Gove and Osborne announce new prison building programme

The Chancellor the exchequer, George Osborne, and the Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, have jointly announced plans to build nine new prisons in the UK.

The government claims the new prisons will “ensure Britain’s prison system is fit for purpose in the twenty-first century” as well as save the government approximately £80m a year. The renovation programme will likely cost £1bn.

The government also states that older prisons, built during the Victorian period, can be knocked down and their sites used for what the government estimates to be space for 3000 enew homes.

Speaking on the renovation project, Osborne said: “This spending review is about reform as much as it is about making savings.

“One important step will be to modernise the prison state. So many oof our jails are relics from Victorian times on prime real estate in our inner cities.

“So we are going to reform the infrastructure of our prison system, building new institutions which are modern, suitable and rehabilitative. And we will close old, outdated prisons in city centres, and sell the sites to build thousands of much-needed new homes.

“This will save money, reform an outdated public service and create opportunity by boosting construction jobs and offering more people homes to buy.”

The project has received support from across the aisle, however, Labour’s shadow lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, has qualified his support by saying the government should use examine the performance of prisons to evaluate which prisons should close rather than the value of the real estate upon which they are built.

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