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Government plans to build four new prisons

Government plans to build four new prisons

The government has announced a new prison construction programme, which will see four new jails being built in England and Wales.

Around 2,000 construction jobs are expected to be created as space is developed to house 5,000 inmates. The programme is taking place in conjunction with the closure of several older prisons as the Ministry of Justice seeks to reduce overcrowding and modernise the way they operate with more of a focus on rehabilitating offenders.

The prisons will be built at Full Sutton in Yorkshire, Rochester in Kent, Hindley near Wigan and Port Talbot in south Wales. These will be followed in due course by the building of further new prisons as the government seeks to create 10,000 more places.

Justice secretary Liz Truss said the task of reforming convicts cannot take place in "outdated prisons, with dark corridors and cramped conditions".

She added: "This significant building programme will not only help create a modern prison estate where wholescale reform can truly take root, but will also provide a thriving, economic lifeline for the local community - creating hundreds of jobs for local people and maximising opportunities for businesses."

The announcement coincides with the opening of the new Berwyn Prison in north Wales, which has space for 2,000 inmates and added £100 million to the local economy along with 150 jobs and apprenticeships before it had even opened.

While thousands of construction jobs are created by building new prisons, more will be supported by the conversion of several former jails.

Examples of this include the former HMP Shepton Mallet, which closed in 2013 and is being converted into flats. City & Country Properties will be transforming a prison that once housed the Kray twins into 96 apartments. Of these, 40 will be built from scratch while the other 56 will be created by redeveloping cell blocks.

The developer is also working on transforming Dorchester Prison, which also closed four years ago, into a development of 185 apartments.

Image: iStock

 

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