§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made on the decision on whether to build a super-max prison; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 13 January 1997]: The Prison Service carried out a feasibility study of the Learmont recommendations that new prisons should be built to house the most dangerous and difficult to control prisoners in the system. Ministers are considering the study. Any decision will hinge on the assessment of the costs and benefits of concentration. A move towards concentration would represent a fundamental change in penal policy and there will therefore need to be a very careful examination of the options.