Fears for women inmates

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PRISON welfare organisations are warning that women inmates will be subjected to harassment and intimidation if plans to create Britain's first mixed-sex prison approved, writes Jojo Moyes.

The proposal, expected to be submitted to the Scottish Prison Service next month, involves moving four women to Penninghame Open Prison in Wigtownshire, which houses 76 male inmates. They would be transferred from Scotland's only women's jail - Cornton Vale in Stirlingshire.

The women would live in a cottage in the prison grounds, but would work with the men and share recreational facilities.

Frances Crook, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said she was 'very concerned' that the women could face intimidation and sexual harassment, a view shared by Stephen Shaw, director of the Prison Reform Trust.