A COFFEE shop to be built outside the precincts of La Moye Prison will provide employment opportunities for low-risk inmates nearing release, the governor, Susie Richardson, has said.
The new facility – for which a planning application has yet to be submitted although funding exists in the Government Plan – will constitute the latest stage in a phased modernisation to create ‘a new state-of-the-art prison’, Ms Richardson explained.
‘Prisoners would be out on day release effectively,’ she said. ‘The coffee shop has lots of purposes. It’s a bit of a shop window to remind the Island what we do, it’s an opportunity for prisoners to give back, it’s an opportunity for income generation, it should be quite an attractive place for tourists – we’re on the coastal path – but, most importantly, it should be a place where employers want to come and see potential employees and observe them working.’
The prison governor was speaking in the week in which former chief inspector of prisons Dame Anne Owers – the author of a highly critical 2005 report on the prison – returned to the Island to act as a special guest at the renaming of the prison’s four wings.
Ms Richardson said that Dame Anne was ‘relieved’ to find that the prison had changed significantly since her previous visit when prisoners had to use buckets to ‘slop out’ instead of toilets.
Commenting on some of the changes implemented at La Moye since she took up her post in 2021, Ms Richardson said: ‘There was a lot that was good about the prison which it’s important to hold on to. It’s a safe, decent, secure prison and it was when I got here. I don’t take the credit for that but it was a very risk-averse place and lots of things were very out of date, particularly the lack of multi-disciplinary working as it’s been such an isolated place. The culture around getting different professionals around the table to work with a prisoner to get different outcomes wasn’t there. It was very punishment-based as opposed to properly rehabilitative.’
She explained that the purpose of La Moye was not just to manage prisoners during their time in custody.
‘It’s about how we prepare them to be good neighbours on release, which is particularly important in Jersey where we live in close proximity to each other, and where the majority of our prisoners are released here in the Island,’ she said.