IN a move the UK Treasury said will make the the prison system in Britain ‘fit for purpose for the 21st Century,’ nine new jails are to be opened in England and Wales and they will replace Victorian prisons which will be sold for housing.
The announcement comes ahead of Chancellor George Osborne´s spending review which is set for November 25. The new facilities will house around 10,000 inmates and the plan is expected to make a saving of about £80 million (€111.9 million) each year.
The programme is expected to cost £1 billion (€1.4 billion) and the Victorian sites could be turned into over 3,000 new homes.
The Chancellor said, “This spending review is about reform as much as it is about making savings. One important step will be to modernise the prison estate. So many of our jails are relics from Victorian times on prime real estate in our inner cities.”
One Reading prison which was closed in 2013 will be the first to be sold according to the government who have not yet revealed the other sites. Two prisons in London, Pentonville and Brixton, are thought to be among the other sites to be up for sale.
“We will close old, outdated prisons in city centres, and sell the sites to build thousands of much-needed new homes,” added Osborne.