§ Mr. Chris Davies
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give an estimate of the number of places for prisoners in HM prisons in each of the years 1996 to 2006. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. Chris Davies, dated 20 November 1996:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of places for prisoners in each of the years 1996 to 2006.625WAccommodation is defined as Planning CNA in use, which excludes places taken out of use for refurbishment and simple sanitation projects, and a small operating margin. It represents the total number of uncrowded places estimated to be available in the estate. It is not the operational capacity, which is the number of prisoners the estate can hold without serious risk to good order, security and the proper running of regimes and which allows for overcrowding. At the end of October 1996 Operational Capacity was 58,977 compared to a total prison population of 57,587.The latest available accommodation estimate includes new prisons at Fazakerley, Bridgend, and the proposed new prison at Agecroft as well as the re-built Lowdham Grange, all of which will be constructed under the private finance initiative. Also included is the increase in capacity to meet the recent rise in the prison population.626WOver the longer term, further permanent measures will be required to hold the projected prison population. The size of the building programme and funding requirements are under discussion in the current Public Expenditure Round.The forecast also excludes additional places to be built as set out in the White Paper to hold the increase in the prison population resulting from the Crime (Sentences) Bill.The forecast is shown below.
Years Accommodation 1995–96 48,350 1996–97 51,450 1997–98 54,800 1998–99 57,100 1999–00 58,550 2000–01 to 2005–06 58,550 in each year