‘Eyes and ears’ of prisons boss awarded MBE

Stephen Knox who has been awarded an MBE.
Stephen Knox who has been awarded an MBE.

A man who spent 13 years of his life as ‘the eyes and ears’ of the prison minister – including work at North Sea Camp – has been rewarded in the New Years honours list.

Stephen Knox, 55, spent a total of 10 years on the Independent Monitoring Board for North Sea Camp (along with HMP Prisons Sudbury and Morton Hall in between).

Now, Mr Knox, of Derbyshire, formerly of Swineshead, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to prisoners. Mr Knox, who retired from the board due to tenure in 2014, said he felt ‘humbled’ by the gong.

He said: “I wasn’t expecting it. It was really nice to see people had appreciated what I’d done over the years and the respect they had for me.”

Describing his role he said: “Basically, we were the eyes and ears of the prison minister to monitor the service that was being provided was being set to a good enough standard and people were treated as indiviuals and not prisoners and with dignity and respect.”

Mr Knox praised North Sea Camp and said he felt the prison had improved year-on-year, particularly in developing its educational projects and facilities such as its catering team and painting, decorating and building courses.

Mr Knox, originally from Manchester, lived in Swineshead for 25 years and previously worked in the building trade.

After an accident forced him into early retirement he decided to look into volunteering and applied for the IMB role.

He now hopes to apply to rejoin the IMB in Hatfield, near to where he lives.