New custodial unit for women

Glasgow centre is aimed at transforming support for women in custody.

A new community custodial unit is set to open in Glasgow, which will change the way women in the justice system are supported in their reintegration back to communities.

The Lilias Centre will house up to 24 women and continues Scottish Government’s vision of managing female offenders in a way that better supports their rehabilitation.  

The centre marks an ambitious departure from long-standing practice by stepping away from the traditional image of prison, to focus on ‘custody in the community’.

Women will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own re-integration through community contact and access to local services.

The centre’s completion is part of a wider £600 million plan to improve Scotland’s custodial estate and follows the opening of sister unit, The Bella Centre in Dundee in the summer. Work is also progressing on a new national prison for women in Stirling. 

Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans Keith Brown visited the newly completed Lilias Centre, developed by the Scottish Prison Service, today (13 October).

Mr Brown said:

“The Lilias Centre is helping to embed a step change in the way Scotland supports women in custody – by focusing on creating safer communities and shifting societal attitudes and circumstances which perpetuate crime and harm.

“By introducing a gender-specific and trauma-informed approach to managing and supporting women in custody, the new facility will help better prepare them for their re-integration back into their communities. This in turn will reduce the chance of reoffending by enabling women to build family ties while allowing supportive partnerships in the locality to flourish.

“This approach relies heavily on collaboration between a wide range of partners to serve the rehabilitative needs of women in custody and ultimately support them to reintegrate back into their communities.”

Scottish Prison Service (SPS) chief executive Teresa Medhurst, said:

“I’m delighted to be marking the completion of our second Community Custody Unit, ‘the Lilias Centre’,  located in Maryhill, Glasgow. This is another significant step towards realising our transformative vision for women in custody in Scotland.

“Women who will be accommodated within the Lilias Centre will benefit from a more community facing, trauma informed approach.”


In 2015 the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson announced that Scotland would be taking an ambitious new approach to managing female offenders, which included a move towards custody in the community. This was based on an analysis of examples from countries across the world about the arrangements that are most effective in supporting and preparing women for their return to their community.  


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