which will be Scotland’s national facility for women in custody. 

The new establishment, which was visited yesterday by Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs, is smaller and better equipped than HMP & YOI Cornton Vale, which it replaces. 

It is the third new facility built for women in the past year, with the Bella and Lilias Community Custody Units opening in Dundee and Glasgow, respectively, in 2022.


This represents an unprecedented period of Scottish Government investment in how women are managed and supported while in custody. 

The SPS also published the bold and ground-breaking Strategy for Women in Custody last year, which is founded on the principle that all aspects of the care of women in custody should be designed for and take account of their likely experience of trauma and adversities. 

This is a significant change for both women in custody, and the staff who work with them, and they are being supported to make those adjustments, which will bring long-term benefits to themselves, the communities they return to upon liberation, and wider Scotland. 

The opening of HMP & YOI Stirling is an important milestone for the Scottish Prison Service, as it continues to meet the challenge set by Lady Elish Angiolini, in the 2012 Commission for Women Offenders Report. 

More importantly it is a step change in the way we, and Scotland as a whole, views and treats women who are sent to prison, taking full account of their likely experience of adversity and trauma, and supporting them towards a new and happier path in life. 

Teresa Medhurst, Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, said: “This is a significant development and an important day for the Scottish Prison Service, Scottish Government and all our partners, and I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to get us to this position.  

“HMP & YOI Stirling is an exemplary custodial setting for women, but what is at the heart of our strategy for women in custody is the relationships forged between our staff, partners, communities and individuals in our care.  

“HMP & YOI Stirling is another important milestone towards achieving the Scottish Government’s vision for justice.” 

KSmi_Cornton_Vale_YOI-37Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs, Angela Constance, said: “The new Stirling Prison will provide world-leading facilities that are designed to meet the specific needs of women, focusing on rehabilitation and reducing reoffending.  

“Providing a safe and secure environment in smaller accommodation units that research shows produces the best possible outcomes, Stirling Prison will also deliver intensive mental health care, a mother and baby unit and specialist support to help with reintegration back into the community on release.  

“Coupled with the opening of two new female custody units in Dundee and Glasgow in the past year, we are investing to transform and modernise the female estate so that it supports women towards a more settled path in life and better serves our society.” 

Cathie Cowan, Chief Executive of NHS Forth Valley, said: “The healthcare centre we have developed within this new prison will enable us to provide a wide range of treatment and support to women in a modern, purpose-built facility

"These include general health and dental services as well as specialist mental health and psychological support for women with more complex healthcare needs or drug and alcohol addictions.  

“We have recruited an experienced team of nurses, therapists, dentists, medical staff and healthcare support workers who will be based within the new healthcare centre and they are looking forward to working closely with prison staff and women to deliver high-quality healthcare and services.”