SCOTLAND’S first community-based custody units for women will be based in Glasgow, the justice secretary confirmed.

Michael Matheson made the announcement as the demolition started of the country’s only female jail at Cornton Vale, near Stirling.

Plans to replace it were scrapped in favour of a smaller 80-capacity prison at the site and five smaller units of up to 20 women across the country.

The government said the goal is to place female offenders closer to families and provide targeted support for alcohol, drug, mental health or domestic abuse issues.

Mr Matheson said: “With the demolition of Cornton Vale under way, there is no turning back on our plans for a smarter, more progressive approach to managing women in custody, ensuring they are prepared for life after release.

“That is why I am also pleased to announce that the first two community custodial units for west and east Scotland will be in Glasgow and in Fife or Dundee.”

All the new facilities should be completed by the end of 2020, said the Scottish Prison Service.