Scotland: “You go to prison as punishment, not to be punished”

Community Custody Units: Scotland's new small-scale detention facilities

< image © Valentin Lombardi.

- “Changing the scale” series (7)

In 2022, a new type of detention facility was introduced into the Scottish prison system: Community Custody Units (CCUs). These are “founded on the principle that all aspects of the care of women in custody should be designed for women and take account of their likely experience of trauma and adversities”. The two existing CCUs accommodate a limited number of women – up to 16 in Dundee, and 24 in Glasgow – and focus on contact with the community and local services.

John Docherty works as Deputy Programme Executive for the Scottish Prison Service. For the past five years, he has been involved in developing CCUs and trauma informed progammes. Prison Insider asked him three questions.

It's about meeting their needs, safety, and implementing an effective plan to help them.

When you walk into one of the CCU houses, it’s like walking into a domestic home.

We were asked to develop a model that would be transformative and world leading.