Inmate numbers to rise at Suffolk prison

NUMBERS at a prison near Haverhill are expected to break the 1,000 mark with an extra 120 spaces being made available for male prisoners by the autumn.

NUMBERS at a prison near Haverhill are expected to break the 1,000 mark with an extra 120 spaces being made available for male prisoners by the autumn.

Plans to accommodate an extra 40 inmates at Highpoint Prison come just one month after an application for a unit to house 80 prisoners was put forward.

Despite fears over staff shortages, a prison service spokesman said both units at Highpoint South were expected to be in place by the autumn.

He added: “We have planned an expansion of the facilities at Highpoint to meet with the demand for more spaces.


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“The units will be safe and secure under normal prison regulations but they can be put up very quickly.”

Though the prison is in Stradishall, the precise location of the expansion falls in the parish of neighbouring Hundon.

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Parish council clerk Joyce Hoare said she would prefer not to comment until the council had discussed the plans at their meeting next Tuesday.

Though receiving the planning application for a 40-place ready to use unit, a spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said the council could not actually comment on the plans.

She said: “The Home Office have to notify the borough council under what is called a 14-day emergency procedure but we don't have time to express an opinion.”

A report into standards at the prison in February looked more favourably on the men's section with levels of violence and drugs abuse at an all time low.

This was not the case for Highpoint North, the women's prison, which the report claimed had fundamental problems.

Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers, highlighted clear deficiencies including inadequate and some unsafe buildings, significant staff shortages and a general uncertainty about the prison's future.

Despite over four million being spent on improving Highpoint North in recent years, staff shortages were identified as one reason why female inmates were at risk of being bullied or attacked.

Plans are now underway to revamp the older blocks and install CCTV cameras to deter bad behaviour.

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