A GOVERNMENT minister has said the reopening of a wing at Chelmsford Prison would ease overcrowding and create new jobs.

The Ministry of Justice announced the wing, capable of housing 130 inmates, will operate to cope with demand at the site, in Springfield Road.

During his visit to Essex last week Jeremy Wright, the Minister for Prisons and Rehabilitation, spoke to the Weekly News.

He said: “At the moment, there’s increased demand for places at the prison estate.

“Demand goes up and down. It’s sensible to look at that capacity you’ve got that you’re not using at the moment and reopen that. That’s what we’re doing in Chelmsford.

“It means we can employmore people to work there, which is good.

“It also means people who are local to Essex can be accommodated at the prison in Chelmsford, which means family members don’t have so far to go. The prison in Springfield Road

He said it was vital to make the best use of resources, adding: “We keep it under review and where we’ve got places that are mothballed, which we decide we then need, we reopen them.”

The wing closed in March 2013 to cut costs at the prison, but figures for February of this year showed the category B section and Young Offenders Institute was almost at capacity.