Armley Jail could be closed and sold off for housing as part of Government plans to build new prisons.
The prison, named as one of the most overcrowded in the country earlier this year, faces an uncertain future after the government announced nine new prisons will open in England and Wales – five by 2020 – under plans to close Victorian jails and sell them for housing.
Chancellor George Osborne and Justice Secretary Michael Gove unveiled the £1 billion plans today ahead of a visit to the Victorian prison in Brixton.
HMP Reading, built in 1844 and closed in 2013, will be first to be sold, according to the Treasury announcement. Names of other prisons have not yet been released – but Armley Jail’s future is understood to be hanging in the balance.
Mr Osborne told the BBC the proposals are part of a spending review which could save the Government £80 million a year but were also aimed at having a prison system “fit for purpose in the 21st century:
“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.
“So we are going to reform the infrastructure of our prison system, building new institutions which are modern, suitable and rehabilitative. And we will close old, outdated prisons in city centres, and sell the sites to build thousands of much-needed new homes.”
It’s expected a decision on naming the remaining jails will be made in the next few months.
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