With everything going on in the world right now, you might have missed the government’s announcement of four new prisons in England as part of a £2.5bn programme.
According to the Ministry of Justice, the jails “are at the heart of the government’s commitment to 10,000 additional prison places” and will help improve rehabilitation.
But apparently that’s not all. In a tweet on Sunday, the government claimed it was building the prisons to “help local economies” and support the construction industry.
This reasoning went down about as well as you might expect.
Andy Bell, deputy chief executive of the mental health charity Centre for Mental Health, had this to say: “Disappointing to see this announcement; prisons don’t achieve rehabilitation, they harm mental health, they separate families & they cost money better spent on community-based services.
“We urgently need evidence-based policymaking with mental health in all decisions.|
Meanwhile, some people had suggestions of other projects that might achieve the government’s aims:
Announcing the scheme, prisons and probation minister Lucy Frazer said the jails formed a major part of the government’s plans to transform the prison estate “and create environments where offenders can be more effectively rehabilitated and turned away from crime for good”.
She added: “As well as a boost to our justice system, these prisons will create thousands of new jobs and send a clear signal that the government can and will continue to invest in the vital infrastructure this country needs.”
According to the Ministry of Justice, the first new prison will be built next to HMP Full Sutton in East Yorkshire.
Another prison will be built in the north-west of England, plus two more in the south-east, but none of them has a site yet.