Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

New women’s community custody unit set to open in UK first

The Bella Centre is due to open next month (Scottish Prison Service/PA)
The Bella Centre is due to open next month (Scottish Prison Service/PA)

A new women’s community custody unit, the first in the UK, is set to open in Dundee.

The 16-space Bella Centre unit will focus on “custody in the community” and women there will be supported to live independently and develop a range of life skills.

The building, which will open on August 1, has no bars on the windows and no barbed wire or high walls and was designed to blend into the surrounding area.

Community Safety Minister Ash Regan, who toured the facility on Thursday, said it marks a “step change” in the way Scotland supports women in custody.

The centre’s completion is part of a wider £600 million plan to improve Scotland’s custodial estate.

The Bella Centre will have a sister centre in Glasgow and work is progressing on a replacement for HMP YOI Cornton Vale near Stirling, the national facility for female offenders.

Ms Regan said: “The Bella Centre marks a step change in the way Scotland supports women in custody, and is the first facility of its kind in the UK.

“It takes a gender-specific and trauma-informed approach to better prepare women for re-integration back into their communities.

“Enhanced access to the community will enable women to retain family ties while allowing supportive partnerships in the locality to flourish. This visionary new centre has been specifically designed to better prepare women for release and to reduce reoffending.

“It relies heavily on collaboration with and between a wide range of partners, enabling a multi-disciplinary approach that will serve the rehabilitative needs of women, supporting them to reintegrate back into their communities.”

The facility has shared house-style accommodation with communal living spaces downstairs and individual bedrooms upstairs.

Women will be supported to develop life skills by taking responsibility for their own personal care, laundry and housekeeping.

There is also a Community Hub where women can meet with visitors and access a range of activities and local services which will help them to develop the skills and support networks necessary for successful reintegration into the community.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said every woman allocated to a community custody unit will have undergone a “robust” risk and needs assessment process.

SPS said: “The units will accommodate women of mixed custodial sentence lengths and women will, following appropriate risk assessments, have the opportunity to access the community.

“Living in the CCUs will enable these women to foster stronger and closer links within the appropriate community support agencies they will be working with prior to release.”