Visit by Angela Constance, Minister for Drugs Policy

Following Shine’s submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on drug policy, MSP Angela Constance wrote to Shine to ask for a meeting. In January 2022 representatives of Shine including managers, a mentor and a Prison-Based Champion, met with her. The increase in the number of women held on remand was discussed at length. Overall a very positive discussion was had, exploring the issues women face with substance misuse whilst in custody and then on return to the community.

A mentor’s voice:

“Each day I come to work I am faced with the most vulnerable women in our society. Women who have not been heard, have been dismissed or have been let down time and time again. It is my job to approach these issues with a positive attitude and find solutions to achieve the best possible outcome.

"I come to work to listen to them, address what they are saying and work with them to move forward.

"You really can’t get a better feeling than meeting someone at their lowest, and waving goodbye to them knowing that they are now in a better place than they were in the beginning."

Community Custody Units

The Community Custody Units (CCU) have been a long time in the making, but their opening is fast approaching. Over the last year Shine has been involved in discussions about the CCU model and how Shine can provide the best level of support to women in these units. These community-based units (called Bella and Lilias) will provide a completely different experience for women serving short- or long-term sentences, and that will provide many opportunities for development.

Shine will provide a similar role to that of the Prison-Based Champion (PBC), who will be attached to each of the CCU’s. Their role will be slightly different to that of the current PBC due to the nature of how the CCU will operate, but they will coordinate the support for women who are returning outside of the CCU. They will also take any referrals for women who decide they would like support from Shine upon arrival at the CCU. It is an exciting time in Justice for women, and Shine is looking forward to seeing the CCU’s in action and how they evolve over time.