HC Deb 03 May 1973 vol 855 cc1441-5
8. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the present prison building programme.

25. Mr. Fowler

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the prison building programme.

Mr. R. Carr

Good progress is being made. The number of new places started in the last finacial year was over 2,000 and is hoped to be about 3,000 in the current year. This compares with only 80 new places started in 1969–70. I will, with permission, circulate a detailed statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mrs. Short

Is the Secretary of State aware that there is a growing body of public opinion that believes that the policy of building a large number of new prisons instead. of the smaller kind of hostel accommodation, which is urgently needed, is misdirected? Does he not agree that his thesis is untenable as long as highly disturbed women are being shut away in Holloway without receiving the kind of treatment that they need, and as long as boys and girls of 14 and 15 are put in prison because the right kind of hostel accommodation is not available for them?

Mr. Carr

As the hon. Member knows, accommodation for all those under the age of 17 was transferred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. As for accommodation for those over 17, we are building hostels as well as prisons, in the literal sense of the word, and those who object to the present prison building programme somehow fail to realise that even if we are successful, as I would hope we shall be, in stopping the apparently never-ending increase in prison population, we shall still be faced with the fact that 12,000 of our roughly 30,000 to 40,000 prisoners are accommodated more than one to a cell—sometimes two or three to a cell. Even if we halt the rise we shall still need new prisons.

Mr. Fowler

On a separate problem affecting prison building, may I remind my right hon. Friend of the serious disturbances in a number of prisons last year? Has he decided whether troublemakers should in future be housed in a separate prison, as recommended by Lord Mountbatten, or in separate facilities in existing prisons? If he has not decided that, when may we expect a decision on the matter, which affects prison building policy?

Mr. Carr

It is a very important matter. I have almost completed my study which I announced last autumn, and I hope to make a statement in the not-too-distant future.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Can the Secretary of State say anything about the provision being made for workshops in the new prisons, and whether they will be adequate to introduce a full industrial day? Is any consideration being given to much smaller prisons along the lines of the interesting experiment in the Netherlands, where the rate of recidivism is much lower than it is here and where no prisons of more than 200 places are any longer being built?

Mr. Carr

The workshop situation is far from satisfactory. I can assure the House that a significant part of prison building expenditure is designed to improve workshop provisions. But whatever we do to some of our old prisons we shall not be able to provide adequate workshops in them.

The hon. Lady's second point is very interesting. I want to keep under close review not only the scale but the quality, the nature, of our prison building programme. I particularly want to study— though I confess that I have not yet done so—what is being done in Holland.

Following is the information:


1. At the end of the financial year 1972–73 work was in progress on the following new establishments or extensions to existing establishments. The list indicates where buildings are already occupied:

Place and Size and Type of Establishment

Acklington, Northumberland. 450 Category C prison. First inmates April 1972.

Blundeston, Suffolk. 120 New cell block to prison.

Bristol. 192 New cell block to prison.

Channings Wood, Devon. 484 Category C prison.

Castington, Northumberland. 300 Young Offender establishment.

Deerbolt, North Riding. 420 Young Offender establishment.

Dover, Kent. 60 New borstal house.

Erlestoke, Wiltshire. 100 Extension to Detention Centre.

Glen Parva, Leicestershire. 840 Young Offender complex.

Haverigg, Cumberland. 150 Extension to Category C prison.

Hollesley Bay, Suffolk. 185 Secure borstal unit.

Long Lartin, Worcestershire. 492 Category B prison. First inmates January 1971.

Maidstone, Kent. 115 Additions to prison.

Northeye, Sussex. 200 Extension to Category C prison.

Norwich. 60 Remand centre.

Portland, Dorset. 72 New borstal house.

Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire. 80 Extension to remand centre.

Ranby, Nottinghamshire. 374 Category C prison. First inmates June 1971.

Rochester, Kent. 120 New remand centre.

Stoke Heath, Shropshire. 120 New borstal house.

The Verne, Dorset. 160 New cell blocks to prison.

Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. 120 New borstal house.

Wrabness, Essex. 816 Category C prison.

Work was also in progress on Phase I of the complete redevelopment of Holloway prison for women.

2. t is hoped that work will start in the financial year 1973–74 on the following new establishments or extensions to existing establishments:

Place and Size and Type of Establishment

Camp Hill, Isle of Wight. 160 New cell block at prison.

Eastwood Park, Gloucestershire. 50 New house at detention centre.

Featherstone, Staffordshire. 484 Category C prison.

Kirkleyington, North Riding. 40 New house at detention centre.

Lockwood, Oxfordshire. 507 Category B prison.

Low Newton, Durham. 80 Extension to remand centre.

Liverpool. 192 New cell block at prison.

Onley, Warwickshire. 120 New cell block at borstal.

Stradishall, Suffolk. 300 Category C prison.

Thorp Arch, West Riding. 75 Extension to remand centre.

West Mailing, Kent. 450 Young Offender establishment.

Wymott, Lancashire. 816 Category C prison.

This development will eventually be superseded by a prison for up to 500 Category B prisoners and a detention centre for 220 trainees.

3. planning clearance is held in principle for the following major schemes on which it is hoped to start work in the period 1974–75— 1976–77.

Place and Size and Type of Establishment

Bovingdon, Hertfordshire. 484 Category C prison.

Carr Wood, North Riding. 100 Detention Centre.

Everthorpe, East Riding. 300 Young Offender establishment.

Feltham, Middlesex. 820 Young Offender complex.

Gartree, Leicestershire. 816 Category C prison.

Griston. Norfolk. 484 Category C prison

Hewell Grange, Worcestershire. 300 Young Offender establishment.

Hollesley Bay, Suffolk. 400 Young Offender complex.

Low Newton, Durham. 447 Category B prison.

North Weald, Essex. 360 Remand Centre.

Stocken Hall, Rutland. 600 Young Offender establishment.

Swaleside, Kent. 816 Category C prison.

Tudworth Hall, West Riding. 300 Young Offender establishment.

Werrington, Staffordshire. 100 Additional unit at detention centre.

4. Planning clearance has been sought, or informal discussions opened with the planning authority, in respect of a number of further proposals including those listed below. If planning clearance is obtained it is hoped that a start could be made on these proposals in the period 1975–76–1977–78.

Place and Size and Type of Establishment

Duxford, Cambridgeshire. 300 Young Offender establishment.

Full Sutton/Riccall, East Riding. 465 Category B prison, and 484 Category C prison.

Gorseinon, Glamorgan. 500 Category B prison.

Hobbs Barracks, Surrey. 484 Category C prison.

Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. 484 Category C prison.

Marchington, Staffordshire. 500 Category B prison.

North Cotes, Lincolnshire. 500 Category C (later Category B) prison.

Watchfield, Berkshire. 408 Category C prison.

5. A major part of the prison building programme will continue to be devoted to improvement of facilities at existing institutions. Some schemes providing more accommodation for inmates have been listed at 1 and 2 above. Other schemes provide new workshops, upgrading of works services, improved security and extensive refurbishing. Examples of schemes now in progress, or on which it is hoped to start work in the financial year 1973–74 are:

6. Expenditure on the erection and purchase of quarters for staff at existing establishments is now at the rate of about £4 million a year.