Prison Reform Trust slams government’s prisons plan

Up to three super-prisons each housing about 2,500 prisoners will be built by 2014, justice minister Jack Straw announced today following a review.

Lord Carter’s independent review recommended the creation of the “Titan” prisons to address demand for prison places. There were a record 81,547 prisoners on 16 November, according to the latest official figures.

Carter also said a strategy should be produced to deal with all offenders, particularly the specific needs of women and juvenile offenders.

Straw pledged £1.2bn of additional funding on top of £1.5bn the government has already committed to the extended building programme and said smaller and older prison sites could be closed, or reconfigured to accommodate female or juvenile offenders.

He also said he wanted a “rigorous and effective framework” of community penalties.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, slammed the building plans. “Pouring money into jumbo jails will engulf any sensible plans to reform the justice system. Everyone knows that giant institutions don’t work, whether they are schools, hospitals or prisons, “ she said.

The trust today published its latest briefing on the state of the prison population.

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