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Strangeways Prison

Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of Strangeways prison, Manchester.

[pursuant to the reply, 8 May 1990, c. 28]: After reviewing a range of options, my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary has concluded that the redevelopment of Her Majesty's prison Manchester should be based on a major refurbishment of the inmate accommodation—including the installation of integral sanitation—and the provision of a range of new and improved supporting facilities. This approach offers, we believe, the best prospect of bringing the accommodation at Her Majesty's prison Mancheser back into use as quickly as possible, so as to end the use of police cells and ease pressures on other parts of the prison system in the north, while at the same time seizing this opportunity to make much-needed improvements in conditions and facilities at Manchester.About 970 places should be available within three years. Of these, over 300 places—in the remand wings—should all be available after about a year. The need for remand places in the north-west is, however, so great that the main part of the remand centre—K wing, the least damaged of the wings—will be repaired and brought back into use within 4 or 5 months, albeit without installing integral sanitation at this stage. It will be used with the places in the undamaged hospital to provide accommodation for up to 200 inmates who would otherwise be in police cells. Additional security will be provided, as will opportunities for education, religion, and physical education.The programme of work is estimated in all to cost over £60 million at outturn prices. It will be undertaken to stringent timings and management contracting will be used to assist in this.Discussions will now commence with all the interested parties including the board of visitors, Her Majesty's prison Manchester and the trade unions on the detailed arrangements to be made within the framework which I have set out, including their operational consequences and arrangements for dealing with commitments to courts in the Manchester area.Other measures will, however, be needed at other establishments in the north, and we shall be discussing these with boards of visitors and trade unions at the establishments concerned.