The £30m investment package to tackle organised crime and bring buildings back up to a decent standard, was announced by Justice Secretary David Gauke (10 July). The investment package includes the £16m allocated to improve, where possible, the fabric of the prison estate. The full £30m breakdown is as follows:
-£16m to help improve the basic conditions of the prison estate. The funding will target establishments with the most pressing maintenance issues. Funding is primarily for capital maintenance schemes - cells, flooring, showers, serveries, gates, and Fire Safety Works.
-£7m investment in safety, to fund a range of new security measures, including airport-security style body scanners, improved searching techniques and mobile phone-blocking technology, and evolving our digital categorisation tool – which assesses information from various law enforcement databases to create a central ‘risk rating’ for each prisoner.
-£7m on in-cell telephones and kiosks for more prisons. Currently most prisoners queue for public phones on the landings, which can be the trigger for violence or fuel demand for illicit mobile phones.
The funding has been allocated in full to each programme strand, and is controlled at programme level, not by establishment. Current spending forecasts are on track against budget. Due to the confidential nature of our mobile phone blocking proof of concept pilot, no site details can be provided.