G4s has been awarded with a £300m contract for the new Wellingborough mega- prison. Originally closed in 2012, the new Prison is set to be reopened as early as 2022 with its new name “Five Wells”, chosen by the community after the five surrounding wells around Wellingborough. The name was selected from more than 120 suggestions submitted by the local community to a panel which included local councillors.
Wellingborough’s former prison was shut down in 2012 because of it’s poor condition,
but it was then revealed that the site would be brought back into use as part of the government’s Prison Estate Transformation Programme.
The new prison will cost £253m to build and the Category C prison will hold up to 1,700 new inmates. Alongside this, Minister Lucy Frazer noted that this build will help to boost the local economy, with plans to bring in 700 long-term jobs and with future proposals to see G4S manage the prison until 2032.
Prisons and Probation Minister, Lucy Frazer QC MP, said “The appointment of G4S to run HMP Five Wells marks another step forward in delivering this Government’s ambitious transformation of the prison system, delivering modern places using the best of public and private sector expertise to rehabilitate offenders.”
She continued “The new prison is an important investment not only in the criminal justice system, but also in Wellingborough, creating hundreds of new jobs to support the local economy.”
Cllr Martin Griffiths said that this decision has been welcomed by the Wellingborough City Council. He said: “Construction of HMP Five Wells is progressing amazingly well and this latest news is another major milestone towards its completion. “The Borough Council of Wellingborough, and in particular our planning team, have worked really closely with the ministry over the last five years to deliver the prison on time and our successor North Northamptonshire Unitary council must now continue to work with the prisons operators in a collaborative way when it is opened. “The prison will bring a huge boost to the local economy and businesses as we come through this dreadful pandemic, and it will provide hundreds of jobs for local people.”
Privately-run prisons are among the best performing across the estate and have been consistently praised by independent inspectors. Prisons managed by G4S are seen to have an incredible 95 per cent of scoring marked by HM Inspectorate of Prisons which shows their establishments are performing as ‘good’ or ‘reasonably good’ – the top ratings available.
The G4S managed prisons have also brought innovative new approaches to offender rehabilitation, including a cutting-edge families intervention programme and peer-led initiatives, praised by prison inspectors for building “excellent personal and social skills” so prisoners contribute in prison and are prepared for resettlement.
The new category C resettlement prison in Northamptonshire incorporates the latest design and technology to enhance security and rehabilitation. It will hold around 1,680 prisoners and is due to open in early 2022. The new secure facility will be run with a strong focus on maximising prisoner rehabilitation and seeking to break the cycle of reoffending.
The government is investing up to £2.5 billion in 10,000 additional modern prison places. This includes 4 new jails to be built during the next 6 years.