Onley prison competition and capacity announcement by the Ministry of Justice

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A COMPETITION strategy for the management of nine prisons and the closure of two prison sites has been announced by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke.

In the autumn the management of HMPs Onley near Rugby, Lindholme, Moorland, Hatfield, The Wolds, Acklington, Castington, Durham and Coldingley will be subject to competition.

The Wolds is a prison currently run by G4S that has come to the end of its current contract; the other eight prisons are public sector establishments being competed for the first time.

The prisons have been selected by the National Offender Management Service to balance the need to increase efficiency and to make real the policy intent of the department’s Green Paper, Breaking The Cycle.

HMP Latchmere House and HMP Brockhill will close in September. This will see a reduction of 377 prison spaces. This is part of an overall programme which includes a further 2,500 new prison places becoming available over the next 12 months. The closure of these places will provide estimated cost savings of £4.9m this year and an on-going annual saving of £11.4m.

A spokesman said: “We expect to be able to absorb staff displaced by this process elsewhere in the system and to avoid the use of compulsory redundancies.

Our approach to competition within Offender Services, and to changes to the prison estate, is an important part of our strategy to improve the efficiency and value for money of our services.”

“Decisions about which prisons were selected for competition or closure was based on a wide range of criteria including the potential for efficiency improvements, service reform and innovation, not on the basis of poor performance.

“Changes resulting from the competition and capacity announcements will not compromise public safety or reduce the quality of our services - we will always ensure there are sufficient prison places for offenders sentenced to custody by the courts.”

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke said: “The public have a right to expect continuing improvement in the quality and efficiency of public services, without compromising public safety. The competition strategy and adjustments to the prison estate will help ensure that this is the case.”