16:53 10 January 2013
The government has announced that a number of prisons are to close across England as part of a shake-up in the prison system, and there are also plans for a new prison to open. It is expected that the closure of certain prisons could save the government £63million annually.
The prisons set for closure are Bullwood Hall in Essex, Canterbury, Camp Hill jail – based at the Isle of Wight – Gloucester, Kingston in Portsmouth, Shepton Mallet in Somerset and Shrewsbury.
It is thought that the prison based at the Isle of Wight will only face part closure, which can also be said for jails in Chelmsford and Hull.
The Ministry of Justice announced however, that there are plans to build a super prison. It is expected that this will be much larger and will cater for 2,000 inmates – which goes some way to filling the places lost by the closures.
The new prison could be based in London, Wales or the north-west of England.
A government spokesperson said: "Our strategy for the custodial estate is to ensure that we have sufficient places to meet the demand of the courts whilst securing best value for money for the taxpayer."
Some people’s views are that it would be best instead for the government to look at preventative methods when it comes to crime.
Joe Simpson from the Prison Officers Association told the BBC: “We condemn the move. The government is willing to overcrowd public sector prisons in order to save money."
The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has said however: "We have to bring down the cost of our prison system, much of which is old and expensive.
"But I never want the courts to be in a position where they cannot send a criminal to prison because there is no place available.
"So we have to move as fast as we can to replace the older parts of our prison system."
This comes after the recent news on plans which relate to private firms and charities checking on certain individuals who are on probation in England and Wales.
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