Social reform is at the heart of this government’s programme. In November 2016 I set out plans for the most far-reaching reform of our prisons in a generation in my White Paper on Prison Safety and Reform. Last month I introduced the Prison and Courts Bill, which will transform the lives of offenders and put victims at the heart of the justice system, helping to create a safer and better society.
As well as putting in place robust measures to improve safety and performance, and a dedicated staff recruitment and development programme, I am investing £1.3 billion in a modern, fit-for purpose prison estate.
Today I can confirm that I will launch planning applications for a further four potential sites for prisons to be built in England and Wales: one new site in Yorkshire adjacent to HMP Full Sutton, one at Port Talbot, South Wales, and two further sites involving redevelopment of the existing prisons at HMP & YOI Rochester, and HMP & YOI Hindley. Final decisions on the new prisons will be subject to planning approvals, as well as value for money and affordability.
In addition, I can inform the House that construction has now begun on a new houseblock at HMP Stocken.
Following the commitments I made in the White Paper, I can also confirm that outline planning applications have been made to redevelop the sites at the former HMP Wellingborough and HMP & YOI Glen Parva.
In creating a modern prison estate, old and inefficient prisons will be closed and replaced by the new accommodation. A programme of valuation work will now begin to help inform further decisions about the estate. Announcements on prison closures will be made later in the year.
This progress underlines this Government’s commitment to reform the prison estate. If planning permission for the new sites is granted, together these measures would create thousands of modern, fit for purpose prison places, enabling us to close many of the old and overcrowded places standing in the way of real reform.