Prisons - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:06 am on 8 February 2018.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 11:06, 8 February 2018

The conferment of a hereditary title is welcomed. Mrs Keen will be very pleased.

This is of course a serious issue. The demands on our prisons are a long-term issue, not a short-term problem, and we intend to address it with a programme of new prisons. Perhaps I may say that the question of capacity in our prisons has been with us for well over 15 years: indeed, we are not quite at the same sort of ceiling of use as we were even 10 years ago. As regards crowding levels, I regret to say that, since 2004, they have remained persistently at about the same level on a measure in percentage terms of between 24% and 25%—but, as I say, we are seeking to address these issues with our programme of new establishments.