§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement regarding overcrowding in Her Majesty's prisons.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
The present unprecedented size of the population of the prison service establishments in England and Wales and the overcrowding to which this gives rise, notably in local prisons and remand centres, are matters which I view with considerable concern. On 10 February 1980 the latest date for which information is available, 11,846 inmates were sleeping two to a cell and 5,247 three to a cell.
In the longer term, relief will come from the prison building programme, the expansion of which, as recommended by the May committee the Government by under close review. Meanwhile we generally endorse that committee's comments on sentencing and remand practices, and 115W are examining other measures which would relieve the prison system.