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Foreign Prison Rental to Ensure Public Protection

The Justice Secretary Alex Chalk has announced new measures that will allow the government to rent prison cells overseas to ensure dangerous offenders can be locked up for longer

Foreign Prison Rental to Ensure Public Protection
Foreign Prison Rental to Ensure Public Protection

The average prison sentence has increased by 57% since 2010 and other sentencing changes have been made to ensure the most serious offenders spend longer behind bars.

To meet this demand the government has embarked on the biggest prison expansion programme in over a century, including 6 new prisons, to create an additional 20,000 places.

Around 5,500 of these places have already been built and an additional 2,400 places have been created in the existing prison estate since September last year by doubling up on cell occupancy where it is safe to do so and delaying non-urgent maintenance work.

The Justice Secretary unveiled the government will now also enter exploratory discussions with potential partner countries in Europe to rent prison space abroad.

Agreements would mean that prisoners in the UK could be moved to another country’s prison estate provided the facilities, regime and rehabilitation provided meet British standards. This is similar to steps taken by Belgium and Norway which have used foreign prison places in the Netherlands in the last decade.

The government will legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows to enable any future arrangements and will require that conditions are to the same standard as prisons in England and Wales.


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