Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lib Dems highlight huge increase in self harm amongst women prisoners

Liberal Democrat justice spokespeople north and south of the border have been investigating the growing instances of self harm amongst women prisoners.

In both England and Scotland, these incidents have pretty much doubled over five and four years respectively.

What sort of justice system is it that takes women, who desperately need treatment and support for mental health conditions, away from their homes for offences as trivial as stealing food to feed their kids or not paying their tv licences? Where they have commmitted serious offences, where's the rehabilitation and support to help them turn their lives around so that they don't re-offend? And is it surprising that the self harm rate is so high when the Chief Inspector of Prisons in Scotland finds that conditions are "bleak" at Cornton Vale.

What good does it do to take these vulnerable women often huge distances away from their children and support network?

Kenny Macaskill needs to get off his backside and do something about this. By putting an end to sending women to prison for trivial offences, often for which men would just get a wee slap on the wrist, we would self evidently have more money to spend on giving specialist support and decent living conditions for those who need it.

I'm proud that my party is at the forefront of investigating and raising these issues.

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