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.
prison building programme
The Ministry of Justice spent nearly £140,000 on water, gas, electricity and other utility bills for the closed Holloway prison site, between August 2016 and February 2017, we can reveal.
The information came in a Freedom of Information request we submitted to the Ministry of Justice in February.
Holloway prison was closed by the government in July 2016. Between its closure and February this year, the government has spent:
Last week, the Evening Standard reported that property agents, Savills, have been awarded a contract to review the possibility of closing and redeveloping London prison sites.
Prison sites the company will review, the paper reports, include Brixton, Pentonville and Feltham. The company will consider a number of options, including keeping the prisons open, or converting them to alternative uses, such as housing.
Our Director, Richard Garside, has written to the Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, calling for her to publish a secret Ministry of Justice report on the economic impact of new prisons.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice announced plans to build four new prisons in Yorkshire, Wigan, Rochester and Port Talbot. According to the Ministry, the new prisons will 'act as a boost to regional economies' and create 'new opportunities for local businesses.'
We need innovative design and the end of prison as we know it, argues Richard Rowley
The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has called on the Government to publish its evidence that new prisons will bring jobs and economic growth.
The call came in reaction to news that the Government plans to build four new prisons across England and Wales, claiming they will create at least 2,000 jobs.
Speaking today, the Centre's Director, Richard Garside, said:
In the latest issue of Red Pepper magazine our Senior Policy Associate Rebecca Roberts writes about the closure of Holloway prison and the Centre's two year project to develop a Community Plan for the site.
In an article for the OpenDemocracy website, our Senior Policy Associate, Rebecca Roberts, has criticised the government's plans to expand the prison system by 10,000 places and build new prisons, arguing that it will do little to solve the ongoing crisis in the system.
Rebecca describes how the prison reform programme is part of the wider public sector reform of asset stripping, privatisation and deregulation in which the burden of austerity is imposed on individual prison governors under the guise of greater autonomy.
Building magazine examines progress on the government's new-build prisons programme concluding that the sale of 'old Victorian' prisons is unlikely to be a 'cash cow' for the Treasury.
The article questions the profitability and viability of closing and selling old prisons to fund new prisons. Complications include the cooling of the property market, the pressure from local authorities to maximise affordable homes on prison sites, and the high costs of redeveloping listed buildings.
The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies' Director, Richard Garside, has welcomed hints that the new Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, might be rethinking plans for 'reform prisons'.
Speaking yesterday at the House of Commons Justice Committee, Liz Truss said that she was not yet ready to commit to new legislation. She also indicated that she wanted to take her time to reassess existing plans.
Any incoming Secretary of State will want to review their predecessor's plans before committing to them.