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Prison Accommodation

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average total certified normal accommodation was of the prison estate in England and Wales in each year since 1997. (154784)

The following table shows the average in use certified normal accommodation (CNA) of the prison estate in England and Wales for each year since 1997.

In use CNA

1997

56,411

1998

61,439

1999

62,266

2000

63,245

2001

63,780

2002

64,158

2003

66,022

2004

67,678

2005

69,090

2006

70,658

2007 (as at 31 July)

71,247

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of spare capacity in the prison system; what plans he has to build new prisons; and if he will make a statement. (156213)

The Government will ensure that there are sufficient prison places for those serious and dangerous offenders who ought to be in prison. The National Offender Management Service continues to investigate options for providing further increases in capacity. A programme to deliver 8,000 new prison places by 2012 was announced in July 2006, to be provided both in new prisons and by expansion at existing prisons.

A further 1,500 places were announced on 19 June 2007. Work started immediately on 500 of the extra places, the first of which will come into use in January 2008. The composition of the further 1,000 places will be decided in the light of Lord Carter’s forthcoming report into the long-term future of the prison estate and the supply and demand of prison places.

The National Offender Management Service is closely monitoring the prison population and spare capacity in the system.

We are reviewing the basis by which the current spare capacity is calculated and will make a further statement shortly.