Legal reforms will see judges urged to consider community sentences over prison sentences of 12 months or less for vulnerable women. About 90% of jailed women are given custodial sentence of less than a year. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said extending the presumption against short sentences would mean more women would receive a community-based sentence.
He added that many had experienced abuse, mental health and addiction problems. Mr Yousaf said: "By extending the presumption to 12 months or less we are asking judges to give serious consideration to community alternatives that prioritise rehabilitation.
"Many of the women currently serving prison sentences have complex needs that contribute to frequent offending. "We should be helping them tackle those problems in the community so they can escape prison's revolving door, rather than taking away what stability they have in their home and family.
"More than two thirds of female prisoners are mothers and we must not underestimate the trauma to their children of seeing their parent go to jail." He added: "From stressful home and school moves, to poor academic performance and mental health risks, parental imprisonment can trigger lifelong issues.
"It may even make children more likely to be drawn into the criminal justice system as adults. "We have an opportunity to change how we tackle the causes of offending behaviour and the positive ripple effect to our communities could be huge."