09/11/2015

Nine New Prisons To Be Built

Chancellor George Osborne and Justice Secretary Michael Gove have announced a major new prison reform programme for the UK.

The plans involve the construction of nine new prisons.

In a statement from the Treasury, the reforms will ensure Britain's prison system is "fit for purpose in the 21st Century", while the new prisons will allow the UK Government to close old Victorian prisons and sell the sites for housing.

As a result, this would pave the way for more than 3,000 new homes to be constructed thereby increasing house building in urban areas. It is understood the Victorian prison site at Reading will be the first to be sold. The other sites being sold have not been revealed.

Five of the new prisons are expected to be open before the end of this parliament, with some 10,000 inmates moving to the new institutions in the hope of saving around £80m a year.

The Treasury also confirmed that the government will complete the new prison being built at Wrexham, as well as expand existing prisons in Stocken and Rye Hill.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "This spending review is about reform as much as it is about making savings. One important step will be to modernise the prison estate. So many of our jails are relics from Victorian times on prime real estate in our inner cities.

"So we are going to reform the infrastructure of our prison system, building new institutions which are modern, suitable and rehabilitative. And we will close old, outdated prisons in city centres, and sell the sites to build thousands of much-needed new homes.

"This will save money, reform an outdated public service and create opportunity by boosting construction jobs and offering more people homes to buy."

Justice Secretary Michael Gove added: "This investment will mean we can replace ageing and ineffective Victorian prisons with new facilities fit for the modern world. We will be able to design out the dark corners which too often facilitate violence and drug-taking.

"And we will be able to build a prison estate which allows prisoners to be rehabilitated, so they turn away from crime. It is only through better rehabilitation that we will reduce reoffending, cut crime and make our streets safer."

Currently, half of criminals re-offend within one year of being released, and almost half of all prisoners go into prison without any qualifications.

(JP)

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