First prisoners moved to Downview as Holloway closes

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Holloway prison, the largest women's prison in western Europe, was described as "inadequate and antiquated"

The first prisoners have been moved to HMP Downview on the London/Surrey border in preparation for the closure of Holloway prison.

The biggest women's jail in western Europe is to shut this summer after being branded inadequate.

Downview, on the border of Sutton and Banstead, is to receive 200 women from Holloway, with the rest going to HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) said it would provide more humane surroundings.

Offender rehabilitation

Chancellor George Osborne announced the closure of Holloway in last autumn's spending review.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove said the north London prison's design and physical state did not provide the best environment for the rehabilitation of offenders.

An MOJ spokesman said Downview would offer some of the best facilities in women's prisons, including a resettlement unit providing the opportunity for prisoners to work outside the prison.

Image source, PA

A brief history of Holloway Prison

  • Holloway prison was originally built as a mixed-sex prison in 1852, and in 1902 it became the first female-only local prison in England
  • In the early 20th Century, suffragettes were imprisoned at Holloway. Many of them went on hunger strike and were subjected to force-feeding in prison
  • During World War Two, aristocrat and Hitler supporter Diana Mosley was imprisoned in Holloway after being deemed "a danger to the King's Realm"
  • Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in the UK, was imprisoned in Holloway before her death in 1955
  • Other infamous inmates include Myra Hindley (pictured above) and Rose West
  • Economist Vicky Pryce was detained in Holloway in 2013 for accepting speeding points from Chris Huhne

Correction 22 August 2017: This page has been amended to remove a reference to inspectors describing the prison as inadequate, a comment made by Michael Gove.

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