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Staff and inmates settling in well at Jurby prison 26 September 2008

prison sign Jan 08THE transfer of prison services from Victoria Road to Jurby has resulted in immediate benefits for both staff and inmates.

The entire prison population was relocated to the modern facility in the north of the Island as part of a large-scale operation on August 14. Prison officers and inmates have settled quickly into their new surroundings and adapted to the routines and regimes with the minimum of fuss.

Minister for Home Affairs Adrian Earnshaw MHK said:

‘The fact that everything has progressed so well in the weeks following the move is testament to the tireless efforts of the management and staff. The new building offers greater security, a much improved workplace for prison officers and better resources for the rehabilitation of inmates. Jurby prison represents one of the Government’s largest capital projects and is already proving to be a tremendous asset for the Island.’

The new facility has 138 single cells, compared with 92 at Victoria Road, located on five wings which fan out from a central atrium. All the main areas of the prison can be monitored from a control room which has access to 168 cameras.

Jurby Prison A WingExternal security is also of the highest order and the 5.2-metre tall perimeter wall has played a significant part in preventing illegal substances from entering the prison environment. Victoria Road experienced problems with packages being thrown over the walls, but regular sweeps of the grounds at Jurby have revealed an absence of drugs.

Prison Governor Alison Gomme said:

‘A lot of strategic and operational planning has been undertaken to ensure the smooth transition of prison services. Members of staff have shown great professionalism and I have also been encouraged by how well the prisoners have settled in – particularly the young offenders who have been more organised and co-operative since arriving at Jurby. The working environment is a marked improvement on Victoria Road, the cells are more hygienic and prisoners now have more opportunities to make positive changes to their personal circumstances in terms of education and rehabilitation.’

Education within the prison service is run by the Isle of Man College and the additional space and resources available at Jurby have led to the introduction of an extended range of courses for the new academic year.

Isle of Man Prison Governor Alison GommeOne of the main objectives of the prison education department is to improve the literacy and numeracy of inmates in order to boost their job prospects and integration back into the community. This helps to reduce repeat offending and generates potential savings to the Manx taxpayer in terms of the time spent by the police, probation officers, advocates, court officials and prison officers dealing with the effects of crime.

Subjects delivered as part of the current timetable include literacy, numeracy, IT, cookery, art, engineering, carpentry and joinery and GSCE English, maths and business communications. Others under development are plumbing, painting and decorating, cleaning science, business studies and psychology.

The aim is to tailor learning towards the local labour market so that inmates can gain full-time employment on their release from prison and make a worthwhile contribution to society. All prisoners go through an induction process within a week of arriving at Jurby.

They sit assessments in literacy and numeracy, complete an education contract and take a dyslexia screen. They are then interviewed on a one-to-one basis to review their educational background and encouraged to take a mix of subjects that will prove most beneficial for their future employment prospects.

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