JUSTICE: Cornton Vale women’s prison to close in new year

By Lucy Ashton

Cornton Vale, which serves West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute and was formerly Scotland’s only women’s prison, will close early in the new year.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) also confirmed HMP & YOI Stirling, which is being built on the same site, is due to open in the summer of 2023.

It will be the third new, purpose-built facility for women following the openings this year of the Bella unit in Dundee and the Lilias unit in Glasgow.

The move follows a report in 2012 by former Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini.

It recommended the demolition of Cornton Vale, which was built in 1975, and paved the way for its replacement with smaller Community Custody Units (CCUs).

The CCU’s, the first of their kind anywhere in the UK, are designed to recognise the needs of women in custody and the fact that their backgrounds often involve adversity and trauma.

HMP Cornton Vale
A smaller national prison is being built at the Cornton Vale site with other smaller regional units.

SPS chief executive Teresa Medhurst described the new development as an “exciting moment”.

She added: “This facility, along with our CCUs, will help give women in our care the best possible chance of a successful rehabilitation and safe, eventual, return to our communities.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead, but we are determined to deliver for those in our care, for the communities we serve, and for wider Scotland.”

Justice Secretary Keith Brown, right,  said the Scottish government was committed to a “modern and fit-for-purpose prison estate with a focus on rehabilitation”.

He added that the plan to transform the approach to women in custody was part of a wider £600m move to improve Scotland’s custodial estate.

Mr Brown said: “The new community custody units, which opened this year in Dundee and Glasgow represent a step change in how Scotland supports women in custody.

“I am pleased that SPS are now reaching this significant milestone.”

Cornton Vale prisoners were transferred to HMP Polmont, near Falkirk, before the beginning of demolition work at the site in 2017.


  1. Just wait till they get the self certified chicks with dicks into the new womens prisons.

    All the fun of the fair then. They’ll be queuing up to self certify to get transfers to the women’s nick.

    Vote SNP. You know it makes sense!!!

  2. Oh and by the way, the Scottish Government is trippling prison capacity.

    They obviously expect to be jailing many many more Scots than they do at present.

    And as an aside, the new 200 capacity prison being built in Inverness and is running late. And guess what the price has more than DOUBLED to over £140 million.

    Shades of the ferries fiasco and just another example of the SNP playing fast and loose with the cash.


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