Downview will not become an open prison, Epsom's MP has confirmed.

Speaking to the Epsom Guardian, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling refuted claims that the prison, in Banstead, could become a Category D open prison which would see inmates allowed to work in the community or take home leave if they are assessed as being low risk.

On Friday Mr Grayling told this newspaper Downview would become a Category C training prison - a fact which has now been confirmed by his department.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said: "A decision was taken to re-role Downview as there is significant surplus accommodation within the female estate.

"The design and location of Downview makes it suitable to be a closed category C resettlement prison, which is the role it will fulfil in future.

"It is anticipated that Downview will hold adult male prisoners from Summer 2014."

Concern was caused among residents and local politicians last week when one Downview employee, who asked not to be named, said they had heard rumours that it could become an open prison and the MoJ said "nothing has been ruled out" when asked about the chances of this being the case.

In a poll on this website, 90 per cent of voters said they would not welcome Downview becoming an open prison.

Downview closed as a women's prison last October but is being renovated and converted into a male prison.

Resettlement prisons are designed to help prisoners, particularly those who have been serving longer sentences, prepare for release.  As part of the resettlement arrangements, some prisoners are able to go out to training or work from the prison.

What do you think about Downview becoming a resettlement prison? Leave a comment below or email Hardeep Matharu on the newsdesk on


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