UK closing seven prisons

Britain is set to close several underperforming prisons.

LONDON — Seven prisons are to close and two more will be partially shut in England.

The Ministry of Justice said it would result in the loss of 2,600 places from “old and uneconomic” prisons and is expected to save 63 million per year in running costs.

It says it also plans to build a new super prison with 2,000 places.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said people would want reassurance that there would be enough prison places in coming years.

The proposed super prison would be around 25 per cent bigger than Britain’s existing largest facility and a feasibility study into its construction is to begin.

The super prison would be in London, north-west England or north Wales.

The seven prisons that are to close are Bullwood Hall in Essex, Canterbury, Gloucester, Kingston in Portsmouth, Shepton Mallet in Somerset, Shrewsbury, and Camp Hill on the Isle of Wight.

Prisons in Chelmsford and Hull are also to be partially closed.

The MoJ said six prisons were to close as it listed the Isle of Wight changes as a partial closure.

It said: “Our strategy for the custodial estate is to ensure that we have sufficient places to meet the demand of the courts whilst securing best value for money for the taxpayer.”

Custodial arrangements for women are to be reviewed and the results are expected by the summer.

The MoJ said women offenders had “particular needs” and facilities for females should be “organised as effectively as possible to meet gender specific requirements whilst also delivering best value for the public”.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We have to bring down the cost of our prison system, much of which is old and expensive.

“But I never want the courts to be in a position where they cannot send a criminal to prison because there is no place available.

“So we have to move as fast as we can to replace the older parts of our prison system.” (BBC)

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