COUNCILLORS on Glasgow’s planning applications committee have approved development of a women’s community custody unit in Maryhill.
The facility, with space for 24 women, will be in Shawpark Street, behind Maryhill police station, on the former site of Maryhill Health Centre which has been relocated to new facilities in Gairbraid Avenue.
It will have a single-storey hub building with activity and support areas, and four two-storey houses, each with six bedrooms. The buildings will be located around a central garden/amenity space with landscaping, seating, clothes drying areas and soft play features.
The CCU will not have obvious prison-type security measures. There will be two perimeter fences and security camera. There are no proposals for lights purely for security or perimeter surveillance.
The Maryhill facility will be one of up to five new community custody units (CCUs) across Scotland, with spaces for 100 women in total.
A report by council officials stated: “The application site in Maryhill was chosen following a selection and options appraisal, and was considered to combine the key requirements and advantages of good access to existing public transport, healthcare, potential employment/volunteer positions, education, third sector and addiction services/social work, and home access.
“Despite its inner urban location and excellent public transport connections, the application site is quite secluded, with limited public frontage. This quality is beneficial to the CCU, which aims to provide a calming, private, inward-looking environment for the women residents. These same qualities make the site less suitable for mainstream housing or commercial activities, which call for a public frontage.”
It is anticipated that there will be a mix of Scottish Prison Service, health and social work staff based at the unit, with up to 14 staff on shift at any one time during the day, as well as an overnight shift.
The report explains that CCUs will aim to provide safe accommodation and support the needs of women “who are suitable for, and would benefit from, closer community contact and access to local services, to create and sustain independence in preparation for successful reintegration into the community.”
The report continues: “CCUs are intended as community-facing facilities that need to be located within existing communities in order to be successful. Nevertheless, it is important that the local community and the women living in a CCU feel safe and secure.
“The general public cannot freely access the facility, while women in a CCU will not have community access without appropriate risk assessments being undertaken.
“Any woman who will be resident in the CCU will have been subject to a thorough process of risk assessment to ensure that the CCU is the correct step in relation to future reintegration into the community once released. The risk assessment process will take place before women are placed in the CCU.”
Women at a CCU will:
• Live in shared houses, creating a family-type unit
• Be supported to budget, shop and clean together
• Be supported to positively engage in interventions to address their offending behaviour
• Work with staff, partners agencies, families and the local community who will provide support and encouragement to support them becoming responsible citizens.
Other CCUs are proposed for Dundee, Edinburgh, Ayrshire and a second one in Glasgow.