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Private prison faults cost taxpayers 1m

THE 40 million Blakenhurst prison, built by Tarmac, needed 1 million of public money to correct defects in its first year, an inspection has revealed.

Judge Stephen Tumim, the chief inspector of prisons, told home secretary Michael How-ard last week that Blaken-hurst would need further work unless urgent action was taken.

Judge Tumim said: 'We were told that, during the first six months of operation, the maintenance department spent some 500,000 on repairs.'

The bulk of these were construction defects, design defects or client briefing defects.

The second six months showed a similar pattern and cost so that some 1 million had been spent on a new development in its first year.

But Judge Tumim praised the maintenance department for being run efficiently.

Tarmac declined to comment because Blakenhurst was built to a standard Home Office design.

The Worcestershire prison is run by UK Detention Services, a consortium of contractors Mowlem, Sir Robert McAlpine and the Corrections Corporation of America.