What arrangements his Department has put in place to deal with any future shortfall in prison places.
careful review to ensure that there is always sufficient capacity to accommodate all those committed to custody by the courts.
I thank the Secretary of State for that response. I understand that possible shortfalls are predicted in particular regions as opposed to on a national level. The Minister will know that maintaining family links during a period of imprisonment is a critical factor in reducing reoffending on release. Will he assure the House that steps will be taken to ensure that prisoners are kept as close to their family and their place of origin as possible?
In many cases, a high priority is given to trying to house prisoners in places where they are reasonably in contact with their family and home. Of course, the more pressure the service comes under, the more difficult it is to maintain that, but I am sure it remains an objective of those who allocate prisoners to the correct prison once they receive their sentence.