Immigration centre planned

HMP The Verne on Portland will close and be converted into an immigration removal centre.

Full report: Changes to West Country prisons

It's been confirmed that Dorchester Prison is to close and discussions are underway to end the lease at Dartmoor Prison.

Elsewhere, Portland's Verne Prison will be turned into an immigration detention centre.

The former Victorian military barracks, transformed into a jail more than 60 years ago, will become a Home Office immigration unit housing people waiting to be removed from the UK.

Duncan Sleightholme reports:

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Response from Prisons Minister:

This decision was not taken lightly and is in no way a reflection of the hard work and commitment of staff, nor of the prison’s performance.

However, we cannot shy away from the fact that funds are limited and we need to make sure we are meeting the needs of the prison population, as well as wider Government needs, in the most efficient way so as to maximise value for the taxpayer.

We will do all we can to offer support and ensure the prison continues to operate safely and securely in the run-up to the change in role.”

– Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright.

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