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Jobs Fear As Dorchester Prison Is Set To Close

Dorchester Prison

7:53am 5th September 2013

150 staff at Dorchester's Prison are still waiting to hear if they have a job this morning (Thursday 5th September).

The Justice Minster announced the site was 1 of 4 in the country set to close by March next year to save money on the budget.

A new super prison will be made in North Wales to make up for the cell space lost from the closures.

It's reported around 60 workers from the Dorchester site could transfer to the Verne on Portland. Others hope to find work within the Prison Service elsewhere.

Borough councillor Rachel Rogers spent 10 years working for the prison service and told Wessex FM relocating staff isn't easy:

"Offering transfers to other prisons has a big impact on families especially if you have a partner, children in school and jobs. Clearly there are major domestic implications and their money won't be coming into the local economy so it has a knock on affect".

Even though the government says there will be new jobs at new prisons. Those new prisons are going to be nowhere near here. The plans I've seen for super prisons across the country are nowhere near Dorset, so I think these members of staff are going to be left high and dry".

The set-up at the Verne on Portland is set to change too. The islands prison will transfer its inmates elsewhere and will instead be used to house immigrant detainees awaiting appeal or deportation.

South Dorset's MP told us he's "relieved" the Verne is to stay open despite the closure in Dorchester;

"It's going to have a new lease of life with a new role. New money and new money invested it, staff and prison officers will retain their jobs as I understand it. So instead of a closure we have a future which I think is good news."

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