The news prompted protests from penal campaigners but a defiant response from the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, who said jail remained an effective crime deterrent. The rapid rise in the jail population is a result of the Government's emphasis on locking up offenders and encouragement to courts to hand out stiffer sentences.
The Prison Service said it could accommodate the population within the existing estate, which has a total capacity of 61,190. However, it added that new accommodation, including the prison ship HMP Weare, would be needed to take account of future increases. Prison officials are seeking sites for 12 new jails to cope with the growing numbers of inmates.Reuse content