To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to his Written Statement of 29 June 2020, what estimate he has made of the effect on overcrowding in the prison estate of each of the four planned prisons over each of the first five years following opening.
7 July 2020
Four new prisons are to be built across England over the next six years. Together, these four prisons will create around 65% of the 10,000 additional places announced by the Prime Minister in 2019 and will build on the designs we are already progressing with at the new prisons at Wellingborough and Glen Parva as well as on the work we have done to ensure faster, better value and more efficient construction. In response to 65975 and 65982, we currently plan for these prisons to be Category C adult male resettlement prisons.
In response to 65976, the tendering process for the prisons has not yet been finalised so the timescale for that process is not yet available. No decisions have been made as to who will construct or operate these four new prisons. In response to 65977, we are engaging with suppliers on the Crown Commercial Services Construction Framework.
In response to 65979, all the accommodation in these new prisons is planned to be uncrowded. The Prime Minister’s investment and pledge to create 10,000 additional prison places will have a positive impact on lowering the proportion of crowding within the prison estate. However, the extent to which the proportion of prisoners held in crowded accommodation will reduce will be dependent on levels of demand in the system.
In regards to 65981, no prison closures are planned as part of this announcement. The Prime Minister has made clear his focus on tackling crime and prison population projections indicate these additional prison places are required.
We are putting evidence at the heart of the design process. Understanding the needs of the prisoners who will be housed in the new prisons and what we know works to help address their offending behaviour means we are designing prisons and regimes that support governors to deliver the right outcomes for offenders and so make the public safer. In response to 65978, these prisons will incorporate a range of workshops which will enable prisoners to choose between various industries and support them in developing practical skills for work outside prison. central services hubs will bring together education, healthcare, reception, library and multi-faith spaces. Some of which could be utilised by staff and prisoners to hold larger meetings, activities, charities and community events. These services will be scaled to the number of prisoners in each prison and their needs.
Access to modern, robust technology is a vital part of current prison design and operations and will remain so for these four new prisons. In relation to 65980, we are also acutely aware of the importance of in-cell technology in the modern prison estate. We will include robust modern digital infrastructure in the new prisons. Decisions about what technology will be deployed in cells and elsewhere will be taken in due course.