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  • "
    MrTomSmith wrote:
    Surely, 12 months ago, 18 months ago, or whenever, they have a ball park figure as to how many prison places they need. So Surely they always make sure they have enough to cover and don't close places until others are open. Then, they change/close places with the 100000% knowledge that they will never ever be required again.............ev er. Or maybe not. INCREDIBLE! The person responsible should be named and fired.
    Prison Population Statistics (House of Commons Library)
    Standard Note: SN/SG/4334 Last updated: 29 July 2013

    Quote: "General Statistics
    A prison is overcrowded when the number of prisoners held exceeds the establishment’s Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA). The CNA is the Prison Service’s own measure of accommodation and represents the decent standard of accommodation that the Prison Service aspires to provide all prisoners.
    At the end of June 2013, 69 prison establishments in England and Wales (56% of the estate) were overcrowded. In nine of these establishments the population was at least 150% of the CNA figure.2"

    OK, so the authorities knowing that over half of the existing UK prisons were overcrowded 9 months ago, close Gloucester, Shepton Mallet, Dorchester and the Verne, to name but a few, without having first built the new modern super-size prisons proposed to replace them?
    Immediate problem arises that they do not have sufficient capacity and seek to reopen the Verne.
    Incredible incompetence! and these decision makers are in control of spending vast amounts of public funds! ........ Beggars belief!"
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UPDATE: Staff fear for jobs after last-minute changes to HMP The Verne plans

Dorset Echo: EXCLUSIVE: HMP The Verne to be turned back in to a prison EXCLUSIVE: HMP The Verne to be turned back in to a prison

A LAST-MINUTE decision to keep HMP The Verne open as a prison has been condemned.

Employees were reportedly told yesterday that due to ‘overcrowding in the prison service’ The Verne will not become an immigration removal centre as planned until later this year.

Prison Service bosses insist that it will still hold illegal immigrants and that the decision to revert to prison status was just a ‘temporary measure’.

But staff said they were ‘very unhappy’ at the late-notice announcement as the first immigration detainees are due to arrive on Monday.

The Ministry of Justice insisted there are ‘no current plans to review staff levels’.

But employees have said it is ‘just a matter of time’ before prisoners are re-allocated to Portland, wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

One source said: “I believe they are planning to have both immigration detainees and Category C prisoners at HMP The Verne.

“Apparently there could be detainees in part of the prison and inmates in another.

“It beggars belief. There is massive overcrowding in the prison service and over the last few weeks there have barely been 100 spaces in the system.

“They have closed all these prisons and now they have nowhere to put inmates.

“The prison service is in crisis. There is an increasing population of prisoners and they’ve got nowhere to put them.

“What they’re essentially saying by keeping HMP The Verne as a prison is ‘we will be putting immigration detainees here, but we may also fill it up with prisoners’.”

Another source described the inside of the prison as ‘a building site’.

He added: “There are only two units ready for work and still around 80 contractors on site.

“Our main concern is that we have got all the staff here ready for the immigration centre and the prison will not need as many people, so jobs are at risk.”

It is believed around £8m has been spent on the re-role of the prison.

The former Victorian barracks, transformed into a jail more than 60 years ago, is due to house 580 people waiting to be removed from the UK.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax, pictured left, has said he believes the move has been made to ‘give the justice department a bit more flexibility’.

He said he had been assured there would not be any job losses or changes for the future plans for HMP The Verne.

He added: “I was as surprised as everyone else to hear the news that The Verne would remain an HMP. This, I think, is giving the justice department a little bit more flexibility until September.

“Retaining the name is not going to affect the plans for the prison in the future.”

The situation will be reviewed by the Ministry of Justice in September.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “HMP The Verne will begin holding immigration detainees from Monday, March 24.

“Build-up to its total capacity will be completed by September.

“While build-up takes place and until refurbishment is completed, NOMS will retain The Verne as a prison, but it will hold exclusively detainees on behalf of the Home Office.

“This temporary arrangement does not affect the number of staff employed.

“There are no current plans to review staff levels.”

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