Prisons: Buckinghamshire

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th July 2021.

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Photo of Greg Smith Greg Smith Conservative, Buckingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish a definition of the catchment area within the South East from which his Department has collected statistics that prove an anticipated demand for prison places that will be satisfied by the proposed expanded facility at Edgcott, including full statistics used.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We currently define the South East region to be the region of England including London and surrounding counties, namely Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Kent, Surrey and East and West Sussex.

Projected demand for new prison places at both a national and local level is one of a range of factors that are taken into account when considering proposed sites for new prisons. Other considerations and constraints include closeness to home to facilitate resettlement back into the community, delivering value for money for the taxpayer (including in relation to the costs of both purchasing and developing new sites), the availability of land, and the ability to build on that land.

In terms of demand for prison places, internal estimates indicate that by April 2027, when the proposed prison near Edgcott will be fully operational, areas within the South East region will have both surpluses and deficits in Category C Resettlement places, including a deficit of places in London.

As a national service, HMPPS uses individual prisons’ capacity to meet national and wider geographical demand. Internal modelling has indicated that, if the MoJ did nothing to expand the existing estate save for new prisons already under construction, demand for Resettlement Category C places could outstrip capacity by c. 4,000, nationally, in April 2027.

The proposed new prison will hold men for whom it is the nearest available Category C Resettlement prison place to their home area (subject to any other relevant constraints) providing the opportunity to maintain or re-establish family and community ties. Thus the proposed new prison near Edgcott is also critical in managing estimated deficits for Category C Resettlement prison places in the adjacent south west region.

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