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Prison Places

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 5th February 2013.

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Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We will always ensure there are sufficient prison places for offenders sentenced to custody by the courts, and we will seek to do so increasingly in cheaper, more modern accommodation. We intend there to be at least as many adult male prison places at the end of this Parliament as there were at its start.

Photo of Gordon Henderson Gordon Henderson Conservative, Sittingbourne and Sheppey

When considering any future extension of the prison estate, will my hon. Friend consider the Isle of Sheppey as a suitable location for that expansion?

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We will consider all reasonable bids. My hon. Friend knows that we have looked, and are looking, into the feasibility of a new large prison. We have identified three parts of the country where we think there is a particularly strong case, but we will look carefully at any reasonable bids.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health)

But of the Minister’s Department’s plans to resurrect Titan prisons, an Economist headline said, “You can’t keep a bad idea down”. Why the U-turn in Tory prisons policy after four years?

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Do let us remember whose bad idea it was. We are not resurrecting it; we are talking about a prison that is economically viable and that will save the taxpayer money, but it may not and almost certainly will not be exactly what a Titan prison was. There are many ways of doing this. We could, for example, have a number of smaller institutions on one site and still achieve the same economies of scale. The hon. Gentleman should not believe that this Government will make the same mistakes as his made.