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Uncertain future for Gloucester prison care staff

By citizennick  |  Posted: January 22, 2013

Comments (11)

CARE staff at HMP Gloucester could be further casualties of the prison's closure next month.

Long-standing Gloucester prison will close after 222 years serving the city as the Ministry of Justice considered it too expensive to run.

All 321 inmates and staff will by gone by the end of the financial year in March.

It is expected the 200 staff there now face redundancy, with more workers in the prison's care sector also facing uncertainty over their futures.

A spokesman from the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, that runs the prison care service, said discussions have begun over their futures.

"We are talking with colleagues and staff side representatives to identify suitable opportunities either within 2gether or the broader health and social care community," he said.

"Our aim is to help make sure  we support staff in their ongoing career choice and retain valuable skills within our county."

Gloucester MP Richard Graham visited the prison on Friday to meet with governor Chantel King to discuss the  closure.

"The Governor has clear plans and communications and I am confident that these last two difficult months in HMP Gloucester's life will be well handled," he said.

"There is a lot of uncertainty for staff who have done a great job in this important community role.

"I've seen first-hand on visits what a good job  2gether staff do at the prison.

Gloucester is one of six jails which will close, along with parts of three others, to save £63million a year.

The Government has said older prisons can cost twice that of more modern facilities.

Former prisoners have said the building is outdated, has a grim history of overcrowding with unacceptable standards of living conditions.

Read the full story in tomorrow's Citizen.

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11 comments

  • eyeopener  |  January 22 2013, 9:00PM

    @ SG1970 "Stop getting outraged on others behalf." I think if you had read my comment more carefully you would have seen that the last thing I was doing was "getting outraged on others behalf." It might not suit your "hang 'em and flog 'em" philosophy but I was instead arguing for more cost effective imprisonment, and if the result is offenders re-emerging no better than before, but simply better educated in the ways of crime then most would argue that they as the tax payer had not had their moneys worth. Would the needless victims of crime because a prisoner was re-offending be those you didn't want me to be getting outraged on behalf of? I am also urprised that someone who is apparently concerned about making accurate statements failed to notice that I did not quote from ANY part of that report. I see you also conveniently overlooked the point that a better investment in the police service would pay dividends in crime reduction. it is hard to see what you are arguing for, or are you just against anything you consider "hand wringing liberal PC"? Neither of us like criminals/prisoners, but I fail to see why I should have to cut off my nose to spite my face. Yes the report was produced in 2005 but can you produce a newer report that comes to different conclusions? This studies conclusions are mirrored by other studies from both the UK and overseas. If it's conclusions were a "one off" I might understand your concerns. All studies point to the role that post imprisonment employment has on deterring re-offending, and to the positive supportive role of family and friends in encouraging "desistance from crime". Stephen Farrall a leading professor of criminology said that offenders rely heavily on social ties in order to find employment, he also said that work offers: A reduction in unstructured time and an increase in structured time; an income, which enables home-leaving and the establishment of significant relationships; a legitimate identity; an increase in self-esteem; use of an individual s energies; financial security; daily interaction with non-offenders a reduction in the time spent in single-sex peer-aged groups, and ambitions and goals, such as promotion at work. Internet Journal of Criminology © 2008 http://tinyurl.com/yj3lfhx You query the sample size, but it is usual for this kind of research, and as long as it is representative of the population being studied should not present a problem. The study was open to peer review and I have yet to find anything negative about it. Surely the bottom line is how to rehabilitate prisoners and return them to society on a value for money basis? Apart from the over £40,000 p.a. it costs to imprison someone, there are the significant additional costs to society if released prisoners go on to commit more crime. All Tim did was point out that the benefit of having a financially more efficient prison system was likely to be dissipated if prisoners on release continued to re-offend. What is "hand wringing liberal PC" about that?

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  • SG1970  |  January 22 2013, 7:45PM

    Eyeopener - I assume you realise that the report is actually over ten years old, and involves less that 2% of the prison population. I do not believe that is enough to make accurate statements. Government departments have a great history with both Labour and Conservative of producing supposed reporting, when we all know ultimately it must please the incumbent party at the time. Also I am an adopted child who has been fostered since three months old. My real father may be one of those statistics, if he's still inside, hopefully not, I would prefer if he was six feet under. Stop getting outraged on others behalf.

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  • Glos_Lad34  |  January 22 2013, 7:22PM

    How about becoming the Hotel staff.

  • eyeopener  |  January 22 2013, 5:03PM

    @ SG1970 I was really shocked by Tim. Fancy him having the nerve to quote any research! I can see that would be a bit inconvenient for your "hang 'em and flog 'em" philosophy. And dash it all to be quoting Home Office Research at that! 'What ho,' the chaps a bit of a bounder isn't he? Still if Tim can back his thoughts with a bit of research, why couldn't you? Was Google a bit of a challenge? If all else failed you could have tried quoting from the article, where it said "Former prisoners have said the building is outdated, has a grim history of overcrowding with unacceptable standards of living conditions." That would tend to mitigate the effect of keeping them at Gloucester within reach of their families. I have no sympathy for prisoners. They didn't get there by helping old ladies across the road, but if your concerned about reoffending, is brutalising the prisoners the answer? You may consider any form of rehabilitation "hand wringing liberal PC" but on their release, someone will have to live near them and meet them sometime; and as in 2008/09 it cost an average of £39,600 to keep a prisoner in prison for a year isn't any measure that helps reduce the risk of their reoffending likely to represent good value for money? If your worried about crime, you might like to be more concerned about the coalition governments reduction of police spending which has resulted in a sharp fall in police officers aged under 26. Numbers are down by 50% in two years. This means we are likely to have an ageing police force. It remains to be seen if the new cut in police pay levels will increase applicants for the post. Granted there has been some recent improvement in crime figures, but policing methods have changed dramatically in the last few years and we would have had that benefit anyway. Detection rates are still very poor, and we need more, and not less investment to beat crime. All the evidence points to the certainty of being convicted as being more likely to prevent crime than increasing the penalties for it. If you don't think you will get caught why will you fear the penalty? It pains me to say, it as I usually disagree with most of what Tim says, but he has a fair point. Yes I'm glad to see Gloucester closed. It was a very poor prison. I'm also glad that the new prisons will be more economical to run, but real savings that cost you and I less, and certainly cost the victims of crime less, are more likely to result from successful rehabilitation, and resettlement of offenders. To some the above will seem very "hand wringing liberal PC", but to those who want a reduction in crime, at the least cost, its common sense really.

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  • raidermanuk  |  January 22 2013, 4:08PM

    TimMessanger "Home Office research has shown that family ties have a positive effect on prisoner rehabilitation – particularly finding employment or housing" The report actually said this "Inmates who received no visits during their imprisonment (31 percent) were less likely to have jobs or housing arranged upon release" There are many reasons why inmates received no visits. No friends? No family? Fiends and/or family have disowned them? Maybe they are more socially challenged and naturally find it more difficult to find jobs and housing confirming the conclusion but without supporting the argument! In my opinion prisoners have far too many rights already.

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  • SELINA30  |  January 22 2013, 4:07PM

    Good stuff Tim

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  • SG1970  |  January 22 2013, 3:23PM

    "Home Office Research", well we all know that's going to be reliable information, bit the immigration figures they keep getting wrong. Government department writing a document for the government, that won't be bias. "Less likely to Re-offend' - don't make me laugh, have you seen the re-offend rate? Perhaps keeping kids away from delinquent parents in prison, may help towards preventing that child from becoming an offender? But that wouldn't be PC and would upset the hand wringing liberals, who get outraged on other peoples behalf. Perhaps if we were a bit tougher in the first place we wouldn't be in the mess we are.

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  • TimMessanger  |  January 22 2013, 2:50PM

    Home Office research has shown that family ties have a positive effect on prisoner rehabilitation – particularly finding employment or housing. (Niven, S and Stewart, D (2005) Resettlement Outcomes on Release from Prison, Home Office Findings 248 ) Children and families can play a significant role in supporting offenders and prisoners are less likely to re-offend if good family relationships are maintained throughout their sentence . Positive contact with family and friends on release can help successful resettlement. (Home Office, NOMS May 2007 and Niven, S and Stewart, D (2005) Resettlement Outcomes on Release from Prison, Home Office Findings 248) Family visits to prisons have been decreasing in recent years which may be because prisoners are being housed further from home because of overcrowding. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines basic rights that all children should enjoy. The following articles from the Convention are particularly relevant to children with an imprisoned parent: • Children who have been separated from their parents have the right to maintain personal relations and personal contact, unless this is contrary to their best interests (Article 9:3); • In all actions concerning children their best interests should be a primary consideration (Article 3:1); • It should be recognised that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child (Article 18:1); • Children have the right to express and have their views considered in all matters affecting them (Article 12:1); • All the rights in the Convention apply to all children without discrimination, irrespective of their parent's status (Article 2:2).

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  • JeanGRIGG  |  January 22 2013, 2:14PM

    Newgate jail - just like Gloster - had a "Volunteer visitor System", that's crashed too then, how many person are/were involved within that here in our city Mr Graham? "Ghost prisoners" just a term I read recently, move on then no one can find you.jg Barnwood.

  • SG1970  |  January 22 2013, 1:57PM

    "The Conservatives splitting up families" by sending offenders further from their families!" I assume that was sarcastic?

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