Online petition opposes Camp Hill Prison closure (updated)

Over 1,000 signatures have been added to the ePetition opposing the closure of Camp Hill Prison

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.

Island MP
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.”

Image: Katerha under CC BY 2.0

Update 8.Feb.13 11:23: Added clarity to Island’s concern about possible closure of the Camp Hill site

Tuesday, 22nd January, 2013 5:11pm



Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Newport, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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11 Comments on "Online petition opposes Camp Hill Prison closure (updated)"

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Islanders are unhappy about the closure, really? I don’t know anybody who is unhappy. Most are happy to get these criminals off our Island and most of the staff aren’t Islanders anyway, they will just move to other prisons.

Perhaps you should try talking to some of the people affected by this closure Bayboy before mouthing off. Sure, some staff may not be born and bred by three generations on the Island, but they work here, live here, their kids go to school here and they contribute to the community and economy. Best to keep your zenophobic comments to your living room rather than infecting other… Read more »
Don Smith

The closing of Camphill will affect the island’s economy.
How many people who keep this island ticking over were actually born here? Take away overners and this island would come to a standstill – You can’t even manage an inch and a half of snow:-) For bayboy read baby-boy.

Mr Einsteins Ghost

I presume Bayboy is born and in-bred on the Island, in which case his attitude is to be expected.


Replying to a xenophobic comment with an insult. Wow, that’s really clever.

Mr Einsteins Ghost

Why thank you! I thought so too!

Ben cooper
The staff at the prisons have mostly lived on the island for many years and thier families were born here. The economy will suffer when near on £7 million in wages are removed and bo longer spent in the island shops etc. the criminals do not effect you they are perfectly secure. Despite all this; this i no more than an attack on the working class by… Read more »
Years ago prison officers where moved to other prisons usually when they were promoted, they were replaced by new officers. I came here 55 years ago when my father joined, we moved around the country, but eventually came back when Albany opened, and have sinced stayed as the officers were then just switched around the three island prisons. He purchased property here, spent his retirement here, most… Read more »

Well said RJC, bayboy is displaying just how out of touch he is with island life with his comments. The prison closure IS going to have a big impact on the Island and his view that Islanders want the criminals off ‘their’ island is, in my view, ridiculous. Who put him in charge of speaking for ‘the island’.

martin william wareham
According to the records Andrew Turner has signed Eight Early Day Motions has he forgot.I signed the e-petition several days ago and I hope many others do the same.Yesterday a well known Estate Agent said there were Twenty Six percent more houses up for sale for the time of year this will soon be the norm with the Conservative Council and the Government doing their best to… Read more »
So Andrew Turners response is that because only eleven people signed the Edm that it is not worth signing. To get results you need you be strong and put your elecorate first and not tow the party line. I have requested a response to issues in the past fron our Mp I have not had his personal opinion but always got a corporate letter from the relevant… Read more »