Raab announces plans for 4,000 new prison places

The proposals have been criticised as ‘the cost of the Conservatives’ failure on crime’.

18 February 2022

Dominic Raab has announced plans to create 4,000 prison places across 16 sites as part of the Government’s pledge to increase jail capacity by the middle of the decade.

The proposals, which are subject to planning permission, would involve building new wings and refurbishing old prison space, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The plans for 4,000 places are part of the Government’s existing pledge to create 20,000 prison places by the mid-2020s, which was set out last year.

HMPs Norwich, Birmingham, Liverpool, Haverigg and HMP/YOIs Feltham, Aylesbury and Swinfen Hall are the sites being targeted for refurbishment, the MoJ said.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab (James Manning/PA)

Prisons expected to receive additional blocks are HMPs Bullingdon, Channings Wood, Elmley, Highpoint, Hindley, Wayland, Guys Marsh, High Down – in the form of a workshop – and Stocken.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Our prison-building programme will deliver an extra 20,000 prison places by the mid-2020s to punish offenders, deter crime and protect the public.

“We are also overhauling the prison regime, using prison design, in cell technology, abstinence-based drug rehabilitation and work to drive down reoffending.”

But the plans were criticised by the Liberal Democrats, who described them as “the cost of the Conservatives’ failure on crime” and attacked them for not going far enough to tackle the rising prison population.

The party’s home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “This is the cost of the Conservatives’ failure on crime. The UK already has more people in prison than any other country in Western Europe, and now the Government is spending an extra £4 billion because crime is rising.

“These new places won’t even do anything to reduce the huge overcrowding in prisons, because of the rising prison population. Only by ending overcrowding can we rehabilitate prisoners properly and break the cycle of reoffending.

“Just building more prison cells won’t do anything to make our communities safer. Instead of trying to sound tough, ministers should focus on restoring effective community policing where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime.”

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