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Prisons: Overcrowding

Volume 698: debated on Monday 21 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How overcrowding in 81 out of 141 prisons in England and Wales will be reduced; and by when they expect that overcrowding will have been eliminated. [HL1125]

On 5 December in its response to Lord Carter of Coles' review of prisons the Government announced an additional 10,500 prison places. This is on top of the existing 9,500 capacity programme. Our aim is to achieve capacity of 96,000 places by 2014.

As new places are delivered they will ease the pressure on the prison population but crowding—that is, prisons operating at a figure higher than their certified normal accommodation—will not end in the foreseeable future. However, no prison will be expected to operate at a level of crowding beyond that which the Prison Service area manager (or regional offender manager in the case of a contracted prison) considers safe.