Plans announced for £400m ‘smart prison’
Facility near York due to open in 2025
Credit: Michael Coghlan/CC BY-SA 2.0
Building work is to begin shortly a new “smart prison” that will incorporate a range of cutting-edge technology.
The facility will be based opposite the existing HMP Full Sutton prison, close to York. Construction firm Kier has been awarded a £400m contract and will begin building work in the autumn, the government said, with the prison due to open in 2025.
Once complete, the site will be the third of six planned “smart prisons”, with HMP Five Wells in Northamptonshire already open, and HMP Fosse Way in Leicestershire due to open in 2023. Three more will be announced in due course: two of which will be run by private operators, with the other being managed by HM Prison and Probation Service.
In line with the smart prison programme, the Yorkshire site “will be designed from top-to-bottom with the latest smart technology to cut crime and protect the public”.
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“The jail will include an unprecedented array of workshops and classrooms, so prisoners spend their time behind bars learning new skills to find work on release – factors known to significantly reduce reoffending,” the government said. “It will also be the first new prison to operate as zero-carbon in the future, with an all-electric design, solar panels, heat pumps and more efficient lighting systems to reduce energy demand significantly.”
The new facility will be classed as a category C prison – the most common classification which, according to government guidance, includes “training and resettlement prisons… [which] provide prisoners with the opportunity to develop their own skills”.
The government said that construction work will provide as many as 1,000 jobs to local people – including 50 which be set aside for ex-offenders. Once the prison is open, another 600 jobs will be created, it added.
Prisons minister Stuart Andrew said: “I am delighted work can begin on yet another modern, innovative prison that will skill-up untold numbers of offenders to live a crime-free life while making our streets safer. The new prison at Full Sutton will also support hundreds of jobs, in construction and afterwards, representing a major boost to Yorkshire’s economy.”
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