Written Ministerial Statement made by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove.
This Government is committed to making sure our prisons become places of reform, where offenders can change their lives and turn away from crime. Alongside giving Governors more freedom to innovate and introducing sharper accountability, we are also investing £1.3 billion in a high-quality, modern prison estate.
We have already announced that we will build new prisons that have better education and work facilities and close aging and ineffective prisons. As part of these reforms I can announce today that the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) will not be renewing the lease with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust for the site at HMP Kennet. The prison will therefore close by July 2017.
The staff at HMP Kennet have been undertaking excellent work with the prisoners from Merseyside and surrounding areas. The prison however does not provide an ideal environment for the rehabilitation of the men it holds. Its design and layout make it difficult to operate, it has the highest levels of crowding in the estate and is one of the most expensive category C prisons in the country.
Closing facilities like that at HMP Kennet will enable us to invest the money in a modern prison estate, with facilities for training and rehabilitation that help prisoners turn their lives around.