Scottish Government
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Female re-offending

New funding of £800,000 is to be provided to strengthen efforts to prevent women reoffending.

The additional funding - £100,000 for each of Scotland's eight Criminal Justice Authorities (CJAs) - was announced by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill as he responded to the report by the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee on Female Offenders in the Criminal Justice System.

In his response, Mr MacAskill 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 the extra funding provided for this year - but it could be used to introduce projects similar to the pilot support service with Barnardos 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 the Lothian and 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 ten 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 wide-ranging 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.

"Our response to the Committee demonstrates how seriously we treat the issue of women offenders - and how urgently we are taking action to address the issues identified. 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.

"I will be expecting to see positive results - that means more support for women to get their lives back on track."

The Equal Opportunities Committee published its report in November 2009.

Mr MacAskill has responded to the Committee's recommendations in a letter to the Committee.

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