Housing Prisoners in Court Cells Costs More than the Ritz

May 14, 2007 12:00 AM

The overcrowding crisis in Britain's prisons has meant that the Government has been forced to house prisoners in court cells at greater expense than if they had booked them luxury rooms at the Ritz, the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

77 prisoners have spent one night in court cells this year at a cost of £120,000. Once VAT is included that figure rises to more than £140,000.

That equates to more than £1800 for every night's stay of a prisoner in a court cell, more than a deluxe suite at the Ritz.

Commenting, Jenny Willott MP said:

"These figures start to show the wider costs of the Government's prison's overcrowding crisis.

"A standard prison cell is already extremely expensive, costing more than enough to keep an extra police officer on patrol.

"But now the overcrowding crisis is costing us so much we might as well be putting prisoners up in the Ritz. Prisons in Wales, are at record levels of overcrowding - 42% over their capacity.

"The Government's failure to manage the prison population is to blame for this absurd waste of money."

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