Cuts spell disaster for British prisons

Horrified prison officers have warned that Britain’s whole justice system is heading for a meltdown after the coalition government announced plans to close seven jails.

The Prison Officers Association’s Mark Freeman told the Morning Star newspaper, the decision to close seven prisons across Britain is “pandering to the private sector.”

Despite widespread overcrowding and record prison populations, Conservative Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has cheerfully announced that he is axing the seven prisons across England and Wales.

HMP Bullwood Hall, Canterbury, Gloucester, Kingston, Shepton Mallet and Shrewsbury prisons are all set to close, while Chelmsford, Hull and the Isle of Wight will be partially decommissioned.

Grayling has claimed that older prisons cost too much to preserve.

“There is clear evidence that by replacing old uneconomic places with modern prison capacity we can drive substantial savings for the taxpayer and I am determined to do just that,” he said.

However, prisons that are marked for closure currently hold a combined 2,600 prisoners themselves, meaning prison capacity across England and Wales will shrink by more than 1,000 places on the whole.

An investigation by the Prison Reform Trust last August found 77 out of Britain’s 131 prisons hold more inmates than authorised levels, in some cases nearly double their capacity.

Meanwhile, the prison population in Britain is expected to hit 85,000 by next year on current projections.

BGH/AMR/HE