The justice secretary has revealed plans to create 4,000 prison places at 16 sites in a bid to deliver on the government’s promise to increase capacity by the middle of the decade.
Dominic Raab’s plans, which are subject to planning permission being granted, will involve building new wings and refurbishing old prison space.
The government wants to create 20,000 prison places by 2025.
Which sites will see extra capacity created?
HMPs Norwich, Birmingham, Liverpool, Haverigg and HMP/YOIs Feltham, Aylesbury and Swinfen Hall are earmarked for refurbishment, the Ministry of Justice said.
The prisons set to receive extra blocks are HMPs Bullingdon, Channings Wood, Elmley, Highpoint, Hindley, Wayland, Guys Marsh, High Down – through the addition of a workshop – and Stocken.
“Our prison-building programme will deliver an extra 20,000 prison places by the mid-2020s to punish offenders, deter crime and protect the public,” Mr Raab said.
“We are also overhauling the prison regime, using prison design, in cell technology, abstinence-based drug rehabilitation and work to drive down reoffending.”
Government accused of ‘trying to sound tough’
The plans have been criticised by the Liberal Democrats, however, with the party’s home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael describing them as the “cost of the Conservatives’ failure on crime”.
“The UK already has more people in prison than any other country in Western Europe, and now the government is spending an extra £4bn because crime is rising,” he said.
“These new places won’t even do anything to reduce the huge overcrowding in prisons, because of the rising prison population.
“Only by ending overcrowding can we rehabilitate prisoners properly and break the cycle of reoffending.
“Just building more prison cells won’t do anything to make our communities safer.
“Instead of trying to sound tough, ministers should focus on restoring effective community policing where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime.”