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Secrecy surrounds Prison Governor status

Secrecy surrounds Prison Governor status

Tuesday 30 June 2020

Secrecy surrounds Prison Governor status


Secrecy surrounds the current status of Jersey’s Prison Governor, with the Chief Minister and Home Affairs Minister refusing to confirm whether he is currently working.

Rumours began circulating among States Members and on social media late last week that Nick Cameron, who took on the post in 2018, was no longer in the leading role.

Express understands that an HR investigation is underway, but government officials have refused to confirm any circumstances surrounding Mr Cameron’s working status.

Following a request for comment last week, a spokesperson said: “The Prison Governor has not been asked to leave his post. Government will not comment further on internal matters, or those concerning our employees, and there will be no further statements.”

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Pictured: Mr Cameron was appointed to the prison's most senior role in 2018.

When Express asked whether he had resigned, the spokesperson declined to answer, simply stating: “Mr Cameron is still in post.”

Asked again, the spokesperson added: “Sorry but there’s no more to say, other than that the prison governor has not been asked to leave, and is still in post.”

Attempting to shed light on the matter during this morning’s States Assembly meeting, senior Scrutineer Deputy Kirsten Morel questioned the Chief Minister and Home Affairs Minister as to Mr Cameron’s current status. 

“Will the Chief Minister advise the Assembly as to the current status of the Prison Governor? Is he in post? Is he currently working? Is he suspended?” Deputy Morel asked.

Senator John Le Fondré replied: “As the Deputy should be aware, we don’t comment on personnel matters whilst any process is being undergone and that’s the position and that’s been the public position.” 

Deputy Morel then alluded to a meeting between himself and the Chief Minister on Monday, asking Senator Le Fondré to publicly confirm that he had already told him the Prisoner Governor “is not currently working”. 

However, the Chief Minister warned: “…The deputy should be aware that any potential conversations that we take– that take place at the SLC [Scrutiny Liaison Committee] are meant to be confidential.”

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Pictured: Deputy Morel asked the Chief Minister if he would confirm he had previously told him the Prison Governor was not working.

He continued: “On that basis, I make the same comment I made yesterday and that’s, ‘We don’t comment on personnel matters.’”

Home Affairs Minister Constable Len Norman gave a similar reply when Deputy Morel asked who currently holds the post.

Deputy Inna Gardiner also queried the Home Affairs Minister on the issue, asking him to confirm or deny that the Justice and Home Affairs Director General, Julian Blazeby, had refused a request from Mr Cameron to put HMP La Moye into full lockdown.

In response, Constable Norman "absolutely" denied that was the case, and said that the Director General supported Mr Cameron.

Mr Cameron was appointed to take over from Bill Millar MBE as the Prison Governor in August 2018. 

He brought with him more than 20 years’ experience in governing prisons and leading other offender management services in Scotland, England, New Zealand and Australia. He was previously a Governor of two prisons in Scotland. In Western Australia, he governed Australia’s largest prison with 1,470 offenders.

He has also led Probation and Criminal Justice Healthcare services and his most recent role before moving to Jersey was deputy director of Justice and Immigration at Serco Group. 

Before joining the Scottish Prison Service in 1994 as an Assistant Governor, Mr Cameron was a Captain in 29 Commando Regiment and served in the first Gulf War. 

In recent months, Mr Cameron has overseen the prison’s covid-19 precautions, which involved ceasing all visits to the prison, changing the prison regime, holding court hearings via video link and isolating prisoners or staff that were vulnerable due to underlying health conditions.

In late April, it was announced that “low-risk” prisoners – excluding sex offenders – may be released early on licence to reduce the prison population in the event of a covid-19 outbreak.

In response to a written question from Deputy Mike Higgins, the Home Affairs Minister confirmed that no prisoners have been released early from HMP La Moye to deal with the pandemic.

“The States of Jersey Prison Service’s plan for dealing with covid-19 has been effective and has meant that Covid-19 has not entered the prison. Therefore no one has needed to be released to help manage accommodation and/or protect medically vulnerable prisoners,” Constable Norman confirmed.

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