Protest over move to shut women’s jail

A COUNCIL leader has protested to the Government over the decision to close a prison in the region.

Coun James Alexander, leader of York Council, has called on Ministers to explain how they will support prison staff who will lose their jobs and to offer greater clarity over the timescale for the closure of Askham Grange women’s prison.

In his letter to Lord McNally, the Women Offenders Minister, he says: “My chief concern lies with the 100 people employed by Askham Grange who are currently unsure of their immediate and long-term future. I would like to have more clarity on the likely timescale for closure of the prison.

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“I would also like to know what measures the Ministry of Justice is planning to take to support the employees of Askham Grange and to help them find new opportunities elsewhere.”

Coun Alexander described 
the decision to close Askham Grange as “disappointing”, adding: “Askham Grange’s reputation as a quality institution for female prisoners is undisputed.”

The Government announced in October that Askham Grange would close as part of an overhaul of the way women prisoners are housed.

It said changes to the way women prisoners are dealt with meant there would be no need for as many dedicated women’s open prisons in future. East Sutton Park prison, in Kent, will close as part of the same plans.