HMP Highdown visit

Visited HMP Highdown on 21 February 2022 with the High Sheriff of Surrey, Julie Llewelyn. Although in Surrey, Highdown is regarded as a London prison by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. It was great therefore to join forces with Julie and to meet the Governor, Amy Frost and have a tour of the prison. It was also a great opportunity to meet staff and prisoners and learn about how the prison has coped with the various challenges of the last couple of years.

The prison is moving to become a category C prison focussing on resettlement and equipping prisoners for life after prison. The prison has an excellent education block and an emphasis on skills training and providing work on site in areas such as decorating, plumbing and rail construction. Formal qualifications can be obtained. All boosting chances of employment on release and helping rebuild lives.

The statistics show that without employment or housing successful rehabilitation is far less likely. In responses to the question could employers and prison Governors benefit from discussions leading to working together to help provide routes into employment, the Governor felt that help with this could be beneficial for all.

We visited a new wing designed to help men in the prison with drug addiction issues to detox and become clean. The aim is also to have an environment on the wing in which the opportunity to take more control is possible. Day one when we visited, but staff were positive about this new development and greater freedoms of assembly appreciated by the prisoners on the wing.