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Super-prisons could replace existing jails

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Jails such as Dartmoor, Wormwood Scrubs and Pentonville could be replaced by super prisons holding up to 3,000 inmates, following plans by an influential think-tank.

Around 30 of Britain’s most run-down prisons could be closed, making way for 12 ‘Justice villages’ or huge prison complexes, according to Policy Exchange.

The proposal, which could save the government £10 billion over 25 years, could see the inner city prisons becoming boutique hotels, as happened to Oxford prison 17 years ago.

Kevin Lockyer, a former governor of Bristol prison, and the report’s author, said: “We need to build larger, newer facilities that use the most up-to-date technology to monitor inmates. New hub prisons will not only reduce reoffending and improve safety, they will also deliver vast financial savings.”

The super-prisons would contain semi-independent units, including a remand centre, closed prison and an open jail.

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Prisoners would be tagged so that their movements could be tracked.

The report suggests closing Brixton, Feltham, Holloway, Pentonville, Wandsworth and Wormwood Scrubs Jails – all in London.

They would be replaced with three super-prisons on brownfield sites within the M25, financed through public borrowing.

Seven prisons have already closed this year, including Gloucester and Canterbury.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “With crime falling and community sentences and treatment to tackle addictions working to reduce reoffending, it would be a gigantic mistake to pour taxpayers’ money down a super-sized, big brother prison-building drain.

“There is scope to close some outdated prisons and reinvest the money saved into effective community solutions to crime.”

 

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Law & Politics

Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan

UK Police are asking the government for new surveillance powers to be able to view the Internet search history of every single person in the country.

Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman told The Guardian that “We want to police by consent, and we want to ensure that privacy safeguards are in place. But we need to balance this with the needs of the vulnerable and the victims. We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication – who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened. And a little bit of the ‘what’, were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?”

“Five years ago, [a suspect] could have physically walked into a bank and carried out a transaction. We could have put a surveillance team on that but now, most of it is done online. We just want to know about the visit,” he added.

It is likely that police are already looking at your online activity, but just want the power to do it legally. As we learned from whistleblower Edward Snowden, governments are very interested what their citizens are doing online, and they do have the technology to spy on every telephone call and Internet communication.

Police in the UK have been attempting to reach for these powers through legislation for years, but they have been blocked on multiple occasions. This new effort proves that they will not be giving up on getting legal permission for their spying programs.

MP David Davis told The Guardian “It’s extraordinary they’re asking for this again, they are overreaching and there is no proven need to retain such data for a year.”

Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the specifics of the plan during a meeting about the Government’s new surveillance bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

“I’ve said many times before that it is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them without also considering the threats that we face as a country,” May said.

“They include not just terrorism from overseas and home-grown in the UK, but also industrial, military and state espionage.They include not just organized criminality, but also the proliferation of once physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation. And the technological challenges that that brings. In the face of such threats we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job,” she added.

 

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