POA Circulars

140 | 04.09.2013

Prison Closures; A Service in Crisis

Today the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Mr Chris Grayling made an announcement to close the following prisons Blundeston, Dorchester, Northallerton and Reading as part of the Governments prison closure programme. He also went on to discuss the new prison in North Wales, currently no provider has been identified. He discussed the feasibility into replacing Feltham prison with an adult/youth prison in West London as a long term strategy (potentially 5 years). Three prisons were identified to be re-roled, HMP The Verne to an immigration/removal centre, HMP Downview from a female to an adult and Warren Hill from YOI to adult. Discussions are also on-going in relation to the lease for HMP Dartmoor, currently at ten years.

The closures will be completed by the end of 2013 and re-roles by 2014.

The National Executive Committee have been dealing with the press and promulgate the attached press release in support of our members for information.

Meetings have been requested with the Chief Executive Officer Michael Spurr in response to this announcement, an announcement which underpins our concerns that the Service is in a very volatile state.

The Executive will now consider a strategy to support those members who will be affected by this announcement. However, all branches should hold a branch meeting on Thursday, 5th September 2013 at 07.30 to discuss the following issues:

1. Prison closures (Ministerial announcement);
2. The unacceptable level of violence in prisons;
3. Institutional overcrowding.

Following the closure of Annual Conference the POAs HR sub-committee has been working with NOMS in respect of a protocol to manage staff surpluses and this should prove beneficial to those affected staff. This will be promulgated in due course. Please find attached the “Managing People through Prison Closure” protocol and toolkit in addition to the POA Briefing Paper. These should be used by Branch Officials when conducting the meeting on Thursday and for staff who may be subject to transfer.

The National Chairman will ensure that members of the National Executive Committee or Full Time Officers are deployed to each of the closed prisons to offer support and advice to the local committee and members.

Once again I would remind you that at the National Whitley meeting the Executive argued the case on the Governments prison closure policy, the acceptance of “institutional overcrowding” and the level of violence in our prisons. These arguments have fallen on deaf ears.

The NEC were aware of the rumours which were circulating in the weeks leading up to this announcement. It would appear that a leak had taken place within the Ministry of Justice as some Governing Governors appeared to have prior knowledge.

Please draw the contents of this circular and attachments to your members attention.

Thanking you in anticipation of your support and co-operation on this matter.


Yours sincerely


General Secretary


pdf, 691.2K, 04/09/13, 574 downloads

PRISON VIOLENCE DOCUMENT april 2013 email.pdf

pdf, 850.3K, 04/09/13, 281 downloads