Tories: We need more prisons

The Conservative party is considering the idea of building more prisons if elected at the next general election, shadow home secretary David Davis has confirmed.

Mr Davis explained that the Tories were planning to transfer the reported £15 billion being used by the government to fund the new nationwide ID card scheme to the construction of new prisons and general expansion of the service.

However, although he was “quite sure” the UK needed more prisons to deal with overcrowded inmate populations, he played down reports that the idea was to use the entirety of the ID card budget.

“If you spend £15 billion you have a prison on every street almost,” he told BBC One’s Sunday AM.

But Mr Davis stressed the importance of reducing overcrowding in prisons in order to lower reoffending rates.

He commented: “At the moment, if you are a prisoner and let’s say you can’t read, you haven’t got any skills, you are addicted to crack cocaine, to sort out any of those problems takes time in a prison.

“And if you are being transferred after three or four weeks to another prison, then to another prison, you never complete that. So actually to do the job of a decent and humane, as well as effective prisons system, you need more prisons,” he added.

Mr Davis admitted he did not know the exact number of new prisons that was needed but pledged to also develop “a better rehabilitation rate”.

The shadow home secretary also added to the debate surrounding embattled Metropolitan police commissioner Ian Blair.

“We cannot have this as a permanent sort of Damocles finger at the commissioner – either exonerate him or replace him,” he commented.

Speaking on the same programme, Mr Davis concluded that the Conservative party was also looking to return to “honest” sentencing, following last week’s news that child sex offender Craig Sweeney will only serve five years in jail despite receiving a life sentence.