Is this Britain’s BEST prison? Mixed jail where there’s a guard to every inmate and criminals can grow their own veg and DATE each other boasts one of the lowest reoffending rates in Europe
- New ITV documentary gives an inside glimpse at Jurby prison on the Isle of Man
- The mixed jail is the only one for all types of offenders on self-governing island
- Offers sports centre, games room, veg patch, sweet shop & a guard per inmate
- Inmates even date each other, with the women in one wing and men in another
A new documentary offers a glimpse inside one of Britain’s most ‘progressive’ mixed prisons.
Jurby prison is the only jail on the self-governing Isle of Man, which has a population of 85,000, its own legal system and prison regime, and is perceived to have a harsh sentencing policy.
Prisoners of all levels have single cells and are allowed out of them for up to seven hours a day, housed in six wings which include a women’s wing, an education centre, a sports hall, gardens, a gym, a ‘shop’, and various entertainment areas, as well as a patch where prisoners can grow vegetables.
Inmates are even allowed to date each other, with prisoners Lorraine and Ian ‘Goldie’ Goldsmith both serving their sentences in separate wings, enjoying twice-weekly visits.
The prison has some of the lowest reoffending rates in Europe – purportedly due to its progressive penal policies, and there is a guard to every inmate.
Because of the island’s small population, many of the prisoners and the staff already know each other, and men, women and youths are banged up together.
Jurby prison is the only jail on the self-governing Isle of Man, which has a population of 85,000, its own legal system and prison regime, and is perceived to have a harsh sentencing policy. However prisoners can enjoy a wide range of amenities on offer to them
With one guard to every prisoner, they appear to have friendly, relaxed relationships, and appear to get on well. Pictured: Wing Officer Tony Jones aka ‘Jonesy’ playing the guitar
In episode one, Andrew Fielding is on his fourth visit to the prison in Jurby.
Like all new arrivals, he will spend up to three days on the induction wing to acclimatise.
Prison officer Maggie explains his case, and reflects how the Isle of Man could be perceived as tough on crime.
She says: ‘He’s been accused of hitting his elderly mother with a rolled up Hello magazine, so yeah the Isle of Man is generally harder on all crime.’
The prison’s head of security Margo adds: ‘The world’s gone soft, it’s all nicey nicey.
‘They come in here bag of bones and they’ll go out fit as a fiddle, built back up.
Inmates are even allowed to date each other, with prisoners Lorraine, left, and Ian ‘Goldie’ Goldsmith, right, both serving their sentences in separate wings, enjoying twice-weekly visits
‘They’ve got no worries about bills, don’t have to worry about the kids, they haven’t got to worry about the wife, they play pool, they play darts, they smoke, they buy loads of sweets.’
Inmates are seen playing pool, darts, video games, working out in the gym and ordering sweets from the tuck shop, as they joke with the prison guards, even rubbing one on the head while he searches them.
With one guard to every prisoner, they appear to have friendly, relaxed relationships, and seem to get on well.
And inmate Lorraine is not the only member of her family inside – her brother and her partner Ian ‘Goldie’ Goldsmith are also serving time at the jail.
Lorraine and Goldie have regular visits – and he describes them as the Bonnie and Clyde of the prison.
The prison’s head of security Margo says: ‘The world’s gone soft, it’s all nicey nicey. ‘They come in here bag of bones and they’ll go out fit as a fiddle built back up.’
Inmates Dieter and Ross Jnr are pictured. Some prisoners have been sentenced for crimes as minor ‘robbing four pork pies and two rice crispy bars’
Prison officer Steph describes the unusual situation come visiting time. She says: ‘Obviously they are both in prison and they don’t get much physical contact with each other, so when the opportunity is there [to get physical] they’ll try and get away with it.
‘They have quite a volatile relationship so if they have a lovers’ tiff on a visit one of them will storm out. It’s tough to maintain a relationship, any issues that crop up are probably more intense than they would be in real life.’
Lorraine is seen doing her make-up ahead of the visit, while from his wing Goldie explains: ‘Twice a week I see Lorraine, you want to have alone time if you know what I mean.’
The pair are allowed an embrace when they first walk in and hold hands, but no excessive physical contact is allowed.
George ‘Stores’ The Stores Officer keeps on top of the ever changing trends, with prisoners demanding Haribo one week, and going crazy for Snickers the next
Wing Officer Armando Armelii
But sure enough, officers have to break it up before visiting time is over.
Lorraine claims Goldie said some inappropriate things to her that she didn’t agree with, and the pair had an argument before she stormed off.
‘Who doesn’t argue? Yeah, of course you do. It’s a love hate relationship’, Lorraine admits.
But Goldie soon says: ‘She’s the love of my life’, and by the next visit the pair have made up.
Speaking about the future, Lorraine says: ‘What I want to happen is me and Goldie have our own little house and be happy, and work and that and come home every night and go to gym.
‘I’m coming up to nearly 40 and I think here’s a time in your life you’ve got to say that’s enough I’m sick of being in jail’.
The Best Little Prison In Britain? is on Wednesdays at 8pm on ITV.
Prisoners of all levels have single cells and are allowed out of them for up to seven hours a day, housed in six wings which include a women’s wing, an education centre, a sports hall, gardens, a gym, a ‘shop’, and various entertainment areas, as well as a patch where prisoners can grow vegetables
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