The Government plans to build nine new prisons by 2020 but has not revealed where they are to be built. Nine Victorian prisons in city centres will be closed and the sites sold for valuable housing redevelopment.
It's not clear who will foot the £1 - 2 billion bill for five large prisons to replace them. As more and more non-domestic property is turned into new housing, the Government must come up with new ways of funding these schemes. Developers could be asked to enter into forward funding agreements whereby a private developer agrees to build the new jail in return for inheriting the valuable property at a later date.
Prison sources have suggested the funding scheme could involve a form of "lend lease" agreement in which developers agree to build a new jail in advance, in order to inherit the valuable city centre sites at a later date. Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the shadow justice secretary, said: "Too many of our prisons are not fit for purpose so we support modernising the estate and we will look at the details of these proposals. "But we have heard similar promises before and the Coalition Government ended up selling high performing prisons and increasing pressure on an already over-crowded system."