Readers will remember the news reported nearly two weeks ago that the Government are proposing to close Camp Hill prison on the Isle of Wight along with a number of other prisons across the country.
The closure would put over 200 jobs at risk and not surprisingly, Islanders are very unhappy about the plans, fearing a negative effect on the Island’s economy.
Online petition calls for Parliament debate
As well as Early Day Motions raised by MPs (see below) in opposition of the closures, an online petition has been set up by Ben Cooper.
The epetition, which currently has 1,258 signatures opposing the closure, says
The closure of Camphill site at HMP Isle of Wight should be debated in Parliament. Camphill was a level 3 performing prison carrying out its roll to a good standard.
Camphill site should remain open and the effect of the local economy as a result of the closure should be reviewed.
2000 space Titan prisons do not work and local community prisons do, this should be discussed by the government.
If you want to add your signature in opposition of the closure, see the ePetition.
Early Day Motions on prisons closures
An Early Day Motion (932) tabled last week and signed by eleven MPs said the “decision to close public prisons and build new blocks in three private prisons will mean a higher proportion of jails are now being run for profit; and calls on the Government to launch an independent review of prison privatisation and for them to reconsider the proposals to close these prisons and to focus on reducing prison overcrowding through improving rehabilitation and reducing reoffending.”
Another Early Day Motion (1335) tabled for 24th January calls on the Government to re-examine its decision and keep HM Prison Ashwell and HM Prison Lancaster Castle open. This EDM received signatures from 30 MPs supporting it.
We’ve been asked by an On The Wight reader why Isle of Wight MP, Andrew Turner, had not supported the EDM opposing closure of Camp Hill.
We got in touch with Andrew Turner’s office this morning to ask why he had not signed the (932) Motion
, but at time of publishing we’d not received a response. We’ll update here when we hear back.
Andrew Turner told On The Wight, “Along with many MPs of all parties I do not sign EDMs as they have no practical effect and get no response or answers from Ministers. For instance this one, which is on an important issue that affects a large number of constituencies has only attracted support from 11 MPs.
“I prefer to raise issues directly with Ministers and I am very concerned about the effect the closure of Camp Hill will have on the Island’s economy as well as the impact on individual employees. I have met the new Governor and representatives of the Prison Officers Association to hear their views. I am meeting the prisons Minister next week and I will raise their concerns with him and report back to them after that meeting.
“The former Governor told me that rehabilitation of Category C prisoners (those unlikely to try to escape and typically imprisoned for less serious crimes and shorter sentences), is most successful when they have regular contact with their families. The vast majority of prisoners here are from the mainland and family visits can be both difficult and expensive. That was why an application was made for HMP Isle of Wight to house only sex offenders – who often receive fewer family visitors. Unfortunately that application was unsuccessful.
“Camp Hill houses Category C prisoners and nationally there is a surplus of those places. The Government has decided that Camp Hill should close and offenders should be imprisoned closer to the communities they come from. Old prisons are also more expensive to run, and Camp Hill was built over 100 years ago. I am certainly not happy about the decision but understand the reasons behind it.”
Update 8.Feb.13 11:23: Added clarity to Island’s concern about possible closure of the Camp Hill site