Parkhurst name set to disappear

By David Newble

Friday, October 3, 2008

 

THE prison that once held notorious criminals including the Great Train Robbers and the Kray twins may be about to change its name.

Parkhurst, along with Albany and Camp Hill, could become part of a cluster prison with one governor in charge.

Suggested names for the super-jail include HMP Solent, HMP Mountbatten and HMP Vectis.

However, the proposals have aroused controversy among prison officers, who fear they will lead to job losses and could put the safety of staff and inmates at risk.

Glen Holmes, chairman of the Prison Officers Association (Parkhurst), claimed the aim was to save £1.1 million by natural wastage among staff and the scrapping of eight principal officers’ posts.

He said: “It puts the public at risk. There will be fewer staff on the landings and inmates will be locked up for longer.”

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “The clustering project on the Isle of Wight is designed to improve efficiency across the three prisons. This will not lead to the safety of prisoners, staff or the public being reduced.

“Work is under way to decide how best the clustering project will work and staff are being consulted throughout this process.

“A new name for the prison is being considered but no shortlist has yet been drawn up.”

Parkhurst was built as a military hospital in 1805, then transformed into a prison for boys awaiting deportation, mainly to Australia. It remained a high-security prison until the mid-1990s when it was converted to house long-term and life-sentence category B prisoners.

Reporter: davidn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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