the headline could easily be rewritten as: "Neue Arbeit cuts Armed Forces to ensure Convicted Criminals are well looked after". No doubt the accommodation will be updated first!The Telegraph said:Prisoners 'to be housed in RAF camp'
Last Updated: 4:46pm GMT 25/01/2007
The consequences of rhetoric without action
An RAF camp in the north of England is to be used to house convicts as part of measures to relieve the prison overcrowding crisis, Home Secretary John Reid has said.
Jails in England are at capacity
Mr Reid told a Westminster lunch that he was also in negotiations over the purchase of two prison ships.
And he said building had started on prefab units to go into a prison in the Merseyside constituency of Labour MP George Howarth (Knowsley North and Sefton East).
Mr Reid did not disclose the exact location of the RAF camp, but said: "We are in active negotiations and we will be getting it."
The Home Secretary told reporters at the lunch that he was "in the course of negotiating the final deal for two ships" and that "we have actually started building prefab units going into a prison in the constituency of George Howarth".
The announcements came as Mr Reid was taking increasing criticism for allowing jails in England and Wales to reach full capacity, with more than 80,000 inmates.
Hundreds of prisoners are being housed overnight in police stations and even court cells, as prison governors have to turn them away.
Mr Reid said that he had located an empty military camp in Dover, Kent, with planning permission allowing it to be converted into a prison camp for 400 offenders.
But he decided not to press ahead with the plan after finding it was 400 yards from a school attended by sons and daughters of troops currently serving in Afghanistan.
"I think it was the right decision," he said. "I think we owe something to those who have gone to Afghanistan. I knew it would put our plans back by a few months."
The announcement comes after Tony Blair yesterday conceded that prisoners might have to be released early to free places in the country's overcrowded jails.