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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

February 1, 2008: First New Public Prison In A Decade

The first prison to be built under the new prison building scheme is being officially opened today by Prisons Minister the Rt. Hon David Hanson MP.

He opened HMP Kennet in Merseyside, the first public prison in a decade, which took its first offender six months ago, and is now operating at a capacity that can hold up to 342 prisoners. HMP Kennet is a Category C male prison. Since July 2007 HMP Kennet has been taking prisoners and reached operating capacity by the end of 2007.

The Minister also visited the privately run prison HMP Altcourse to see a new block for 180 prisoners. HMP Altcourse is Category B local prison for young offenders and adult male prisoners. It was the first PFI [private finance initiative] prison, opening in December 1997 and is run by GSL UK Limited.

David Hanson said:

'I am delighted to open HMP Kennet today and see the building programme progressing not only through new prisons but in additional capacity at prisons across England and Wales.

'In response to Lord Carter's review in December, we announced a further 10,500 places on top of the 9,500 already confirmed. This includes up to three Titans as recommended by Lord Carter. Since 1997 the government has increased prison capacity by more than 20,000 places.

'It is vital we ensure there are prison places for those serious and dangerous offenders who ought to be in prison and as can be seen here we are delivering on that commitment. But we must equally ensure that courts have tough community sentences at their disposal to deal with less serious, non-violent offenders.

'There are people in prison who ought not to be there, including those with mental health issues and vulnerable women. We are looking closely at how we use prison so we can focus our resources where they can be most effective, ensuring that we properly protect the public from dangerous individuals, rehabilitate offenders and reduce reoffending.'

The Minister's visit follows the Justice Secretary Jack Straw's visit to HMP Wandsworth yesterday where he announced a package of measures to tackle reoffending and address some of the concerns at the heart of the criminal justice debate.

Lord Carter of Coles published his review into prisons and sentences on 5 December 2007 and the government announced its aim to achieve an overall net capacity of just over 96,000 by 2014. This increase in capacity gives the government an opportunity to modernise the estate and close 5,000 old inefficient prison places.

The government committed £1.2 billion to cover the capital and running costs of additional prison places coming on stream in the next spending review period, as well as funding for offenders to be managed in the community..