Further to the report released today, this in from Andrew Turner’s office. Our thoughts are with those who will lose their jobs, one of whom said he only learnt about the plans after reading this article. Ed
Andrew Turner has given an initial response to the announcement made this morning following a national review of the prison estates, that part of HMP Isle of Wight is to close. The Island’s MP has established that it is to be Camp Hill, a Category C Training establishment within HMP Isle of Wight that will close with an operational capacity of almost 600 prisoners.
Six prisons will be closed totally, Bullwood Hall, Canterbury, Gloucester, Kingston, Shepton Mallett and Shrewsbury. Partial closures will take place at Chelmsford, Hull, and the Isle of Wight.
New prisoner accommodation is to be built at some prisons where demand is highest.
“Disappointing”, says MP
Mr Turner commented: “This is very disappointing and I am of course very concerned about this announcement and the ramifications for Island residents and the local economy. However, at least we are not suffering full closure of HMP Isle of Wight.
“The future of the national prison estate has been under review because keeping prisoners in aging buildings presents particular challenges and they are very expensive to run and maintain. Camp Hill was built in 1912 and houses category C prisoners who do not require the same levels of security as the category B prisoners in Albany and Parkhurst. The Government believes that wherever possible prisoners should be incarcerated close to the communities they come from to enable them to keep in regular contact with their families which is considered important for their rehabilitation. Of course a very low number of prisoners in HMP Isle of Wight are actually from the Island and family visits from the mainland can be problematic due to the cost and difficulty of getting here.
“I will be seeking an early meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss the implications this will have on the Island’s economy, what can be done to support staff affected by the closure and the future of the actual buildings and grounds at Camp Hill. I will also be asking for meetings with the Prison Governor and members of staff to discuss the issues.”