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government gives go ahead to expand four prisons in £200m revamp.

The planned expansion will create places for up to 1,000 prisoners over the next three years in a construction programme worth £200m.

Four jails will be expanded as part of the government's ambitious programme to deliver 10,000 modern prison places as the latest step in a £2.5bn commitment to upgrading the prison system. HMPs Rye Hill (Warwickshire), Guys Marsh (Dorset), and Stocken (Rutland) will each benefit from additional houseblocks providing 462, 180, and 206 additional places respectively. High Down in Surrey will benefit from a new workshop which in turn will free up an additional 90 places.

The work is expected to begin at Rye Hill in 2022 and will support the construction industry in the coronavirus recovery and create new long-term jobs in the prison facilities themselves. Planning permission is currently being sought for the works to begin.

Modern environments
 

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer QC called the announcement 'a significant step forward' in plans to transform the prison estate as part of the build back better agenda. She said it demonstrated the government's commitment to investing in infrastructure and creating new jobs while creating a modern environment that would promote the rehabilitation of prisoners and steer them away from reoffending after release.

The reform will also see four new prisons constructed in the UK over the next six years, with two in the north and two in the south. The first facility will be HMP Full Sutton in East Yorkshire, with suitable sites being sought for further prisons in the north-west and south-east.

The new buildings are expected to be constructed using MMC for quicker delivery times and lower waste and energy use creating modern prisons that have a stronger green footprint. The new jails will be constructed off-site using standardised processes and then assembled on-site. Security features include barless windows to prevent drugs and mobiles being flown in by drones and airport style scanning will be included in the design.

Category C
 

As part of the commitment to providing 10,000 additional prison places in modern facilities designed to tackle reoffending, Keir are currently building HMP Five Wells at Wellingborough and Lendlease have started early works on the site of Glen Parva in Leicestershire. These new Category C facilities will provide an additional 1,680 places for offenders looking to develop their skills so they can work and resettle in the community on their release.

The building programme comes in the wake of the government's recent white paper announcing a radical overhaul of sentencing, with more support to get ex-offenders back into work and tougher sentences for dangerous and violent criminals.

Plans for the new facilities are being pushed through faster as part of the Project Speed initiative being headed up by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Project Speed is tasked with delivering the government's infrastructure programme as quickly as possible in order to boost the economy, inspired by the speed at which the Nightingale hospitals were put into operation.
 

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