Dame Elish Angiolini, chair of the Commission on Women Offenders, told the
there was a leadership vacuum in community justice and that community justice alternatives needed an "operational head, a chief executive", on 26 June 2012.
Dame Angiolini called for a rural and city based pilot community justice centres to be established, so long as they did not delay other community justice centres being introduced.
Ms Angiolini said when women prisoners were released they were given a £65 cheque to last them 5 or 6 weeks until they got their benefits and that "many don't get past the nearest drug dealer or off sales".
She added "In a sense we have set women up to fail when we release them at the gate".
The former Lord Advocate said there should be "a cohort of real professional alternatives so that prison ceases to be the default".
She said it was "great shame is that there is still a tendency to politicise justice issues when it's a cross-party approach that is needed".
Commission on Women Offenders - Final Report 2012
was publishedon 17 April 2012 and made a series of radical proposals to improve the way women are treated.
They included the replacement of Scotland's only women's prison, Cornton Vale near Stirling.
All but four of its 37 recommendations have been accepted by the Scottish government; the other four will be the subject of consultations.
The commission highlighted the fact that the vast majority of female offenders have drug, alcohol or mental health problems - making prison an unsuitable place for them to be sent.