The government will run out of prison spaces within six years even if judges start jailing fewer criminals, official estimates revealed today.
The Home Office statistics also forecast that the prison population is set to rise to more than 100,000 for the first time – a prospect one prison reformer described as “gulag Britain”.
But there is doubt about whether the system can cope with such an increase.
Today’s estimates show that if current sentencing trends continue, the Prison Service will be nearly 6,000 spaces short by November 2011, even after home secretary John Reid’s commitment last week to increase prison capacity by 8,000 places.
Even more prisons needed, Reid told