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MoJ announces new 'super-prison' while also confirming closures

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed its plans to build a super-prison at an estimated cost of £250 million while simultaneously announcing the closure of four existing prisons.

HMP Reading, HMP Blundeston, HMP Dorchester and HMP Northallerton will close within six months (by March 2014).   The closures will mean that around 700 jobs are at risk and £30m will be reduced from the prison budget.  They also bring the total number of prisons closed since May 2010 to 16.  However, the government asserts that the new super-prison will create 1,000 new jobs.

The super-prison will hold 2,000 inmates and be built on a site in Wrexham.  It is due to open in 2017 with work beginning in the summer of 2014.  The MoJ has also confirmed that four mini-prisons will create a further 1,200 spaces for inmates.  There is also a feasibility study underway into another large site that could replace Feltham Young Offenders Institute.

Chris Grayling said that the plans would ˜modernise the prison system and ˜make sure by the next election that we still have access to more prison places than we inherited in 2010.  However, Peter McParlin, the Chairman of the Prison Officers Association was less enthusiastic about the plans.  He said that the programme was ˜cuts-driven and does nothing for the rehabilitation revolution. Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, added: ˜Closing small local prisons and replacing them with super-sized jails will not reduce crime or make communities safer.


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