Plans to halve staff numbers at the Ashfield prison facility in Pucklechurch will come as a ‘hammer blow’ to the local community, according to the village’s campaigning councillors.
Serco Group plc – the contractors who manage and operate the facility – have announced 194 job losses as part of wider plans spearheaded by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), part of the Ministry of Justice, to convert the young offenders institution to an adult male category C sex offenders prison.
Local councillors have been told that the number of staff required to work with adult category C prisoners compared to young people is significantly less as the new adult population does not require the same high levels of supervision or teaching.
Serco’s announcement comes following the conclusion of contractual negotiations with NOMS that will see the prison change take effect from 1st July.
All young people previously at Ashfield have now left the facility and 60 sex offenders a week are expected to arrive at the prison, which will see its full 400 capacity reached by the end of August.
Local Conservative Boyd Valley councillors Ben Stokes and Steve Reade have been leading the campaign against the plans on behalf of local people – they invited prison chiefs to a public meeting, carried out a survey of village residents, triggered an emergency vote on the plans at South Gloucestershire Council and have called for a local community liaison group to be formed.
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council