Officers face "postcode lottery" for jobs when Gloucester prison closes
Shocked prison workers who only learned of Gloucester jail's fate on Thursday morning face a "postcode lottery" in finding a new post, says a union leader.
Prison Officers Association national executive council representative for the south west, John Hancock, said they were expecting a ministerial announcement the day before but had no inkling of HMP Gloucester's imminent demise.
"We think it can be done without compulsory redundancies but getting jobs elsewhere will be a postcode lottery," he said. "The nearest prisons are open prisons which don't need as many staff, so the next ones you would be looking at are Usk, Prescoed, Cardiff, Bristol, and Long Lartin. It's not going to be easy for staff to move."
The POA represents 98% of the 146 officers at the prison, which has 200 staff and 320 inmates, and members attended a meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss the next steps.
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He also said it will be a challenge finding places for inmates elsewhere in a prison system with very little slack.
The MoJ, which announced the closure of Gloucester prison by the end of March this year, said it will do all it can to avoid compulsory redundancies but could not rule them out.