Say No to the New Mega Prison in Wigan
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The Government has announced that there will be a new mega prison in Wigan, Greater Manchester. The new prison, to be built on the current site of HMP Hindley, is expected to have a capacity of more than 1,000 prisoners, consolidating the governments plans for a new generation of “mega” prisons in England and Wales. The sites of six new mega prisons have been announced since December 2016 and are part of a wider building programme to create up to 10,000 modern prison places by 2020.
The numbers of people sent to prison are spiralling out of control. England and Wales currently have the highest rate of imprisonment in Western Europe. Building more prisons is not the answer to the current crisis in the penal system.
Prisons are warehouses for people with mental health problems. Problematic drug usage is reportedly at epidemic levels in prisons. Through increasing demands on the NHS, a new prison inevitably leads to a deterioration in existing health services for local people.
A new prison also results in more children left without fathers or mothers, more elders left without carers and other members of the family, such as partners, suffering financial hardships.
Nor are new prisons very effective in terms of boosting community safety. Rather than reducing fear of ‘crime’ in local communities, prisons escalate a sense of insecurity amongst members of the public.
Rather than investing £1.3bn in re-building the prison estate, the government should be prioritising policies that radically reduce the number of people in prison. This could include meaningful jobs, social housing, healthcare, education, transport – for everyone
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