HC Deb 17 December 2002 vol 396 cc751-2W
Annette Brooke

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the need to revise(a) short-term and (b) long-term predictions of growth in the prison population in light of the Criminal Justice Bill; upon what information such an assessment was made; what action his Department intends to take to meet changes in the growth of the prison population; and if he will make a statement. [84248]

Hilary Benn

We have not made final decisions about implementation of the measures in the Criminal Justice Bill, but on the basis of the modelling which has been undertaken to estimate the impact of the sentencing reforms and the cost of the Bill, we do not expect them to generate significant increases in the prison population. On current assumptions, the impact on the prison population of implementing the sentencing reforms would be broadly flat with a small reduction in places in late 2004 and early 2005, followed by a modest increase of up to 1,000 places between mid-2006 and early 2009, levelling out once the reforms have bedded in.

The Review of Correctional Services is addressing a wide range of questions regarding effectiveness and value for money and is developing a strategy for managing prison population pressures and containing its future growth. The impact of proposals in the Criminal Justice Bill are being considered in the context of the review. The prison population projections will be revised when firm implementation dates for new policy initiatives have been set. The prison service will then be in a position to work up plans for delivering the capacity needed to meet the revised projections.

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