'Paedo Island' fears raised by residents on Isle of Wight over prison closure plans
11:17am Monday 28th January 2013
Outraged residents have called for a review into closing an Isle of Wight prison, over fears the move council turn the holiday hotspot into “Paedo Island”.
Campaigners have said that shutting down Camp Hill will mean the majority of the prison population on the island will be serving time for sex offences.
Two prisons on the Isle of Wight - Albany and Parkhurst - already house convicted sex offenders, including notorious paedophiles such as Roger Gleaves, who was jailed for raping two 14-year-old boys in 1998.
The island's third jail, Camp Hill, could close in April as part of a cost-cutting drive.
Claims have been made that this will mean any cons who are locked up for non-sex crimes will be transferred to the mainland.
Isle of Wight Council leader David Pugh has said he is concerned about the job losses the closure of Camp Hill will bring.
He said: "The fact is the island has had many sex offender behind bars for many years and obviously from time to time that will change as prison numbers vary.
"As long as the prisons are secure and managed effectively and offenders are sent back to where they have come from it's not really a concern.
"We are concerned about the job losses associated with the closure of the prison and I will be discussing that next week."
Cllr Pugh will be meeting HMP Isle of Wight Prison Governor Andy Lattimore next Wednesday.
A petition calling for a parliamentary debate on the closure of Camp Hill has also been started by a prison worker.
Camp Hill Prison Officers Association branch secretary Ben Cooper is hoping to get 100,000 signatures to force a parliamentary debate on the subject.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the decision is still being reviewed.
She added: “The prison estate must meet the needs of the prison population and provide best value for money for the taxpayer. The whole estate is kept under review to ensure that these objectives are being delivered."