Search

Holloway Prison: Housing campaigners accuse Ministry of Justice of ‘misleading’ people over use of visitor centre

PUBLISHED: 07:32 13 April 2018 | UPDATED: 07:46 13 April 2018

Housing campaigners want the old Holloway Prison visitor centre, right, to provide shelter for rough sleepers. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

Housing campaigners want the old Holloway Prison visitor centre, right, to provide shelter for rough sleepers. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Housing campaigners have accused the Ministry of Justice of “misleading” people about the use of Holloway Prison’s visitor centre.

Since the Parkhurst Road women’s jail shut in summer 2016, campaigners have called for the visitor centre to be used as a homeless shelter.

At a meeting about the future of the prison site last month, Islington North MP and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Ministry (MoJ) had told him the centre was being used for training prison officers.

A Freedom of Information request by campaign group Reclaim Holloway asked for details about this. In its answer, the MoJ said the centre had seen 417 trainees through its doors since October last year.

A subsequent request, however, revealed training only takes place in the upstairs assessment centre. This is separate to the empty visitor centre and has a different entrance.

The visitor centre, the MoJ confirmed, is used by security guards as a base to patrol the prison and watch CCTV. They occupy it 24 hours a day. This is in line with prison policy.

But Maureen Mansfield, from Reclaim Holloway, told the Gazette: “We are not surprised by the answers but feel the MoJ has been deliberately misleading people.

“As a community campaign we find it very strange the MoJ is spending money securing an empty building when people are sleeping in the streets. Lying empty is a travesty. There’s so much it could be used for.

“It also connects to the empty flats at Pentonville Prison. You have to wonder what’s going on.” As previously reported in the Gazette, about 100 MoJ-owned flats at the back of Pentonville are said to have been empty for 25 years.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s housing leader, added of the Holloway row: “It is utterly unacceptable that the visitor’s centre is being so criminally underused. It could be helping provide shelter right now for those people who find themselves sleeping rough.

“The MoJ is letting down local people by trying to hide that the visitor centre is empty. They must now urgently discuss with local organisations how the centre can be used as a shelter.”

The Gazette was unable to reach the MoJ’s prison service press office yesterday.

Related articles

Latest Islington News Stories

07:54

Police want to speak to this man after a customer at a Leicester Square Casino was followed home and robbed of his winnings in Holloway Road.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Some 200 Muslims gathered in central London in a show of defiance against Donald Trump’s visit today.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sainsbury’s has already angered the Highbury community with plans for a second Blackstock Road branch – now the chain wants to open ANOTHER store half a mile away.

Friday, July 13, 2018

In a weekly feature, we profile and champion a fascinating shop or company doing business here in Islington. This week, we visited Gadz Cafe in Finsbury Park, which pays tribute to ‘amazing’ MP Jeremy Corbyn.

Friday, July 13, 2018

A confrontational approach from the Met is the prime reason behind a 65 per cent reduction in moped crime in Camden and Islington according to the police officer leading the crackdown.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn and Finsbury Park Mosque chairman Mohammed Kozbar have supported this afternoon’s London protests against Donald Trump’s visit to the UK.

Friday, July 13, 2018

A teenager has been arrested in Spain on suspicion of Nashon Esbrand’s murder in Canonbury last year.

Friday, July 13, 2018

An acclaimed Islington artist with Multiple Sclerosis has been forced to fight a long-running battle with Tower Hamlets Council to park outside her east London studio.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now