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Prison Service

Volume 579: debated on Monday 28 April 2014

19. What assessment she has made of the relationship between recent trends in levels of crime and the cost to the public purse of the prison service. (903704)

Police recorded crime figures and the independent crime survey for England and Wales both show that crime has fallen by more than 10% under this Government. Over the same period, the number of people in prison has increased for a number of reasons, including the police detecting more crimes and longer sentences for more serious offences. Between 2010 and 2013, we made almost £400 million in savings across prisons through efficiencies, benchmarking and the capacity management programme.

I thank the Minister for that answer, but at what point does the fall in crime get reflected in a substantial decrease in penal and prison costs?

As I have just said, we have been imprisoning more serious criminals and locking them up for longer and we have been making savings in the prison system through efficiency programmes, so we are meeting my hon. Friend’s challenge already. Many people would argue that at least one of the reasons for the reduction in crime is precisely that we are locking more criminals up and keeping them in prison for longer.