Alarm as UK is running out of prison space

One senior official called the situation in prisons “dire” and “deeply troubling”.

Alarm as UK is running out of prison space

Alarm as uk is running out of prison spaceAuthorities in the UK are raising the alarm as prisons are expected to reach full capacity within days, warned the Prison Governors Association (PGA) in England and Wales on Tuesday.

“As this happens, courts and the police will no longer be able to freely and lawfully detain offenders,” said PGA in an open letter to political leaders in the UK.

“This will put the public at risk, as people who should be in prison are left to roam the streets,” added the PGA.

The latest data released by the UK’s Ministry of Justice shows that the prisoner population in the UK has reached 87,395, just 1,383 short of the total usable operational capacity.

On May 15, the UK government triggered Operation Early Dawn, delaying the start of some court cases across England. (Xinhua/NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

‘Deeply troubling’

BBC reports that The latest Ministry of Justice figures, published on Friday, show jails currently hold 87,395 inmates, with the total number of spaces standing at 88,778.

“Procrastination is not an option – this is happening now,” says the letter, seen exclusively by BBC News.

The letter is expected to be published later on Tuesday.

With nowhere for detained prisoners to go, cell spaces in courts and police custody suites will soon fill up – and as that space runs out, hopes of reducing the court backlog will also dwindle, leaving the criminal justice system unable to operate.

Sources in the Ministry of Justice have told BBC News officials and ministers have discussed invoking the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which gives ministers additional powers, such as releasing inmates earlier, in the event of a large-scale emergency.

But sources suggest this will not happen until after the election, if at all.

One senior official called the situation in prisons “dire” and “deeply troubling”.

 

NAN/BBC