The government plans to build three giant “Titan” prisons by 2014, it said in a report published on Wednesday.
Jack Straw, the justice minister, said he had secured an extra £1.2bn in funding for a building programme to increase jail capacity to 96,000 in the next six years.
The report, carried out by Lord Carter, recommended the construction of three large-scale prisons, each providing space for 2,500 offenders.
The Titan prisons would provide better value for money and shorter overall construction timescales than a number of smaller sites, the report said.
As Building went to press, it was unclear whether the prisons would be built through the PFI route.
Lord Carter added that short-term measures were also needed, including quick building on existing prison sites.
John Frankiewicz, chief operating officer at Willmott Dixon, which is on the prison framework, said: “Creating these places on top of existing expansion plans will be an exciting challenge.”