Holloway Prison closure: Jeremy Corbyn worried about family visits

Holloway Prison. Picture: Rebecca Naden/PA

Holloway Prison. Picture: Rebecca Naden/PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Jeremy Corbyn has raised concerns about the closure of Holloway Prison.

The women’s jail, in Parkhurst Road, is to close next summer. Inmates will be transferred to HMP Bronzefield and HMP Downview, both in Surrey.

But in a letter to Andrew Selous, parliamentary secretary of state for justice, Islington North MP and Labour leader Mr Corbyn said: “Both the alternative facilities that you identify are south of London and not easy to access by friends and families, especially those with children.

“Bronzefield is a train journey to Ashford, then a long walk or taxi ride. Downview is a train to Sutton and then a bus ride.

“It would be helpful to know whether consideration was given to building a new, modern, conveniently located prison on the existing site - and what the reasons were for not doing this.”

Housing concerns

In his speech announcing the closure of Holloway Prison, chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne appeared to suggest the site would be used for housing.

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But with rent and house prices notoriously high in Islington, the council’s housing leader said it is “absolutely essential” that any development provides a suitable number of affordable units.

Mr Osborne told the House of Commons last Wednesday: “By selling these old prisons, we will create more space for housing in our inner cities - for another of the great social failures of our age has been the failure to build enough houses.”

Cllr James Murray, executive member for housing and development, said: “We have a number of concerns over the plans to close prisons in Islington.

“If these plans go ahead, then it is absolutely essential that any housing built on the sites must include a decent level of affordable homes for local people.”

Cllr Murray’s call comes amid uncertainty over the future of Islington’s other prison, HMP Pentonville.

Justice secretary Michael Gove has previously hinted the Caledonian Road jail could shut, labelling it “the most dramatic example of failure within the prison estate”.