We regard well-run prisons as fundamental to the proper functioning of our justice system, and a vital part of our reform plans. Private providers continue to play an important role in the prison estate. The ability for G4S to take back control of the prison will not happen until we are assured that it would be safe to do so and that the issues which gave rise to the step-in have been remedied and are not likely to reoccur. The decision to return the prison to G4S control will be determined by their capacity to safely manage the prison and maintain a trajectory of improvement across a range of issues. We have therefore taken the decision to extend the step-in until the summer, when the position will be reviewed. This will provide time for the changes we are making to bed in, for improvements to gather pace, and for a conclusion to be reached on the longer-term future of the prison.
Our priority is the safety of the prisoners, and ultimately the safety of the public.