Six years ago, amid official estimates that prison numbers could top 100,000 by 2014, Labour's justice secretary, Jack Straw, commissioned Lord Carter of Coles to review the future needs of the prison system. In late 2007, Lord Carter reported with plans for an enhanced building programme, at the centre of which would be three super-prisons, each containing at least 2,500 prisoners, costing £2.9bn. Mr Straw then launched a consultation on these so-called Titan prisons, which reported in 2009. Opposition to the Titan prisons turned out to be overwhelming ? criticisms ranged from uncontrollable cost, safety issues, control problems, difficulty of focusing on rehabilitation, and evidence from abroad that large prisons are ineffective ? and they were scrapped even before they were built.
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