HC Deb 19 January 1984 vol 52 cc441-2
14. Mr. Tom Cox

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last visited Wandsworth prison.

Mr. Hurd

My right hon. and learned Friend has not yet visited Wandsworth prison, but my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State did so on 10 October last year.

Mr. Cox

Is the Minister aware that Wandsworth prison, like many similar establishments, is overcrowded and lacks amenities? It is very old and there is a continuing problem of staffing. He will be aware that the new prison building programme will be of help. However, does he not agree that the only real solution to the continuing prison problems—the Home Secretary has announced figures today—is to begin to have meaningful reductions in the numbers in prison? When will we see the Government taking action to achieve that?

Mr. Hurd

That will take time. Meanwhile, as the hon. Member indicated, there is a big programme of renovation at Wandsworth, costing £10 million. Not only will this increase the accommodation available for prisoners, but there will be provision for new staff. It will also improve standards inside the prison.