Canterbury prison to close
Canterbury Prison holds
around 300 inmates
Canterbury is one of six prisons in England to close, it's been
The Ministry of Justice said the jails will be shut as
the government plans to start work on what would be Britain's
It would hold 2,000 inmates in either London, the
north west or north Wales.
Built in 1808, Canterbury holds foreign national prisoners
serving up to five years with an expectation of removal. It holds
around 300 inmates.
The Prison Independent Monitoring Board has described it as
With an annual budget of £7.2million, each prisoner
costs an average of £39,000 a year.
Since 2006, it has accommodated only foreign prisoners -
including many drug smugglers - and former Pakistan cricket
captain Salman Butt, who was convicted of match fixing in November
2011 and jailed for 30 months. He was released last June.
There was controversy in 2009 when it was revealed the
prison had spent £17,000 on installing new showers and squat
toilets for its Muslim inmates.
Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We have to bring down the cost of
our prison system, much of which is old and expensive.
"But I never want the courts to be in a position where they
cannot send a criminal to prison because there is no place
available. So we have to move as fast as we can to replace the
older parts of our prison system.
"That’s why we are moving ahead with immediate plans for new
prison capacity, as well as closing older and more expensive
Charity the Howard League for Penal Reform criticised the plans
as a "titanic waste of money" that will do nothing to cut
Chief executive Frances Cook said: "The truth is that the
government knows that there are far too many people in prison who
shouldn't be there, with the prison population having doubled since
"In particular, far more people who have committed non-violent
crimes have been put on pointless sentences of six months or
"These people should receive community sentences, which are
approximately 10 times cheaper and are far more successful in
turning people away from crime."
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