September 30th 12.20pm
Security was extremely tight at the prison, as was expected. Everybody attending the opening was searched and checked. Photographs, or indeed cameras and other electronic devises, were not allowed, so we only have a couple of pictures taken outside, before going in. There was a short reception and coffee before all were escorted to wing’s E&F for speeches and thanks. Peter Atherton, former Deputy Director General of The Prison Service and a previous Governor of Long Lartin, spoke interestingly of his career and then pulled a cord to unveil the brass plaque, detailing the opening. We were then taken on a tour of the wings and introduced to some of the prisoners, who were very keen to show us their cells and talk candidly about the prison. This was followed by a finger buffet lunch, in the chapel. Those prisoners who we had been on the wing with us also came to lunch. Quote of the day, from one of them “that’s Stilton, cor, I aint ad stilton for 8 years”! Kind of brings the loss of liberty home.
I have been to Long Lartin Prison before and while the surroundings are pleasant enough, it is not a place anyone would choose to go. I have a personal view that visits to prison should be part of the national curriculum. I am sure if you showed young people where they could end up if they did wrong, it would make them think twice about offending in the first place.
An interesting day but I was very glad when the visit ended and we could go home. Unlike over 600 others, who call Long Latin home!