Holloway Prison Set to Close
Western Europe’s largest women’s prison is set to close.
Inspectors who visited the Victorian prison labelled it as “a very difficult establishment run” while Justice Secretary, Michael Grove, concluded it was “inadequate and antiquated”, as well as adding that Holloway’s “design and physical state” was not the appropriate environment for rehabilitating offenders to be discouraged from a life of crime.
The women’s only jail will be sold to create more space for housing and build nine prisons across the UK.
Holloway Prison, which was originally built for both sexes in 1852, became England’s first female prison in 1902. It was rebuilt between 1971 and 1985.
Chancellor George Osborne said female inmates “will serve their sentences in more humane conditions, better designed, to keep them away from crime.”
The Prison Governors Association (PGA) voiced “major concerns” about the closure of Holloway.
A spokesperson said: “The PGA has not been consulted on this decision and it leaves us with some major concerns as to the capacity within the female estate.”
Jenny Earle, Programme Director at Reducing Women’s Imprisonment at the Prison Reform Trust believes this is a positive change. She told St John Street; “Women are sent there for rather minor offences and they shouldn’t be sent to prison at all, so we welcome any reduction in prison capacity as long as its accompanied by appropriate and community measures that make sure that women have options in the community. We’d like to see more focus on early intervention and diversion out of the criminal justice system.”