Therese held talks with Prisons Minister, Rory Stewart this week to put over the concerns of residents on the inclusion of sexual offenders at HMP Hollesley Bay. Therese was joined at the meeting by the Chairman & Vice-Chairman of Hollesley Parish Council, Helen Lewis and James Mallinder.
Therese said: "I thank the Minister for listening to the legitimate concerns about sexual offenders being placed in HMP Hollesley Bay, especially given the close proximity to the school and pre-school. It was important to get answers from the Minister and for him to follow up on outstanding questions posed by the councillors on behalf of local residents."
The Minister gave assurances that no-one will be put into open conditions in Hollesley Bay if they possess a threat to the primary school. The parole board makes a judgement and the Ministry of Justice then makes their own judgement before a decision is made. The minister also confirmed that if the proposals do go ahead, sexual offenders will never make up 100% of the prison population at Hollesley Bay. The current rates in the two open prisons already holding sex offenders are at a ratio of 60:40 now and that is considered too high already with more offenders needing to be transferred to open prisons in the near future.
Chairman of Hollesley Parish Council, Helen Lewis said: "We appreciated very much the opportunity to meet with Therese Coffey and Rory Stewart at Parliament. We came away with a clearer understanding of the proposal for Hollesley Bay and were reassured that this is still under consultation. We ask that the concerns of the local community are considered as a priority. Please keep us informed at all times."
Therese added: "It is clearly going to take further action from the Ministry of Justice before residents feel reassured. The Minister has said he will write to us further after he has considered the representations we made at the meeting. While this decision is not yet confirmed, we will keep up the efforts to make sure views of residents are heard and recognised."
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