A new lease to keep HMP Dartmoor open “beyond 2023 and for the foreseeable future” is due to be signed in 2022.
The landmark was due to close in 2023 but talks are now in the mix to keep the prison open from 2023 and for the foreseeable future.
The prison was originally built back in 1806 to hold French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars.
Now it is classed as a Category C Prison for prisoners who are not expected to make a determined escape attempt – and currently holds 640 prisoners.
Watchdog has also released a statement that the prison needs investment before closure.
An independent prison watchdog has said that the Government should ensure that HMP Dartmoor receives “the resources necessary to ensure that the prison is a safe and humane place” ahead of its plans.
There has also been speculation that pressure on prison places would make it difficult for the government to close the 200-year-old Category C prison, which has a population of up to 640 men.
“HMP Dartmoor’s closure was announced in 2013 and it was our plan to close the prison in 2023, having given the required 10 years’ notice.
HM Prison and Probation Service made a statement saying “However, HMPPS is currently engaging with the Duchy of Cornwall about possible options for Dartmoor, and we expect to be in a position to advise on Dartmoor’s future in the summer.”
Torridge and West Devon MP Sir Geoffrey Cox revealed that the closure decision had been reversed in a post on Twitter.
He said: “After a long campaign I understand that Dartmoor prison will remain open and not close in 2023.
“Vindication for staff and all who do great work and volunteer there.
“Well done to John Mumford who never gave up hope and kept making the case for Dartmoor which I was proud to help.”
A Prison Service spokesperson said on December 22nd “An initial agreement has been reached with the Duchy of Cornwall to keep HMP Dartmoor open beyond 2023 – protecting jobs and 640 prison places that keep the public safe.”