HC Deb 18 February 1971 vol 811 cc533-4W
Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether in order rapidly to alleviate prison crowding he will arrange for the erection of prison camps similar to those rapidly erected in wartime.

Mr. Carlisle

There are difficulties about this procedure. But the former Army camp at Ranby, near Retford, will receive its first prisoners later this year, and the Home Office has sought planning clearance for the adaptation of three other camps no longer needed by the services.

Mr. Bishop

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what further action he is taking to improve prison conditions, and particularly to abolish the use of chamber pots and the practice of slopping out;

(2) if he will give the number of prisoners detained in prisons built 100 years, 75 years, 50 years and 25 years ago and since, respectively, and what further action is being taken to modernise these buldings.

Mr. Carlisle

On 15th January about 19,200 people were in custody in prisons in England and Wales built over 100 years ago. The number in prisons built over 75, 50 and 25 years age was 24,000 24,400 and 28,900.

Over £5 million will be spent in the current financial year on the modernisation, renovation, improvement and maintenance of prisons, borstals and detention centres in England and Wales. This will include extensive refurbishing and the provision of improved services and other facilities, for example, new workshops. These measures are designed to improve prison conditions as well as to enable the old prisons to cope with the increased numbers that have to be accommodated in them.

Work has now started on the complete redevelopment of Holloway prison. All new prisons, including Holloway, are being so designed that slopping out will not be necessary but I cannot foresee the end of this practice in the majority of existing prisons.