The Government is planning to build a new education centre at Downview prison so offenders can use their time behind bars constructively.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) submitted a planning application, earlier this month, to Reigate and Banstead Borough Council requesting permission to build a "single storey pitched roof modular building forming an activity centre for prisoners".

Downview, in Sutton Lane, Banstead, was closed as a women’s prison last October, but is due to re-open for adult men as a Category C resettlement prison in the summer.

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.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "It is imperative that prisons become places of hard work and training - where prisoners use their time in custody constructively and address the root causes of their offending behaviour.

"We have recently submitted plans for a new education centre at HMP Downview, where prisoners can learn new skills and gain qualifications before their release.

"Our priority is to rehabilitate prisoners so they can find themselves a job and don't return to a life of crime."

The planning application, which cannot be viewed by the public for security reasons, will be considered by the council’s planning committee within the next month.


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