I am disappointed and dismayed with the Justice Secretary’s decision to close HMP Dorchester. Only six weeks ago, we welcomed the decision to designate HMP Dorchester as a resettlement prison for the county’s offenders. It would have allowed us to support the rehabilitation of offenders back into the local community and to reduce incidents of reoffending.
I am concerned that this decision will have a negative impact on the county’s ability to proactively work with partners to rehabilitate offenders. It will also impact on future opportunities in restorative justice which provides insight to offenders on the impact of their crime whilst giving control back to victims.
I will be writing to the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to express my dismay at his decision and will be lobbying the government for clarity around future resettlement arrangements for Dorset in light of this decision."
The Ministry of Justice said work to close HMP Dorchester will begin immediately and it is expected to shut close at the end of the year.
Everything will be done to avoid compulsory redundancies and our intention is for all staff to be redeployed to alternative roles in the prison estate or, if necessary, offered the opportunity to leave on voluntary terms.
Offenders housed at Dorchester will be moved to other suitable prison accommodation.