The next steps in the privatisation of prisons in England and Wales were announced today by the Ministry of Justice.
Competition to run four prisons will go forward to the next stage. These are:
- HMP Northumberland (an amalgam of HMPs Castington and Acklington).
- HMP Moorland.
- HMP Hatfield.
- HMP Lindholme.
The three remaining bidders in the frame for these are Sodexo, Serco and MTC/Amey.
Three further prisons will remain in the public sector after the Ministry of Justice judged that a 'compelling package of reforms for delivering cost reduction, improvements to regimes and a working prisons model' was not forthcoming. These are:
- HMP Coldingley.
- HMP Durham.
- HMP Onley.
One further prison - HMP Wolds - is to return to the public sector next year, having been run by G4S since 1992.
Given the controversy that has dogged G4S since the Olympics fiasco, this is not entirely a surprise. A critical report by the prisons inspectorate in August this year can also not have helped G4S' cause.
The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling 'does not rule further prison-by-prison competitions in the future'. For the moment, however, the ongoing privatisation of prisons in England and Wales appears to be slowing.