HMP Shrewsbury prisoners transferred ahead of closure

Prison van leaves HMP Shrewsbury for last time
Image caption A prison van left HMP Shrewsbury with inmates for the last time on Wednesday

The last inmates have left Shrewsbury's prison ahead of its closure next month.

HMP Shrewsbury, also known as The Dana, is one of seven prisons that are due to close after an announcement by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in January.

Staff gathered at its doors at about 11:00 GMT as governor Gerry Hendry opened the gates to allow the remaining five prisoners to be transferred.

Patrick Jackson, from Preston, was the last inmate to leave. He was given a certificate to mark the event.

The vice-chairman of the prison's independent monitoring board, Howard Horseley, said it was a sad day, with some staff facing an uncertain future.

About 190 prison staff work at the category C prison.

Mr Horseley said there was still an enormous amount of work to be done before the prison was officially closed next month.

'End of an era'

He said the education department, library and other services would be decommissioned, with some facilities including the kitchens and the gym being sent to be used at other prisons.

Governor Mr Hendry said it was "the end of an era", but hoped people in the town would find a way of remembering the prison's history and traditions.

"We've served the general public well and we go out with our heads held high," he said.

"The one thing I did not want to be is the last serving governor of Shrewsbury prison, but that is what history will record."

The MoJ said the national closure programme would save £63m a year in running costs.

It said a 2,000-capacity super prison would be built to replace those closing, along with four smaller ones, each holding about 400 inmates.

HMP Shrewsbury was built in 1877 and is now a Grade II listed building.

It was originally designed to hold 170 inmates, but more recently officially had capacity for 340 prisoners.

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