Ashfield Young Offenders Institution will close
ASHFIELD Young Offenders' Institution will close and be replaced by an adult prison.
A week after The Post published a story about the Pucklechurch facility being changed to house category C sex offenders, the Government has finally admitted that it is part of their prison reforms.
A statement released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) today about a raft of changes designed to save £63 million per year, includes the line: "The Government will also convert a surplus young offenders institution at HMP Ashfield into a full adult prison."
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We have to bring down the cost of our prison system, much of which is old and expensive. But I never want the courts to be in a position where they cannot send a criminal to prison because there is no place available.
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"So we have to move as fast as we can to replace the older parts of our prison system.
"That's why we are moving ahead with immediate plans for new prison capacity, as well as closing older and more expensive facilities.
"It's also why I am now moving ahead with planning for the next generation of new prisons."
Members of staff, solicitors, families of offenders and residents living near Ashfield have all voiced a number of concerns about the proposals.
Ashfield is the only YOI for 15-18-year olds in the West and South of England.
With no alternative announced by the MoJ, this means families of teenagers currently at Ashfield could have to travel as far as Manchester or Kent to visit their loved ones.
The MoJ has not yet confirmed what type of adult prison Ashfield will become, but staff have been told in meetings that it will be for low-risk sex offenders.
Nationwide, there are between 600 and 700 empty beds across seven YOIs for 15-18 year olds, which has led to Ashfield's closure.