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This Government are investing in the prison estate—replacing older prisons with high-quality, modern establishments. A new prison in Wales could create up to 500 jobs and contribute £11 million a year to the economy.
Over one third of adults released from prison in Wales go on to reoffend. Considering that the last prison that the Ministry of Justice built in Wales cost £250 million, does the Secretary of State not think that money would be better spent on rehabilitative measures that actually help those who need them—which, alongside a presumption against short sentences, in Scotland has been shown to reduce recidivism rates considerably—rather than on another costly UK Government vanity project?
The hon. Gentleman makes an important point, and clearly we would like the population of the prison estate to decline, but of course we also have to keep the community safe, and it is the right thing to do. We need to modernise the estate, and we would like to build a prison in south Wales.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that high-quality modern accommodation located as near to prisoners’ homes as possible is a vital part of the rehabilitation process? Will he therefore join me in welcoming this Government’s extra commitment to spending on the prison estate?
I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s interest and the expertise that he shows in working with the police on this basis. A new prison would create 500 new jobs. More importantly, it provides for much better outcomes for offenders, in order to help their rehabilitation and keep our communities safe.