Prison workers fight closure of HMP Askham Grange

York Press: HMP Askham Grange HMP Askham Grange

STAFF at a women’s open prison near York have called for it to be saved from closure by launching an online petition.

HMP Askham Grange, at Askham Richard, will shut after the Ministry of Justice said dedicated prisons for female offenders were no longer needed and the move will allow inmates to serve their sentences closer to home.

The news came five months after inspectors described the jail, which has space for 162 offenders, as “remarkable”. Assurances have been made that no jobs will be lost, but the petition on the HM Government website – which yesterday had 858 signatures – said Askham Grange and HMP East Sutton Park, in Kent, should stay open as they were the only women’s prisons in the country. No closure date has been confirmed.

In a letter to The Press, “devastated” prison staff wrote: “We are a high-performing prison and we are ranked in the top five in the country.

“We care about what we do and full emphasis is on rehabilitation and resettlement, which is what the Government is trying to achieve. We have been doing this for many years with excellent results and have very low reoffending rates.

“We also have a superb mother and baby unit and a facility, unique within the Prison Service, which allows our women to have their children to come and stay with their mothers and provide valuable family ties.”

They said the prison had a business enterprise unit and created money through its gardens, hairdressing service and conference facilities, saying: “We could understand the closure if we didn’t perform highly and did not give anything back to the community, but we do.

“Residents here are very upset and unsettled and do not want to step back into closed prisons.

“If ourselves and East Sutton Park close, there will be no open prisons left in England for these women, which is discrimination in itself.”

Lord McNally, minister for female offenders, said the reforms would mean women’s prisons becoming resettlement prisons, allowing women to maintain family relationships and be “reintegrated into society”.

Askham Grange’s former prisoners include murderer Tracie Andrews, Anne Darwin, who helped her husband John fake his death in a canoe accident in an insurance fraud, and child killer Mary Bell.

Comments (8)

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4:26pm Sat 7 Dec 13

chelk says...

Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it
Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it chelk

5:13pm Sat 7 Dec 13

courier46 says...

chelk wrote:
Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it
How many does it accommodate Chelk ,as a matter of interest
[quote][p][bold]chelk[/bold] wrote: Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it[/p][/quote]How many does it accommodate Chelk ,as a matter of interest courier46

5:18pm Sat 7 Dec 13

courier46 says...

courier46 wrote:
chelk wrote:
Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it
How many does it accommodate Chelk ,as a matter of interest
Ignore last comment, just seen it`s 162,i think it`s a fair number but as always it`s down to costs I`m afraid
[quote][p][bold]courier46[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chelk[/bold] wrote: Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it[/p][/quote]How many does it accommodate Chelk ,as a matter of interest[/p][/quote]Ignore last comment, just seen it`s 162,i think it`s a fair number but as always it`s down to costs I`m afraid courier46

11:11pm Sat 7 Dec 13

emsb20 says...

actually it acomodates 128,and the prison is set a budget, in this case.askham came in 10% below last years budget cuts,so money is not an issue. unfortunately it is the govt that just dont want the prison open.Top 3 safest prison and they want it to close,its madness
actually it acomodates 128,and the prison is set a budget, in this case.askham came in 10% below last years budget cuts,so money is not an issue. unfortunately it is the govt that just dont want the prison open.Top 3 safest prison and they want it to close,its madness emsb20

11:47pm Sat 7 Dec 13

Harald Harada says...

''Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it''
You appear to be one who understands the price of everything and the value of nothing...are you a mate of our hopelessly incompetent Chancellor of the exchequer? Expensive? what is expensive is the way the appalling incompetent Justice minister is screwing up our prisons by judging everything by the penny and not by what works...and I know what what I'm talking about because I worked in the top performing prison that he closed because of a deliberately misrepresented cost... we rehabilitated prisoners and closed because of ideological reasons, the streets are being made less safe through the retrograde policies of this public sector hating government!!
''Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it'' You appear to be one who understands the price of everything and the value of nothing...are you a mate of our hopelessly incompetent Chancellor of the exchequer? Expensive? what is expensive is the way the appalling incompetent Justice minister is screwing up our prisons by judging everything by the penny and not by what works...and I know what what I'm talking about because I worked in the top performing prison that he closed because of a deliberately misrepresented cost... we rehabilitated prisoners and closed because of ideological reasons, the streets are being made less safe through the retrograde policies of this public sector hating government!! Harald Harada

10:20am Sun 8 Dec 13

inthesticks says...

Terrible shame. It`s helped thousands upon thousands of children aswell through the years if you think about it at an awful time in their life. I think they have done wonderful work.
Terrible shame. It`s helped thousands upon thousands of children aswell through the years if you think about it at an awful time in their life. I think they have done wonderful work. inthesticks

2:16pm Sun 8 Dec 13

emsb20 says...

courier46 wrote:
courier46 wrote:
chelk wrote:
Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it
How many does it accommodate Chelk ,as a matter of interest
Ignore last comment, just seen it`s 162,i think it`s a fair number but as always it`s down to costs I`m afraid
It is not down to costs, as the prison had a budget cut last year, and it still came in under 10% that . The prison actually generates a lot of its own income, and the total capacity is 128, with extremely low reoffending rates and no staff assaults! surely in this dangerous day and age,this is what we want.
[quote][p][bold]courier46[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]courier46[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chelk[/bold] wrote: Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it[/p][/quote]How many does it accommodate Chelk ,as a matter of interest[/p][/quote]Ignore last comment, just seen it`s 162,i think it`s a fair number but as always it`s down to costs I`m afraid[/p][/quote]It is not down to costs, as the prison had a budget cut last year, and it still came in under 10% that . The prison actually generates a lot of its own income, and the total capacity is 128, with extremely low reoffending rates and no staff assaults! surely in this dangerous day and age,this is what we want. emsb20

3:06pm Sun 8 Dec 13

emsb20 says...

Harald Harada wrote:
''Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it''
You appear to be one who understands the price of everything and the value of nothing...are you a mate of our hopelessly incompetent Chancellor of the exchequer? Expensive? what is expensive is the way the appalling incompetent Justice minister is screwing up our prisons by judging everything by the penny and not by what works...and I know what what I'm talking about because I worked in the top performing prison that he closed because of a deliberately misrepresented cost... we rehabilitated prisoners and closed because of ideological reasons, the streets are being made less safe through the retrograde policies of this public sector hating government!!
yes don't you just love it when random people come out with innacurate random so called facts and they haven't got a clue! Budget is nothing to do with askham as well all know.
[quote][p][bold]Harald Harada[/bold] wrote: ''Might be a high performing prison but can only accommodate a small number of prisoners and as such is unfortunately expensive to run I am for the plans to shut it'' You appear to be one who understands the price of everything and the value of nothing...are you a mate of our hopelessly incompetent Chancellor of the exchequer? Expensive? what is expensive is the way the appalling incompetent Justice minister is screwing up our prisons by judging everything by the penny and not by what works...and I know what what I'm talking about because I worked in the top performing prison that he closed because of a deliberately misrepresented cost... we rehabilitated prisoners and closed because of ideological reasons, the streets are being made less safe through the retrograde policies of this public sector hating government!![/p][/quote]yes don't you just love it when random people come out with innacurate random so called facts and they haven't got a clue! Budget is nothing to do with askham as well all know. emsb20

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