Government delivering on promise to create 20,000 new prison places

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Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab. Picture by Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street

Prisoners will learn the skills they need to stay on the straight and narrow as the latest phase of the government’s plan to deliver 20,000 new prison places gets underway.

Work has begun on a new 214-place houseblock at HMP Stocken (category C, Rutland)  creating more than 100 new local jobs – with at least 10 roles earmarked for ex-offenders with constructors Wates.

As part of a drive to skill-up offenders to equip them for a life free from crime, the block includes an innovative partnership with shipping and logistics company DHL which will run courses at a purpose-built workshop. Prisoners will earn qualifications in the logistics industry, helping them find work upon release – boosting efforts to reduce reoffending and keep the public safe.

The new houseblock will also include new prisoner classrooms and fitness facilities for offenders to aid rehabilitation.

Prisons Minister, Stuart Andrew, said:

This government is delivering on its promise to create 20,000 new prison places, complete with the workshops and facilities that will help to steer offenders towards the straight and narrow.

This not only transforms the lives of the prisoners who will be set on a better path, it will protect us all by driving down reoffending and cutting crime.

HMP Stocken Prison Governor Russ Truman said:

This development will boost the prospects of prisoners by giving them even more opportunities to earn the skills and qualifications they need to find work on release.

The Prison Service’s longstanding partnership with DHL sees them employ around 500 prisoners to pack more than 66,000 orders a week of food and toiletries purchased by offenders in jail.

Construction of the houseblock is expected to be completed at the end of 2023, with the first prisoners arriving in early 2024.

Andrew Riggs, Head of Government Sector, Wates, said:

I’m delighted construction can begin on this positive project at HMP Stocken.

We have been working closely with the MOJ for almost two decades to support the expansion of its estate and look forward to drawing on our in-house expertise to deliver these new prison places and create first-class facilities to help rehabilitate offenders.

The development is part of a programme to create more than 4,000 new places across England and Wales by expanding existing jails, with construction already underway at HMP High Down and two houseblocks earmarked for HMP Guys Marsh.

The government say this is a key element of their overall £4 billion investment to build 20,000 modern and innovative prison places, ensuring the right conditions are in place to truly rehabilitate prisoners. This will give prisoners the education, skills and addiction support they need to live crime-free lives on release, helping to cut crime and protect the public.

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