Prisoners to be allowed temporary release at revamped Downview

Downview Prison, in Sutton Lane, will reopen as a resettlement prison in the autumn

Downview Prison, in Sutton Lane, will reopen as a resettlement prison in the autumn

First published in News
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Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

Prisoners who have committed a wide range of serious crimes will be allowed out into the community when Downview re-opens as a rehabilitation prison later this year.

Downview, in Sutton Lane, close to Banstead, was closed as a women's prison last October, but is due to re-open for 355 adult men - mainly from Greater London - as a closed Category C resettlement prison in the autumn.

The decision to change the prison was taken "as there is significant surplus accommodation within the female estate", according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

A spokeswoman said: "The design and location of Downview makes it suitable to be a closed Category C resettlement prison which is focused on helping offenders - particularly those who have been serving longer sentences - prepare for release.

"We have reviewed the settlement prison network to ensure that prisoners in every area will benefit from the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms by having access to continuous rehabilitative service throughout custody and into the community."

Resettlement prisons are designed to help prisoners, particularly those who have been serving longer sentences, prepare for release. 

As part of this, some prisoners are able to go out to training or work from the prison.

Last month, the MoJ submitted a planning application to Reigate and Banstead Council to build a new education centre at the prison. 

It has said staffing levels are still being finalised but will "be in line with other similar prisons".

The MoJ emphasised that Downview would not be an open prison and there are no plans to "remove or downgrade any perimeter security".

The spokeswoman added: "Prisoners will not be able to abscond. 

"Any release will only be granted under the terms of the new tighter released on temporary licence (ROTL) arrangements."

The MoJ said prisoners will only be allowed out for a specific purpose, such as gaining work experience, and they will have to wear GPS electronic tags "when the technology becomes available".

When deciding on whether to release prisoners on ROTL, governors must consider whether it represents unacceptable risks of harm, reoffending and absconding, the impact on the victim and public confidence in the administration of justice.

The MoJ said that in 2012, there were around five occasions out of every 100,000 releases when prisoners were arrested on suspicion of committing another offence.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or email Hardeep Matharu on hmatharu@london.newsquest.co.uk.

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Comments (10)

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9:19pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Monstermunch17 says...

Makes sense. Probably makes for a more successful rehabilitation, with a staggered approach.

Not sure about 'wearing electronic tags, when the technology becomes available'.

1. - Surely this is already available?
2. - If it's not, then it shouldn't be relevant here, or part of any decision-making process.

Either there is little statistical basis for thinking people will abscond, or we're going to cross our figures for a couple of years until someone invents something to track people.
Makes sense. Probably makes for a more successful rehabilitation, with a staggered approach. Not sure about 'wearing electronic tags, when the technology becomes available'. 1. - Surely this is already available? 2. - If it's not, then it shouldn't be relevant here, or part of any decision-making process. Either there is little statistical basis for thinking people will abscond, or we're going to cross our figures for a couple of years until someone invents something to track people. Monstermunch17
  • Score: -1

1:33pm Tue 1 Jul 14

alroutemaster says...

Watch the crime rate rocket in the local area when they let the scum out on day release.....
Watch the crime rate rocket in the local area when they let the scum out on day release..... alroutemaster
  • Score: 7

2:07pm Tue 1 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

alroutemaster wrote:
Watch the crime rate rocket in the local area when they let the scum out on day release.....
Fortunately it's still entirely legal not to read the whole article.
[quote][p][bold]alroutemaster[/bold] wrote: Watch the crime rate rocket in the local area when they let the scum out on day release.....[/p][/quote]Fortunately it's still entirely legal not to read the whole article. adrianshort
  • Score: 3

3:42pm Tue 1 Jul 14

Michael Pantlin says...

Release plan will add to the "vibrant culture" of Sutton High Street. How about respite holidays in jail for those of us who want to get away from it all?
Release plan will add to the "vibrant culture" of Sutton High Street. How about respite holidays in jail for those of us who want to get away from it all? Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 11

7:59pm Tue 1 Jul 14

jswan1 says...

Disgraceful, makes me feel physically sick to think they are prematurely releasing these scumbags onto our streets. They are putting our safety at risk by doing this.
Disgraceful, makes me feel physically sick to think they are prematurely releasing these scumbags onto our streets. They are putting our safety at risk by doing this. jswan1
  • Score: 6

9:33am Wed 2 Jul 14

theavengers says...

Long term prison terms must mean they are violent and dangerous. I don't want my taxes going to rehab these animals, put them down and keep them off our streets and away from innocent human beings. What a waste of money to help these evil scum.
Long term prison terms must mean they are violent and dangerous. I don't want my taxes going to rehab these animals, put them down and keep them off our streets and away from innocent human beings. What a waste of money to help these evil scum. theavengers
  • Score: 4

9:35am Wed 2 Jul 14

theavengers says...

And of course these animals will go top of Sutton Housing list when they are let out fully. Rewarded for murder, rapes, and child abuse. Break ins to our homes and making good peoples lives misery.
And of course these animals will go top of Sutton Housing list when they are let out fully. Rewarded for murder, rapes, and child abuse. Break ins to our homes and making good peoples lives misery. theavengers
  • Score: 1

5:52pm Wed 2 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

theavengers wrote:
Long term prison terms must mean they are violent and dangerous. I don't want my taxes going to rehab these animals, put them down and keep them off our streets and away from innocent human beings. What a waste of money to help these evil scum.
Perhaps you could move somewhere with a judicial system more to your liking. I hear that Iran is lovely at this time of year. China, too.
[quote][p][bold]theavengers[/bold] wrote: Long term prison terms must mean they are violent and dangerous. I don't want my taxes going to rehab these animals, put them down and keep them off our streets and away from innocent human beings. What a waste of money to help these evil scum.[/p][/quote]Perhaps you could move somewhere with a judicial system more to your liking. I hear that Iran is lovely at this time of year. China, too. adrianshort
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Wed 2 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

jswan1 wrote:
Disgraceful, makes me feel physically sick to think they are prematurely releasing these scumbags onto our streets. They are putting our safety at risk by doing this.
These are prisoners who are nearing their release date. They'll be doing risk assessments.

Do you think it'd just be safer not to prepare them for release until they can no longer be held?
[quote][p][bold]jswan1[/bold] wrote: Disgraceful, makes me feel physically sick to think they are prematurely releasing these scumbags onto our streets. They are putting our safety at risk by doing this.[/p][/quote]These are prisoners who are nearing their release date. They'll be doing risk assessments. Do you think it'd just be safer not to prepare them for release until they can no longer be held? adrianshort
  • Score: 1

6:44pm Wed 2 Jul 14

sjsunny says...

This is nothing new - Downview was a male prison less than 10 years ago with inmates allowed out on day release to undertake work etc. Each morning prisoners could be see walking along Sutton Lane. Things are just reverting back to how they used to be. Sadly, taxpayers' money has been wasted in the process converting from a make prison to a female prison and back again!
This is nothing new - Downview was a male prison less than 10 years ago with inmates allowed out on day release to undertake work etc. Each morning prisoners could be see walking along Sutton Lane. Things are just reverting back to how they used to be. Sadly, taxpayers' money has been wasted in the process converting from a make prison to a female prison and back again! sjsunny
  • Score: 2

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