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Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many existing prison places he plans to withdraw in each year until 2014. (176100)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor announced on 5 December 2007 in response to the review on prisons by Lord Carter an additional 10,500 prison places by 2014 including up to three large ‘Titan’ prisons, housing around 2,500 prisoners each.

The Carter Review proposed that this increase in capacity will allow the Government to close around 5,000 places in old, inefficient prisons by 2014. Decisions on and the timetable for which prisons should be closed or places removed from use will be made as the programme for these new prison places is developed.

In addition, there is a planned rolling programme of refurbishment of accommodation across the prison estate, which requires the temporary closure of prison places. This allows the critical maintenance of the estate to be undertaken whilst having no significant net change on the number of places in use.