New prison for Messines

CONSTRUCTION OF a new prison which will be able to take 500 prisoners, more than double the current capacity of the Algarve’s prisons, is due to start in São Bartolomeu de Messines in 2009, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The news comes after Fernando Serpa, from Silves Câmara’s socialist party, wrote to Alberto Costa, the minister of Justice, in January following reports that Monchique Câmara was competing to build a prison to replace the one at Pinheiro da Cruz, in the Grândola council, Alentejo.

Alberto Costa responded by saying that a prison will be built in Grândola to substitute the one at Pinheiro da Cruz and that no Algarve Câmaras had been contacted about it, while another will be constructed at São Bartolomeu de Messines,  in the Silves council. This is due for completion in 2010.

This decision is part of a national plan which was approved in January to reform the Portuguese penitentiary establishments.

The Algarve had four operational prisons with a capacity of 230. However, by 2006, 303 prisoners were being held in Portimão, Olhão, which is closed for refurbishment, Faro and Silves.

Fernando Serpa said: “The new prison for Messines will be a breath of fresh air for a parish with a stagnant economy.”

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