Prison population nears capacity

The home secretary, John Reid, is holding emergency talks with senior prison and probation service officials as the prison population approaches full capacity.

As the number of prisoners incarcerated is expected to reach capacity of 80,000 within a week, an announcement is thought to be imminent from the Home Office on emergency measures to house excess prisoners.

One option – known as Operation Safeguard – is to use police cells to house up to 500 inmates.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Prison population nears capacity

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