Construction firms awarded £500m deal to build six new prison blocks

June 20, 2022


A £500 million construction deal will see thousands of new prison places and an economic boost to the wider security industry.

Six sites at HMPs Bullingdon, Channings Wood, Elmley, Highpoint, Hindley and Wayland are earmarked with security and rehabilitation in mind.

Contracts to construction firms Kier and Wates were announced by Prisons Minister, Victoria Atkins.

Hundreds of small businesses will assist in constructing new ‘houseblocks’ which will accommodate 2,600 inamtes.

The government claims it will assist in cutting crime and reoffending as well try to get criminals out of crime and into paid jobs.

It says the proportion of ex-prisoners employed six months after release increased by 66% between April 2021 and March 2022.

The blocks’ design includes x-shaped buildings with wider landings to increase visibility of multiple wings – helping officers to maintain order.

The designs will also mean easier access to supporting facilities such as additional healthcare and kitchens, promoting rehabilitation and helping prisoners to turn their lives around.

It is estimated that the construction of the houseblocks and refurbishment works will generate over 2,000 jobs through the construction phase and over 750 jobs within the new prison facilities.

This includes jobs through Kier’s ‘Making Ground’ initiative, which offers prisoners on temporary licence jobs in the construction industry. To date, over 100 serving prisoners and prison leavers have taken part in the programme.

Prisons Minister Victoria Atkins MP said: “The government is delivering on its vision for a modern prison estate that places security and rehabilitation at the heart of its design.

“This will boost public safety by giving offenders every opportunity to turn away from a life of crime and towards a future of gainful employment.

“These houseblocks are also great news for the local firms who will play a central role in constructing them, along with the communities who benefit from the jobs that will be created at the prisons.”

Kier group managing director Liam Cummins said: “We are excited to be combining our national, custodial expertise with our strong regional delivery capability to unlock value for the MOJ, both at strategic programme and local delivery levels.

“As a project integrator, we look forward to continuing to drive forward the high standards we have set in using modern methods of construction, including innovation, technology and pushing the boundaries of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA).

“We will also continue our commitment to supporting prisoner rehabilitation through the extensive use of Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) through our Making Ground programme.”

Paul Chandler, Wates Executive Managing Director, said: “We have been working closely with the MoJ for almost two decades to support the expansion and modernisation of its estate and look forward to bringing this experience to the Accelerated Houseblock Development programme.

“Drawing on the expertise of our in-house engineering and offsite manufacturing specialists, we will be working closely with our Alliance partners to deliver greener, more operationally efficient buildings that support the MoJ’s net zero ambitions by 2040.

“Not only this, but our focus will be on creating environments that boost staff and prisoner wellbeing, and that encourage better rehabilitation outcomes for the people that these buildings serve in the long-term.”

These projects are part of the government’s £4 billion investment to create 20,000 modern places – the biggest prison-building programme this country has seen in over a century.

The Ministry of Justice has so far completed four refurbishment sites at HMPs Aylesbury, Feltham, Haverigg and Swinfen Hall as well as small-scale investment projects at HMYOI Deerbolt, HMP Hollesley Bay and HMP Warren Hill.

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