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.
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.
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.