HC Deb 09 December 1954 vol 535 cc1100-1
25. Mr. Erroll

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to make a statement on his plan for the construction of new prisons.

Major Lloyd-George

The Prison Commissioners' authorised programme of new building comprises, in addition to two Borstals for boys and two for girls, two secure training prisons, each for about 300 men, and a special psychiatric prison commonly known as the East-Hubert Institution. The first new security prison, at Everthorpe, near Hull, is in course of construction. Progress with the second has been held up by difficulties in obtaining planning clearance for the proposed site, but it is expected that these will shortly be resolved. Planning clearance for the site of the East-Hubert Institution, at Grendon Underwood, Buckinghamshire, has been obtained, and designs for the building are being worked out.

Mr. Erroll

Are these plans adequate to deal with the serious problem of prison congestion today?

Major Lloyd-George

The programme is certainly a very notable contribution and, as my hon. Friend is aware, the prison population has fallen substantially below the peak, and the trend, I am glad to say, is still a downward one.

Mr. P. Morris

Has the Home Secretary abandoned the policy of modernising old prisons, and is he now concentrating on building modern, satisfactory buildings?

Major Lloyd-George

That is not altogether so. Apart from new prisons, we have, for temporary purposes, taken back into use one, if not two, to relieve congestion. Other buildings have been taken over for temporary use as prisons.

Mr. Benson

I notice that the list of proposed new prisons and Borstals given by the Home Secretary did not include one institution which was foreshadowed in the last Report of the Prison Commissioners—a prison for aged and decrepit prisoners, now kept in maximum security cells. Has that been abandoned?

Major Lloyd-George

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to do so, I should like to look into that question.