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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Wrexham prison will be operated by HMPS

North Wrexham prison plans in 3D

* An artist's impression of the new Wrexham Prison.

Prisons Minister Andrew Selous has today (Tuesday) announced that the new prison in Wrexham will be operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service (HMPS).

The prison, which is due to open in 2017, will be run by an innovative new approach that will see the best of the public, voluntary and private sectors working together.

HMPS will take overall ownership of the prison but with 34% of service provision outsourced – including a large industrial workshop complex.

Prisons Minister Andrew Selous said: "I am pleased to announce that the new prison in North Wales will be operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service as part of an innovative new approach to running prisons.

"Our combination of benchmarking and outsourcing services is saving taxpayers around £300 million a year and now it will allow us to deliver a truly efficient prison in Wrexham that is based on best practice from the opening of previous prisons.

"This prison reflects the true success of our reforms in helping to create a modern low-cost prison estate, and is proving a real boost to the North Wales economy with £1.1 million already committed to local companies – well ahead of the £250,000 target for 2014.

"The £212 million investment will provide good quality prison accommodation that delivers value for the taxpayer by reducing the cost per prisoner place. Recent reforms have already saved significant sums for taxpayers, and continuing to create a modern low cost prison estate is essential to further reduce the overall cost of the prison system.

"Once operational the North Wales prison will also bring a huge benefit to the area, boosting the regional economy by around £23 million a year and create up to 1,000 jobs."

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said: "The new prison in Wrexham will provide a massive boost to North Wales by generating opportunities for local businesses and creating hundreds of jobs in the area.

"This is all part of our long term plan to help rebalance the economy and invest in world class infrastructure across the whole country."

The prison will provide around 2,100 Category C places for male offenders from North Wales and North West England, including a small remand function serving the courts in North Wales.

It will include places for education, 12 large workshop spaces, and resettlement functions, helping offenders who will be held closer to home reintegrate into their communities on release.

The Ministry of Justice has also been working closely with Welsh devolved health and education services to develop suitable models for the prison and will continue to work with the Welsh government and other partners to agree the necessary resourcing as delivery requirements are finalised.

Construction is currently underway in Wrexham and the first houseblock is due to start taking prisoners from early 2017.

Welcoming the news, North Wales Assembly Member Aled Roberts said: "A prison run by the public sector with support from the voluntary and private sectors offers the best solution to the questions some critics have raised” commented Aled Roberts AM.
 
“I think this solution has the potential to offer a new way forward by bringing together the voluntary and private sectors under the leadership of the Westminster Government’s Prison Service.
 
“This will make the running of the prison directly accountable to Government.  But at the same time it will offer the innovation of the private sector and the enthusiasm of the voluntary sector to the running of specialist services such as the large industrial workshop complex that is being planned.
 
“When I was Wrexham Council leader I actively supported the development of a new prison in Wrexham for the jobs that it would bring and for the improved support local prisoners could  receive from their families nearer home. 
 
“Over the years councillors from all parties and none have worked together in Wrexham to make the building of a new prison in Wrexham a reality. My only concern now is that politicians in Cardiff and London work together to make sure that transport, police, health and other public services are allocated extra investment so they can cope with the extra demands the prison will make.”

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