Ministry of Justice
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Prisons Minister launches Titan consultation

Prisons Minister launches Titan consultation

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE News Release (048/08) issued by The Government News Network on 5 June 2008

A consultation on the development of up to three 2,500-place Titan prisons was launched today by Prisons Minister David Hanson MP.

Plans to build the prisons were announced last year as part of a further 10,500 places recommended in Lord Carter's review of prisons.

The Government is determined that the most serious, dangerous and persistent offenders should be in prison, with less serious offenders managed in the community where possible. It is committed to providing sufficient prison places to hold those who are sentenced and remanded by the courts. The current building programme aims to bring overall capacity of the prison estate to over 96,000 by 2014.

Ministers announced that they would consult on the development of Titans and their place in the wider strategy for the prison estate in the Prison Policy Update document at the beginning of the year.

David Hanson MP said:

"Our priority is to further reduce crime and to protect the public, and we want to make sure that we get this right. This consultation will allow us to hear from those with valuable views and experience, to help ensure that these prisons are planned and operated in the best way possible."

"We want Titan prisons to bring the resources we have to reduce re-offending together in one place. Our aim is to provide better value for money for the taxpayer and better opportunities to rehabilitate offenders so that they don't offend again. We have made clear from the outset these prisons will not be giant warehouses.

"They will include the latest developments in security measures, will build in ways of developing work programmes for prisoners and ensure that alongside a tough regime, offenders have the opportunity to change their ways through treatment, work and learning."

The consultation document, published today:

* sets out the Government's proposals for the development of a comprehensive strategy for the prison estate and the role which Titan prisons might play in that strategy;

* gives examples of up-to-date technology, improved physical security and intelligence sharing which could be built into Titans to aid the provision of efficient and effective regimes, such as biometric scanning, bar coding, and electronic door operation;
* develops Lord Carter's proposals for the specific roles which Titan prisons would play in the prison estate and describes the kinds of innovation in service delivery which the Government is seeking to secure;

* seeks views on the role of Titan prisons in refreshing the prison estate by providing opportunities to replace old accommodation which may no longer be fit for purpose; and

* sets out the Government's thinking on how large establishments should be managed in order to secure the maximum benefits;

The Government's strategy remains that the most serious offenders should be in prison. Where a tough community sentence can be more effective than a short prison sentence, it is right to use that sanction because it contributes to falling crime.

Last December £1.2bn was announced 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. In March, £40m was committed to ensure magistrates have tough community sentences at their disposal, and earlier this month the Community Sentences document was published to improve understanding of these disposals and highlight their effectiveness in cutting re-offending.

The consultation on Titan prisons will last for 12 weeks and end on 28 August. The results will be published before the end of the year.

Notes to Editors

1. The Titan consultation document was published at 9.30am on 5 June and is available on the Ministry of Justice website at:

2. A Written Ministerial Statement announcing the launch of the consultation is available at:

3. Lord Carter's review of prisons gives options for improving the balance between the supply of prison places and demand for them and recommendations on how this could be achieved. It was published on 5 December 2007 and is available at:

4. The Prisons Policy Update is a briefing paper which addresses the prison building programme announced in December 2007, and outlines the further steps to be taken in the specific areas of drugs, prison work and alternatives to custody. It was published on 31 January 2008 and is available at:

5. Since 1997 the government has increased prison capacity by over 20,000 places. In 2007 total capacity increased by around 1,700 places, of which 1,500 places were new build. In 2008, around 2,600 additional places will be delivered.

6. On 5 December 2007, in response to Lord Carter's review of prisons, the Government announced a further 10,500 places on top of 9,500 already announced. This includes up to three Titan prisons as recommended by Lord Carter. This increase in capacity gives the Government an opportunity to modernise the estate and close 5,000 old inefficient prison places.