Lib Dem Justice Minister and Mark Hunter MP visit HMP Styal and Stockport Women’s Centre

August 19, 2014 5:15 PM

Simon Hughes MP, Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties, and local MP Mark Hunter today visited Styal prison, before meeting with Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd and Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy, and then going on to visit Stockport Women's Centre in the afternoon.

HMP Styal, Cheshire, opened as a women's prison in 1962, and today houses female prisoners, Young Offenders and sentenced prisoners. The prison offers a number of activities that address offender behaviour and help the women to be equipped to deal with life after they complete their sentence. Drug and alcohol intervention alongside vocational training are key aspects of life at Styal.

HMP Styal Simon Hughes Tony Lloyd

From left, Simon Hughes MP, Mark Hunter MP and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd listen to inmates at HMP Styal

Mark and the Minister met with the Assistant Prison Governor Natalie McKee and prison officers, as well as having discussions with prisoners regarding employment on release and their experience of being in Styal.

Following the visit to the Prison, Mark and the Minister visited Stockport Women's Centre at the invitation of John Brimley, Head of Operations Cheshire and Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company and Barbara Swann OBE, the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Stockport Women's Centre provides services to any women that lives or works in the Stockport area who is in need of support, including those that have suffered from or are experiencing domestic violence. As well as counselling, therapy and self-help groups, the Centre offers legal advice and courses in numeracy and literacy.

After an overview of what the Centre has accomplished since 2001 and its plans for the future, Mark and the Minister met with staff and some of the women at the Centre to talk about how the service has helped them.

Commenting after the visits, Mark said:

'I am grateful to both HMP Styal and Stockport Women's Centre for taking the time to meet with Simon and I today.

'I was pleased to see that Styal Prison is taking the future of the women there very seriously, offering substantial support to help them prepare for when they re-enter society.

'The Stockport Women's Centre is long-standing and invaluable support to vulnerable women in Greater Manchester. Many of the users of the Centre have been through horrendous ordeals and have found help and understanding at their time of need. The Centre and its employees deserve our community's sincere thanks.'

Simon Hughes MP added:

'It was a useful experience visiting HMP Styal and Stockport Women's Centre today, and I appreciate all those involved for helping to make the meetings possible, including my Liberal Democrat colleague and friend Mark Hunter. Of particular note was the fantastic work being done by those at the Stockport Women's Centre for vulnerable local women.'

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