Overcrowding could force prisons closure

Prisons could be forced to close temporarily because of overcrowding, according to a report published today.

The Prison Reform Trust warned that the current prison population of 77,004 would reach a new “historic high” within a few months.

The charity’s Bromley prison factfile said many prison sector workers privately predicted that prisons could be full by this summer and could close for a time to ease the pressure.

The report said around 300 new places had been added to ease the crisis but warned against building more prisons.

It blamed the “creeping inflation” of sentences and a lack of confidence in effective community measures for the rise in prisoners including non-violent women, shoplifters, “petty fraudsters” and those awaiting trial.

The report was published as the latest figures from the Youth Justice Board showed there were 2,735 under-18s in custody at the end of January – 90 more than at the same point last year and 118 more than the December total.

Report from: www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk

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