HC Deb 01 August 1975 vol 896 c651W
Mr. Gow

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the number of people in prison; what is the number of people for which the prison accommodation available is designed; and what proposals he has to redress the present imbalance between the figures contained in the answers to the first and second parts of the Question by means other than those indicated in his answer of 3rd July, column 537.

Dr. Summerskill

In mid-July, the certified normal accommodation of prison service establishments in England and Wales was 35,782 and the population was 40,804. Some 1,000 additional places are expected to become available during the current financial year and a total of 5,400 extra places would be provided by the expenditure forecast in the White Paper on Public Expenditure to 1978–79 (Cmnd. 5879). In the shorter term, and consistently with essential requirements for local court services, treatment and security, vigorous measures are being taken to bring all available accommodation and other resources into fullest possible use so as to maintain tolerable conditions in spite of inevitable overcrowding. My right hon. Friend is also pursuing a variety of measures designed to reduce the prison population.