Prisons: Overcrowding — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords on 10th December 2008.

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Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Government Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My Lords, first, the estimate for the construction costs of the new prison clusters remains £350 million at 2007-08 prices. The estimate of £450 million that the noble Lord mentioned, which was provided to the Justice Committee earlier this year, was not an increase in the construction costs; it merely was the original estimate inflated for the years in which we expect these prisons to open—namely, some years ahead, in 2012-14. It is not an increase in costs in the terms that he asked in his question. We think that a mixture of prison building is important. These prisons will, of course, be put in places where it is already difficult for family and friends to visit those in prison. Indeed, we think that building them where we plan to will help.