East Sutton Park women's open prison in Sutton Valence near Maidstone set to close under Ministry of Justice plans
Plans to close a Kent jail have been announced today as part of reforms for female prisoners.
The Ministry of Justice said East Sutton Park open prison, near Maidstone, will no longer be needed as part of the employment programme.
Ministers want to give female offenders more training in a bid to cut the numbers who end up back in prison.
East Sutton Park open prison in Sutton Valence, near Maidstone
East Sutton Park, in Sutton Valence, is a Grade II-listed 15th Century mansion overlooking the Weald and houses about 90 prisoners.
It first opened in 1946 and holds both adult and young offender female inmates.
Last year, inspectors said the prison, which holds around 100 women inmates, produces "unusually good outcomes".
Vicky Pryce served at East Sutton Park after being convicted of perverting the course of justice. Picture: Matthew Power/SWNS.com
However, the MoJ said it is to close East Sutton Park along with Askham Grange in Yorkshire.
It said it would ensure there were enough female prison places by refurbishing Eastwood Park and Foston Hall prisons and modifying buildings at Drake Hall.
The move comes as the department revealed proposals for female prisoners to serve their sentences nearer to home - to maintain family relationships and improve job prospects.
Under reforms announced by Lord McNally, women's jails will become so-called "resettlement prisons" to help re-integrate them into society.
One of East Sutton Park's most high-profile inmates in recent years was Vicky Pryce, the shamed ex-wife of former cabinet minister Chris Huhne.
The 60-year-old economist was jailed in March alongside Huhne for perverting the course of justice after swapping speeding points in 2003.
She was released from East Sutton Park after serving a quarter of her sentence over the speeding points scam.
What do you think? Join the debate below.
Stories you might have missed
- Click here for more Maidstone news
- Click here for more news from across the county