On July 13th the Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP, announced the results of a prisons capacity review and competitions strategy.
Aspire has long been involved in supporting the Chaplaincy of HMP Hewell and although Hewell wasn’t selected to be competed, one of its houseblocks is set to close.
Rather confusingly, the statement referred to Houseblock 7 by its old name ‘ HMP Brockhill’ used when it was a stand-alone prison, before the merger three years ago.
Houseblock 7 / Brockhill has been used for a number of types of prisoners over the years. When Aspire first began visiting Brockhill it was a male prison with a female wing. It became a fully female, all-age prison then later separated its female prisoners into adult and young people.
In preparation for the merger with the other prisons on the same site, it was rerolled back to male prisoners and first clustered with neighbouring Hewell Grange before these two joined with Blakenhurst to form HMP Hewell.
As well as helping with Sunday Chapel services, Aspire ran an Alpha course at Brockhill for many years and there are a host of memories associated with the place. More recently an evening guitar group has been running and there were plans for Aspire volunteers to contribute in other ways alongside Alpha and the Guitar Group. Some of these activities will now move to other houseblocks at HMP Hewell.
You can read more about this on the BBC News site here as well as the official MoJ announcement here.