New ‘green’ prison aims to cut crime and boost local economy


Britain’s newest prison has officially opened with the intention of helping to cut crime, rehabilitate offenders and boost the local economy.

HMP Fosse Way, the new category C prison in Leicester, will house 1,715 prisoners and includes innovations to bolster security and cut crime behind bars.

It will help prisoners find work, which is known to cut their chances of reoffending, while the Ministry of Justice has billed it as the greenest prison constructed in the UK thanks to greener fuels, renewable energy and electric construction machinery.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said the build signals a new approach to prisons by “creating safe, modern places that utilise the latest technology to place rehabilitation and cutting crime at their core” as the Government presses on with its £4bn construction programme.

A total of 71 ex-offenders and prisoners released on temporary licence were part of the 500 people involved in the construction of the prison.

It is to feature 24 workshops and will help offenders learn skills such as how to drive construction vehicles in a simulator, manufacture glasses, and construct concrete components and lighting equipment that can be used in future prison builds.

The new jail, on the site of the old HMP Glen Parva, started accepting a small number of prisoners on May 29.

It will create another 600 jobs, according to the MoJ, and will be operated by Serco following a competitive tendering process.

The build has also seen £180m spent with local construction suppliers.

Among the security-improving “smart” designs at Fosse Way are X-shaped blocks with wider, shorter corridors and fewer prisoners on each wing – which allows frontline staff to see all cells and offenders quickly at any one time.

Cells have ultra-secure, bar-less windows to help to put an end to the smuggling of illegal drugs, phones and weapons into jails.

Prisoners are also to get devices to access education and learning from inside their cell.

These are kitted out with strong security to ensure they are not abused, while airport-style body scanners are being deployed to try to prevent contraband from getting on to the wings.

Lessons about concrete components in construction backed by a computer-aided design education qualification, LED lighting, an optical lab run by The Prisons Opticians are among a range of state-of-the-art workshops, aimed at helping the prisoners find work once they are released.

There is also a music classroom where record company representatives can help offenders train in music production for industry qualifications and a driving simulator enabling prisoners to learn how to drive construction vehicles in preparation for getting an HGV permit.

Mr Chalk, who met with frontline prison staff at the prison, said the opening means the Government was “a quarter of the way towards completion of the biggest prison-building programme in more than a century”.

He added: “The cutting-edge design will give offenders every opportunity to turn around their lives, while also providing a significant boost in this Government’s drive to grow the economy.”

The next new prison will be HMP Millsike, which is being built next to HMP Full Sutton in East Yorkshire.

Planning approval is being sought for three other prison across the country.

The MoJ said work is being done to provide immediate extra capacity, including rolling out hundreds of rapid deployment cells at HMP Norwich and HMP Hollesley Bay.

Adblock test (Why?)