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Prisons: Overcrowding

Volume 475: debated on Friday 16 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government are taking to reduce overcrowding in prisons. (205537)

In December 2007 the Government announced their response to Lord Carter of Coles’ report on prisons, including measures to both increase the supply of prison places and reduce the demand for them.

The Government are committed to increasing prison capacity by providing an additional 10,500 places, on top of their previously announced 9,500 place building programme, with the aim of achieving overall capacity of 96,000 places by 2014.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act will give effect to measures recommended by Lord Carter to reduce the demand for prison places. These will start to have an impact later this year.

The measures we are taking will ease the pressure on the prison estate. No prison will be expected to operate at a level of crowding beyond that agreed by the Prison Service area manager (or the Regional Offender Manager, in the case of a contracted prison).