We force government to release secret prison report

Monday, 24 July 2017

Our Senior Associate, Rebecca Roberts, finally won her six month battle with the Ministry of Justice to release a report about the purported economic benefits new prisons brings to local economies. The disclosure of the report followed an investigation by the Information Commissioner's office. You can download the report below.

The report, Economic Impact of a New Prison, written by consultants Peter Brett Associates, was referenced in planning applications in relation to the proposed construction of a number of new prisons, including at Wellingborough, Full Sutton and Glen Parva.

In March 2017 the Ministry of Justice announced plans for four new prisons in Yorkshire (Full Sutton), Wigan, Rochester and Neath Port Talbot.

According to the Ministry's statement, the proposed new prisons will 'act as a boost to regional economies across the country - creating up to 2,000 jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries and new opportunities for local businesses.'

The report, Economic Impact of a New Prison informed these projections.

The report calculates an estimate of the economic impact of a new prison on a local district through these processes:

  1. Direct impacts from local residents being employed at the new prison and the income these jobs generate.
  2. Indirect impacts from jobs and income generated through the prison purchasing local goods and services.
  3. Induced impacts from jobs and income generated by prison employees and visitors spending on local goods and services.
  4. Second round multiplier effects, which are the effects of consequent rounds of spending from the initial injection in the local economy.

Rebecca Roberts said:

We'll be analysing this report, upon which the Ministry of Justice has made grand claims about the benefits of new prisons in terms of jobs and the local economy. 

Studies from the USA indicate that prisons generally fail to provide long term economic prosperity, jobs and benefits to local communities.

We are keen to establish whether this is the situation here too.

Would you like to help us analysis the report

We're looking for economists, planning and policy specialists to help us analyse the report and produce an assessment of it.

If you would like to contribute, please email