Category Archives: Private Prisons

Private Finance “Could Fund Four More Prisons” Says Minister

Private funding could be used to develop a further four prisons in the Government’s project to provide 10,000 new places for inmates, a justice minister has said.

Rory Stewart told MPs a range of funding arrangements is being explored, including private finance, but no decision has been taken.

His remarks came after he previously confirmed the funding plan for two of the six prisons to be developed under the project, costed at £1.3 billion last year.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon asked what the extra costs would be to the Ministry of Justice by using private finance initiative (PFI) to build new prisons and questioned if the maintenance work would be outsourced.

Asking an urgent question in the Commons, the Labour MP also said: “Will the minister allow any of the companies under a serious fraud investigation for overcharging the Ministry of Justice – that’s Serco and G4S – to bid to run the new prisons?”

Mr Stewart replied: “The first prison – Wellingborough – the construction will be funded by public capital.

“The second prison, which is Glen Parva, will be funded through private finance initiative.

“We’re exploring a range of other funding arrangements, including private finance, for the remaining four prisons but we’re yet to achieve a resolution on that.

“On the question of who we would like to bid, of course we will be looking for legal liable bidders.

“But I’d like to emphasise the key here is about getting quality and diversity into the estate.

“We don’t want, we believe, to be overly ideological about this – we believe in a mixed estate.”

Mr Stewart said there are currently some “excellent” public sector prisons, while also praising Serco’s work at HMP Thameside in London and G4S at HMP Altcourse, near Liverpool.

Tory former justice secretary Ken Clarke said the question of whether a prison is financed and operated privately or publicly was an “ideological irrelevance”, as he urged Mr Stewart to “get rid of the older, slum, overcrowded prisons” so new prisons can provide the “quality of security and rehabilitation that the public deserve”.

Mr Stewart said: “We have to be absolutely clear that people who ought to be in prison must be in prison and properly housed in prison and we must work to turn their lives around.”

MPs also raised concerns about the potential risks posed by some outsourcing companies.

Labour former minister Diana Johnson asked for reassurance that “if Capita come forward bidding for any of these contracts and score a risk of 10 out of 10, that they won’t be awarded the contract?”.

Mr Stewart said her general point was “difficult to disagree with”, adding: “From the Ministry of Justice, when assessing bids, we will very much be taking into account the financial viability of the company bidding.”

HMP Forest Bank – A well-led local prison

HMP Forest Bank continues to manage the challenges it faces well and had improved further, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. However, the needs of some marginalised groups of prisoners merited further attention, he added. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the local prison in Greater Manchester. Forest Bank holds… Continue Reading

HMYOI Parc Juvenile Unit – Much good work with children, but some safety concern

There was much to commend at Parc, but they needed to understand why safety had declined and act upon it, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an announced inspection of the young people’s unit at the local prison in South Wales. [previous report] Parc juvenile unit is a… Continue Reading

Prisoner charged with murder

A prisoner has been charged with the murder of an inmate. Darren Ashcroft, 35, died in hospital on Friday after police were called to a reported assault at HMP Altcourse in Fazakerley, Liverpool. Michael Kier, 41, of HMP Altcourse, is accused of murder and will appear at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday, said Merseyside Police.… Continue Reading


The juvenile unit at Parc was working well with the young people it held, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the young people’s unit at the prison and young offender institution in South Wales. The juvenile unit at Parc is a separate part of the much… Continue Reading

Serco criticised over Doncaster Prison

A privately-run prison, HMP Doncaster, has been heavily criticised for locking up inmates in cells without electricity or running water for more than two days. The prison, which is run by security giant Serco, is the latest jail to be slammed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) after inspectors found its “performance was in… Continue Reading

HMP Dovegate Therapeutic Community – Working Effectively to Reduce The Risk of Reoffending

HMP Dovegate’s Therapeutic Community was doing some good work with prisoners to reduce the risk they posed, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the facility at the Staffordshire jail. The Dovegate Therapeutic Community (TC) is a distinct institution holding up to 200 men, contained within the… Continue Reading

G4S Accused Of Shocking Prisoner Abuse

Staff at one of South Africa’s most dangerous prisons, run by British firm G4S, have been accused of “shocking” abuses and of losing control. The South African government has temporarily taken over the running of Mangaung prison from G4S and launched an official investigation. It comes after inmates claimed they had been subjected to electric… Continue Reading

Scandal-Hit Serco Chief Resigns

Serco chief executive Christopher Hyman has resigned, the scandal-hit services company has announced. Mr Hyman quit as the firm attempted to rebuild its relationship with the Government following controversies over its handling of key contracts. He said: “I have always put the interests of Serco first. At this time, nothing is more important to me… Continue Reading

Roof-Top Protest At Under-Fire Private Prison

Prisoners have made it on to the roof at a privately run jail in the West Midlands only recently criticised by inspectors for its poor safety levels – causing experts to repeat their calls for the management of the prison to be removed from private prisons company G4S. Three male inmates are on the roof… Continue Reading