HM Prison Downview
|Security class||Adult Female/Closed|
|Population||358 (as of January 2006)|
|Managed by||HM Prison Services|
|Website||Downview at justice.gov.uk|
HM Prison Downview is a women's closed category prison. Downview is located on the outskirts of Banstead in Surrey, England (overlooking Banstead Downs), and is immediately adjacent to the southern boundary of Belmont in Greater London. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service, and is situated in proximity to High Down Prison for men.
Downview was converted from a former nurses' home of Banstead Hospital and opened in 1989 as a Category C Male Prison.
In 1992 HMP Downview saw the establishment of the UK's first intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme. The programme was established by RAPt (Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) and was opened by the actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, who remains a patron of the trust.
In September 2001 Downview changed its role to a "closed" prison for adult women, due to increased demand for places at women's prisons in the UK. A year later one of the prison's chaplains resigned after claims that he'd demanded sexual favours from inmates in exchange for communion wine.
In April 2006 the PRIME project was launched at Downview, which is now known as The Media House. It is a media educational and broadcast facility inside the prison. The project,managed by Maria Esposito from 2007 - 2013, became a multi award winning project achieving the prestigious Butler Trust Award for Maria Esposito in 2010/11. Prisoners can achieve a BTEC qualification for completing the 16 week course.
The prison today
Downview Prison holds adult Sentenced Female prisoners and convicted and remanded female juveniles. The prison holds approximately 50% foreign nationals, many of whom are of Jamaican and Nigerian. Downview is divided into 4 Wings, A,B,C,D (D wing is a resettlement Wing), and the Juvenile Unit. All wings have single cell accommodation with in-cell electricity.
The prison offers vocational training courses and NVQs for inmates. The resettlement wing provides opportunities for inmates to work and receive education outside the prison.
On 4 September 2013, the Ministry of Justice announced that it intends to convert Downview into a prison for adult males. It closed as a women's prison and was being prepared for this conversion, but in 2016 it reopened as a women's prison when HM Prison Holloway was closed, taking many of its prisoners.
Notable former inmates
- "UK | Sharp rise in women prisoners". BBC News. 2001-11-26. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
- Danny Shaw. "BBC News - Prisons to close in England as super-prison site revealed". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-05.