Spending Review 2015: Sale of courts and prisons could release land for over 5,000 homes

The government is to invest £1.3bn over the next five years to reform and modernise the prison estate, as it aims to reduce running costs by £80m a year.

Osborne announced the investment as he confimed the overhaul of the UK’s prison and court estates in his Spending Review, which will also release land for over 5,000 homes.

The country’s old Victorian prisons - now considered inadequate and sitting on prime land - will be sold to free up land for over 3,000 new homes, while underused courts will be closed as part of the ongoing rationalisation of the court estate under the HM Courts and Tribunal Service reform programme. The first prison to go under the hammer Osborne said will be Holloway.

As previously announced nine new prisons are to be built - five during the life of the current parliament and four shortly after – which will be cheaper to run and suited to reforming offenders.

A new prison to be built in Wrexham will also receive £212m of government funding and is expected to create 1,000 jobs.

The government will also invest in new technology and prisoner education, as well as funding new video conference centres in prisons to enable video links with the courts reducing transportation costs.