Hereford & Worcester

The Grange 'open' prison to shut after being called 'squalid'

Hewell Grange Image copyright Redditch Advertiser
Image caption Hewell Grange is situated within a 19th Century Grade II-listed country house

An "open" prison described as "squalid, demeaning and depressing" by inspectors is being closed down.

About 200 prisoners at the Grange, which is on the site of HMP Hewell, Worcestershire, are to be moved out.

Last month, the chief inspector of prisons said the Grange had the worst conditions of any open - or Category D - prison he had ever seen.

The Prison Service said refurbishing the prison would "not deliver value for the taxpayer".

It said it expected the open jail - in a 19th Century Grade II-listed country house - to close by March 2020.

Prisoners who will not be released before the site is closed will be relocated to other prisons.

'Totally unacceptable'

It added it expected the change to be managed without the need for compulsory redundancies.

In the report of the inspection, released in September, Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons at HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), said the Grange was "totally unacceptable" and described it as "squalid, demeaning and depressing."

He said 70% of inmates claimed drugs were easy to obtain, with a quarter of inmates developing drug habits.

The unannounced inspection in June follows a previous visit in 2016 which revealed "far too high" levels of violence.

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A Prison Service spokesman said: "We have taken the decision to close the open accommodation at HMP Hewell as its current condition is unacceptable and refurbishing it would not deliver value for the taxpayer.

"This government is spending £2.5bn to transform the estate - providing 10,000 additional prison places and creating modern, efficient jails that rehabilitate offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe."

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