London, Nov 9 (IANS) Nine new prisons are set to be built in England and Wales under plans to close Victorian jails and sell them for housing, the British government announced on Monday.
The reforms, part of Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review, would make the prison system “fit for purpose in the 21st century”, the Treasury said.
About 10,000 prisoners will be transferred to new institutions, saving an estimated 80 million pounds (about $120 million) a year in reduced costs, The Guardian reported.
Out of the nine, five jails are expected to be opened by 2020.
More than 3,000 new homes could be built on the city centre sites of the old jails, the Treasury added.
“This spending review is about reform as much as it is about making savings. One important step will be to modernise the prison estate. So many of our jails are relics from Victorian times on prime real estate in our inner cities,” Osbourne said.
“We are going to reform the infrastructure of our prison system, building new institutions which are modern, suitable and rehabilitative. And we will close old, outdated prisons in city centres, and sell the sites to build thousands of much-needed new homes.”