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Ministry in U-turn over plans to house sex offenders at open prison

The Ministry of Justice has reversed a decision to authorise the housing of prisoners convicted of sexual offences at an open prison in Warrington, following a threat of a judicial review challenge by the borough council and after concerns were expressed by a local MP, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire and residents.

The chief executive of Warrington Borough Council, Steve Broomhead, had previously told the Warrington Guardian that the MoJ’s decision-making in relation to HMP Thorn Cross was “totally flawed”.

David Keane, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “I am pleased that the government has listened to the concerns of the local community, including local elected representatives, in regards to the impact this decision would have had on the local area.

“Over the past week, I have spoken to many local residents who expressed deep concern over this decision and I hope they will be satisfied with this outcome and will continue to feel safe in their community.”

Faisal Rashid, MP for Warrington South, also welcomed the MoJ’s decision. He said: “I was deeply concerned by the proposals and on hearing the news about the proposed changes on the first day of parliamentary recess, I immediately wrote to the Minister to express the very real concerns that I and the local community had about the plans.

“The Minister has now made it clear to me he has reversed the decision because of the concerns I raised in my letter about the prison’s proximity to local school, Appleton Thorn Primary.

"This is absolutely the right decision. I am delighted to hear that the Minister has now listened to the concerns raised by myself, local people and all other authorities, and will not be proceeding with the previously proposed population changes at HMP Thorn Cross.”

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