Prison petition calls for parliamentary debate

By Ross Findon

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Prison petition calls for parliamentary debate

Prison officers and staff gather outside Albany House, following the news Camp Hill was to be closed.

A PETITION, calling for a parliamentary debate on the closure of Camp Hill, has been started by a prison worker.

Camp Hill Prison Officers Association (POA) branch secretary Ben Cooper has started an e-petition which under government rules, if signed by 100,000 people, could lead to a House of Commons debate on the issue.

It follows outcry from many on the Island over the decision to close the prison, which is part of HMP Isle of Wight.

The POA has warned that it could put 400 jobs at risk, including officers, prison staff, lecturers and health workers.

There have also been warnings of a devastating widespread effect on the Isle of Wight economy.

Mr Cooper, 25, said: "The decision to close the prison is an idealogical one from a Tory government that wants to privatise the service."

He said the decision was based on cost issues and not the performance of the prison. He criticised plans to replace Camp Hill, and others earmarked for closure, with a titan prison capable of holding 2,000 prisoners.

"The evidence shows that these titan prisons do not work," said Mr Cooper.

He said there were ongoing fears that Albany and Parkhurst could be closed next, bringing to an end a vital career opportunity for many young Islanders.

The petition has had the backing of the POA national executive, which is to call on members nationally to support it, according to Camp Hill branch official Richard Knox.

Mr Knox, along with branch officials representing Parkhurst and Albany, is due to meet with Andrew Turner MP on Monday to discuss the Camp Hill closure.

The petition can be viewed and signed at


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by Luci Alice

28th January 2013, at 18:19:59

Sarah, I find your statement a strange one. You realise that there would be more job losses if TWO prisons closed instead of the one?

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by Mike Crowe

21st January 2013, at 07:13:46

Sarah I don't know, but hazarding a guess from what I remember from my experience of Camp Hill, I would say it is something to do with transportation of prisoners. Camp Hill is/was a 'naughty boy's' prison and there were weekly intakes. Don't know if they still do use Wightlink, they did, and with Wightlink's cutbacks and in the future general demise, then the Prison Service have eliminated a huge constant transportation problem by shutting Camp Hill.

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by glynnis clark

19th January 2013, at 18:21:34

The prisons on the island have been a major part of employment for the island people please help island people by signing this petition with all the recent employment and closures help stop this before we are just an island with nothing

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by Derek Nicoll

19th January 2013, at 16:00:22

The closure of Camp Hill will have a devastating effect on individuals and the local economy. Please support the petition.

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by Louise Smith

19th January 2013, at 11:45:37

Please sign the petition, help keep the Island economy going by keeping jobs

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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