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Labour Vows to Tackle Prison Overcrowding with 14,000 New Spaces Amid Conservative ‘Mismanagement

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Labour pledges to create thousands of additional prison cells to address the overcrowding issue.

Labour criticizes the current state of prisons, attributing the crisis to neglect and poor management by the Conservative Party.

Political correspondent @fayebrownSky

Saturday, June 8, 2024, at 23

Labour has committed to creating 14,000 additional prison spots to address the issue of overcrowding, should they come into power.

The political party has revealed intentions to reform the planning process to facilitate the growth of prison infrastructure and alleviate overcrowding.

In recent months, inmates have been released from prison ahead of schedule as part of urgent actions to address a severe lack of available cells.

The issue of overcrowding has led to suspects being detained in police cells and requests for officers to reduce the number of arrests they make.

Labour has accused the Conservatives of neglect and poor management, leading to overcrowded prisons.

The Conservative Party had committed to establishing 20,000 additional prison spaces by the mid-2020s, yet to date, only 6,000 of these have been actualized.

Labour has pledged to fulfill the outstanding 14,000 promises should they come into power.

Shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood stated, "The situation in our prisons is a ticking time bomb about to detonate. Moreover, this predicament was entirely avoidable."

"The alarming issue of prison overcrowding was both predictable and preventable, yet the current administration lacked the determination or bravery to address it."

She stated, "We will construct the prison facilities they pledged but failed to provide, and we will reduce the rate of repeat offenses."

Plans are in place to increase capacity through both the enlargement of existing facilities and the construction of new prisons.

The Labour Party intends to classify prisons as nationally significant infrastructures, which would grant ministers the authority to make planning decisions, thereby accelerating the approval process.

In 2019, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to adding 10,000 new prison spaces by 2025, building on the 10,000 spaces previously promised by his predecessor, Theresa May, in 2016.

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The 2021 Spending Review confirmed the government's pledge to allocate £3.8 million towards creating 20,000 new prison spaces by the mid-2020s.

However, the initiative has been hindered by regulatory barriers, with indications that the additional spaces won't be available until 2030.

Further Reading: Inmates might be released over two months ahead of schedule to alleviate overcrowding, as assaults on prison staff increase significantly.

The Labour Party is suggesting the formation of employment councils, which would consist of prison governors and local business leaders. These councils would aim to decrease reoffending rates by connecting inmates with training opportunities and employment, ultimately easing long-term prison overcrowding.

In its latest pledge on public safety, the party plans to establish 80 dedicated courts for handling rape cases in England and Wales, aiming to expedite proceedings. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to combat violence against women and girls, which will be featured in Labour's manifesto this week.

The plan will include a commitment to establish dedicated rape response teams within each police department, staffed by personnel specifically trained in handling domestic abuse cases, according to information obtained by Sky News.

Stay informed on current events from the UK and globally by tuning into Sky News.

A spokesperson for the Conservative Party asserted that the party has presided over the most significant growth of the prison system since the Victorian times.

They also noted: "The previous Labour administration released 80,000 offenders prematurely and did not follow through on their commitments to construct new prison facilities.

"Under Keir Starmer's leadership, the Labour Party has consistently opposed additional funding for the police and the implementation of stricter sentencing."

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This Sunday, the Conservatives will be centering their campaign efforts on welfare reforms, aimed at encouraging employment to reduce spending on benefits, although they have also committed to initiatives concerning law and order.

As the Liberal Democrats shift their focus to health and care issues, they are committing to address the problem of ambulance delays before unveiling their party manifesto next week.

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