Social Reform is at the heart of this government’s programme, and nowhere is that more true
than in criminal justice.
We are embarking on a radical reform of our prisons to rehabilitate offenders, cut crime and
enhance public safety. Investment for nine new prisons which will have better facilities for work
and education has already been announced.
Today I can also announce a new beginning for female offenders with women prisoners serving
their sentences in more humane surroundings better designed to keep them out of crime. We will
close the inadequate and antiquated Holloway prison and invest in 21st century solutions to the
problems of criminality.
For women offenders in London, we are now in a position to hold them on remand in the more
modern facilities at HMP Bronzefield. We will also re-open newly refurbished facilities at HMP
Downview as a women’s prison later next year. This will allow sentenced women to be held in an
environment that is more appropriate for many of those currently sent to Holloway. Both provide a
better setting for children visiting their mothers. Both are well located with good transport links to
I am very grateful to the hardworking staff in the prison who have deservedly won praise for their
work. Despite their inspirational efforts, Holloway’s design and physical state do not provide the
best environment for the rehabilitation of women offenders. Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of
Prisons’ last published inspection of Holloway noted that the “size and poor design make it a very
difficult establishment to run”.
I am extremely mindful that Holloway holds many vulnerable women. For that reason, no one will
be moved immediately and we will not close the prison until services similar to those currently
provided for women offenders are in place elsewhere. We expect the prison to close by summer
The closure of Holloway underlines our determination to invest in a high-quality, modern prison
estate with better facilities to help prisoners turn away from crime.