Scrapping of Titan plan could mark a return to privately funded jails

The UK's plans for three giant new prisons look likely to be spiked in favour of five smaller, privately funded jails.

The UK’s Justice Secretary Jack Straw is expected to announce today a decision to abandon a £1.3 billion plan to build three 50 acre 2,500-capacity “Titan prisons” in favour of five smaller, privately-backed,  prisons.

Only two of the five replacement prisons, holding 1,500 prisoners each, will go ahead immediately, sources told The Guardian newspaper, and the prisons are likely to be funded through private finance initiatives.

The move reflects a report published last month by Tory think tank, Centre for Social Justice, which called for Titan to be scrapped. It cited evidence that the scale of the prisons meant that prisoners were more likely to be “unsafe” and that reoffending rates were likely to be higher than in smaller prisons.

Straw is expected to reveal the plans in a speech at 3.30pm UK time.