Mendip Council vows to help jobless Shepton Mallet prison staff
By abbie_wells | Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 13:45
Following news that Shepton Mallet prison will be closed down, Mendip District Council has pledged to help prison staff find employment.
Shepton Mallet Prison, the oldest jail in the country, is set to close down paving the way for more cost effective "super prisons"
The prison is a big employer in Mendip and everyone working at the jail will lose their job when it is shut down.
Councillor John Parham, The Council's Governance, Assets and Public Spaces Chief, said: "This is a very sad day for the town and I feel so sorry for those prison staff who today found out that they could be made redundant.
"The prison has played a major part in the history of Shepton Mallet since 1625 and has been an important employer in the town. Not only does it employ a number of staff itself, but it also brings in services from the local area, such as plumbers and electricians.
"The council will be doing all it can to support those who are facing redundancy as a result of this closure.
He added: "We will be meeting with the prison Governor and will be working with the Ministry of Justice and the prison officers' union to make sure those affected know where to go for support and advice."
Coucnillor Parham describes the announcement of closure (on January 10, 2012) as a "shock", despite it being "under threat of closure for some time:
"The council hadn't received any prior notification that this decision had been made.
He continued: "The first priority needs to be supporting the staff at the prison and doing all we can to help them find work. After this, we need to think about what can be done with the site. The prison is a Grade II* listed building and is likely to be a challenging site to develop."