The redevelopment of the former Reading prison should benefit the local community, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has said.
The former prison has been hosting an arts exhibition – Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison – since September, attracting over 50,000 visitors.
Now Artangel, the exhibition organisers, have called for the Grade II-listed prison to remain as an arts centre on a permanent basis.
The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is currently working to put the local community at the heart of redevelopment plans for another former prison, Holloway in North London.
Speaking today, Will McMahon, the Centre's Deputy Director, said:
It is really important that local people have a strong say in how former prison sites might be used to benefit the local community.
In our work developing a community plan for the Holloway prison site, a range of views have emerged. These have included afforable housing, green space, community facilities, and mixed use development.
The Ministry of Justice showed imagination in permitting the use of the former Reading prison, albeit temporarily, for the benefit of the wider community.
The Reading exhibition shows both what can be done with an empty site in the years prior to redevelopment, and what benefits might result if the site were to be developed in the long-term interest of the local community.