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The proposals, which are subject to planning permission, would involve building new wings and refurbishing old prison space, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). However, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael slammed the scheme saying it was the cost of the Conservative “failure on crime”.
He said: “This is the cost of the Conservatives’ failure on crime.
“The UK already has more people in prison than any other country in Western Europe.
“And now the Government is spending an extra £4 billion because crime is rising.
“These new places won’t even do anything to reduce the huge overcrowding in prisons.
“Because of the rising prison population.”
The Orkney & Shetland MP added: “Only by ending overcrowding can we rehabilitate prisoners properly and break the cycle of reoffending.
“Just building more prison cells won’t do anything to make our communities safer.
“Instead of trying to sound tough, ministers should focus on restoring effective community policing where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime.”
The plans for the 4,000 additional prison places are part of the Government’s pledge to create 20,000 prison places by the mid-2020s.
According to the MOJ, several prisons, including Norwich, Liverpool and Birmingham, are set to be refurbished.
Other prisons that will receive new blocks include Bullingdon, Channings Wood, Elmley, Highpoint, Hindley, Wayland, Guys Marsh, High Down.
Mr Rabb, who became Justice Secretary in September 2021, said the scheme was part of the Government’s strategy to deter crime as well as protecting the public.
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He said: “Our prison-building programme will deliver an extra 20,000 prison places by the mid-2020s to punish offenders, deter crime and protect the public.
“We are also overhauling the prison regime, using prison design, in cell technology, abstinence-based drug rehabilitation and work to drive down reoffending.”
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