Night behind HMP Whitemoor prison bars is most expensive in Britain at £77,635 a year - the same price as a Range Rover Sport

Whitemoor Prison March

Whitemoor Prison March - Credit: Archant

A night behind bars in HMP Whitemoor is the most expensive in Britain’ new figures reveal. It is almost double the cost of a stay in the cheapest Category A prison.

Whitemoor Prison March

Whitemoor Prison March - Credit: Archant

Keeping an inmate in the March prison is £212 a night - the same as a bed in a luxury Hilton hotel in London. It tots up to a yearly price tag of £77,635 - the cost of a top of the range Range Rover Sport.

This compares to Britain’s cheapest Category A prison, Wakefield, which is £126 a night or £46,216 a year.

Figures show that as the level of security reduces, the price for a Category B prisoner dramatically drops, in some instances almost in half.

Locally costs are:

• Peterborough: £102 a night, £37,314 a year.

• Leicester: £95.29 a night, £34,782 a year.

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• Norwich: £89.12 a night, £32,532 a year.

• Bedford: £87.58 a night, £31,969 a year.

• Lincoln: £87.62 a night, £31,984 a year.

Mark Day, head of policy and communications at the Prison Reform Trust, said: “Prison is not only expensive but also ineffective with nearly half of all people released from custody reoffending within one year.

“Instead of throwing even more money down the prison-building drain, politicians should seek to establish prison as an important place of last resort in a balanced justice system.

“That means more people punished in the community and shorter sentences for those who do have to be in custody.”

The cost to keep an inmate behind bars depends on many factors including building mortgages and staffing costs. Some areas have extra weighting to encourage recruitment to the area. Whitemoor has a population of 446 prisoners and holds the largest proportion of Muslim inmates of any British jail including Bluewater bomb plot ringleader Omar Khyam and gang murderer Lee Amos.

Its cost is much higher than any of the country’s other high-security men’s prisons known as dispersal prisons, largely due to heightened security measures.

Prison costs are revealed in the National Offender Management Service’s annual report and come in the wake of Justice Secretary Liz Truss unveiling radical new powers for the state to take over the running of jails mired by violence.

She last month admitted that “prisons are at breaking point”.

Ms Truss announced plans to spend £100 million to recruit 2,500 more prison officers.

And she said that a “toxic cocktail” of drugs and violence “flooding our prisons” is threatening to delay reforms promised by former Justice Secretary Michael Gove.