Last week I attended a Court User Meeting at Isleworth CC on behalf of the association, principally to meet with someone from Wormwood Scrubs to address the crisis with legal visits. While there I received information about the prison estate for London and on the closure of Hammersmith MC. I will report on each subject separately.
As to Scrubs I now have a point of contact and have agreed to attend a meeting in the prison. I have sent them our complaints in writing and some ideas for improvements and will report back. This however was overshadowed by the news I was given about the prison estate, report below:
Report from Sarah Poynton of Scrubs, Head of Ops at reception
- The Birmingham booking centre is now a national scheme. Sold to the cheapest supplier. She cannot take any complaints about booking process (promises to send me a point of contact).
- HMPS plan to reform prison estate, establishing 3 remand centres at Wandsworth, Highdown & Belmarsh for whole of London. All other prisons, including Scrubs will no longer be remand prisons.
- Wandsworth will have 20 new VL suites. No plans to improve VL at Scrubs therefore.
- There is a list of prisons that might close and plans to build new ones. Scrubs and the Pentonville on the list to close. At least one will close.
- Not going to have lunchtime VL slots despite prior requests (by Isleworth). Unions refuse.
- Defence are not going to get VL access at Scrubs as things stand (but will receive reps from us – due to under use of existing facilities).
- Offers a meeting with LCCSA to discuss problems and proposals.
- Will put LCCSA in touch with Birmingham booking centre re booking problems.
- HM Prison Service due to merge with National Probation Service, called the HMPPS.