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Government to scrap prison building plans

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Justice minister Ken Clarke is today expected to announce an end to government plans to build new prisons

The decision means an end to Labour’s plans for five super ‘Titan’ prisons, the first of which was to be built in London.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, tasked with making £2 billion worth of savings from his budget, will instead unveil plans to reduce the prisons population, staving off the need for higher capacity.

The Labour government planned to boost prison capacity to 96,000 by 2014. The current prison population is continuing to grow and now stands at approximately 85,000.

It appears Clarke has listened to pleas from groups such as the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) which last month urged an immediate moratorium on the building of new jails. The PRT claimed each new prison place would cost £170,000 to build and maintain, adding the strategy would nothing to reduce re-offending and, consequently, overcrowding.

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