Prison contract bids 'depend on enlightened regimes'

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THE GOVERNMENT yesterday said that private security firms bidding to take over prisons will have to show that they can run an 'enlightened regime', writes Nick Cohen.

Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, said that companies and a consortium of civil servants competing for the contract to manage Strangeways jail, Manchester, must prove they can give prisoners as much time as possible out of cells, clean clothes, hot showers, regular meals and 'purposeful' work and education.

The Strangeways contract released yesterday is the first to invite rival tenders from in- house groups of prison department officials and private companies. It is likely to be a model for contracts to manage the 15 or 20 prisons which will be privatised under the Home Office programme.

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