Prison Estate

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th February 2011.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

Our current plans are to build the prisons to which we are contractually committed, and we recently announced the closure of three prisons. The Ministry of Justice recently published a Green Paper outlining proposals for reforms to sentencing and rehabilitation. We are considering our long-term strategy for prisons in the light of these policy developments.

Photo of Eric Ollerenshaw Eric Ollerenshaw Conservative, Lancaster and Fleetwood

I thank the Minister for his answer. Is it possible to give an update on the planned closure of Lancaster Castle prison, particularly in regard to the redeployment of staff and future use of the castle?

D

The issue before us is the future use of the building. Are we going to be left with another white elephant?

Submitted by David Whitaker

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

The Ministry of Justice is in discussions with the Duchy of Lancaster, which owns the castle, regarding its future use after its closure as a prison. All staff at Lancaster Castle will be either redeployed to other establishments, retained at the prison to provide ongoing maintenance or offered the opportunity to leave the service on voluntary exit terms.

Photo of Ian Lavery Ian Lavery Labour, Wansbeck

Can the Minister tell the House what proposals his Government have for the future market testing of existing prisons in the UK?

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

We inherited a competition strategy from the last Administration, which is continuing. The strategy is being applied to prisons that are currently in the public sector, particularly Birmingham.