Prisons: Safety

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Ellie Reeves Ellie Reeves Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he plans to take to provide a safer and more secure custodial environment, as described in the Prisons Strategy White Paper – Response to Consultation.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

This Government is investing £37 million to deliver improvements to prison safety announced in the Prisons Strategy White Paper. This includes making key changes to the physical environment, introducing specialist support, developing bespoke interventions and testing new technology.

In March, we completed our £100 million Security Investment Programme including 75 X-ray body scanners which now cover the entire closed male estate. We have also secured a further £25 million of funding for prison security. This will enable us to tackle efforts to undermine prison stability, such as drug smuggling, through increased drug trace detection units and x-ray baggage scanners at 42 priority sites.

The recruitment and retention of staff is integral to better outcomes in prisons, including making prisons safer and more secure. From October 2016 to March 2022, the number of band 3-5 prison officers increased by over 4,000. Alongside our recruitment and retention strategy, we are also creating a more resilient estate by both building additional prison places and undertaking refurbishments; improving prisoner access to healthcare; and investing £120 million in tackling substance misuse over the next three years to get more offenders engaged in treatment all of which will support safer, more secure prisons.

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