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Essex: Ministry of Justice announced plans to close part of Chelmsford Prison

PUBLISHED: 10:30 10 January 2013 | UPDATED: 10:30 10 January 2013

OPTIMISM: Chelmsford Prison, where the Toe by Toe Reading Plan operated by the Shannon Trust and backed enthusiastically by the jail authorities is making a huge difference to inmates with poor levels of literacy

OPTIMISM: Chelmsford Prison, where the Toe by Toe Reading Plan operated by the Shannon Trust and backed enthusiastically by the jail authorities is making a huge difference to inmates with poor levels of literacy

WHITEHALL has announced the partial closure of Chelmsford jail amid a major programme to update Britain’s prison estate.

The Ministry of Justice said today (Thursday) the Essex prison would be one of three jails where some accommodation is closed.

Six further prisons - including Bullwood Hall, Hockley - will be shut entirely.

An MoJ spokesman said: “The new developments will allow the Ministry of Justice to close six smaller, older and more expensive prisons, and to close parts of three others.”

It comes as the department said it was starting a feasibility study on building what would be Britain’s biggest jail, housing more than 2,000 prisoners.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We have to bring down the cost of our prison system, much of which is old and expensive.

“But I never want the courts to be in a position where they cannot send a criminal to prison because there is no place available. So we have to move as fast as we can to replace the older parts of our prison system.

“That’s why we are moving ahead with immediate plans for new prison capacity, as well as closing older and more expensive facilities.”

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