Camp Hill, part of HMP Isle of Wight, will be emptied of prisoners this week according to the Prison Officers Association.
JUST months after the controversial decision to close Camp Hill Prison was announced, the jail will be emptied of prisoners this week, according to the Prison Officers Association.
The prison is due to be fully decommissioned in April, however prison officers still face uncertainty over their future, with the full terms of voluntary early departure (VED) packages yet to be finalised.
The decision to close the jail, part of HMP Isle of Wight along with Parkhurst and Albany, was condemned by the union, which has warned it could cost the Isle of Wight economy millions of pounds.
Camp Hill POA chairman Richard Knox said: "This closure represents a massive loss to the Island economy, to the tune of £8 million, which will have a knock on effect to everyone who lives here."
The union called for the Island to stand together to protect the remaining prisons, warning that if they closed the total cost to the local economy would be £30m a year.
It urged MP Andrew Turner "not to follow the party line" over the closure. Mr Turner has previously said that although he did not support the closure, he understood the reasons behind it.
In a statement issued today (Wednesday), POA Camp Hill secretary Ben Cooper said: "The government needs to be aware that handing our local community prisons over to private sector Titan prisons will inevitably lead to a greater risk to the public which is unacceptable.
"Staff at HMP Isle of Wight are nearing the end of this stressful time when they have been treated appallingly by the Prison Service.
"The POA is hopeful that everyone will know what is happening to them soon, but the deadlines have been extended and put back adding to the distress and upset."
He told the County Press that the majority of staff had agreed in principle to VED, but they would not know the final details of the offer until next month, when officers might change their minds if they felt the terms were not acceptable.
The POA said it offered its solidarity and support to all Islanders facing job losses and those looking for work.
An online petition has been started to oppose the closure, which can be viewed here.