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Inmates at private mega-jail to be called ‘residents’ as they prepare for release

HMP Five Wells is the first jail in the UK to be built specifically as a ‘resettlement’ prison (Picture: Splash News)
HMP Five Wells in Northamptonshire is the first jail in the UK to be built specifically as a ‘resettlement’ prison (Picture: Splash News)

The first arrivals at the new so-called mega jail will be called ‘residents’ rather than prisoners as they prepare for release into society.

The privately-run facility is focussed on rehabilitation and will feature 16 classrooms, 24 workshops and cells without bars in the windows.

The majority of inmates will be transferred to HMP Five Wells – which is the UK’s first purpose-built ‘resettlement’ prison – as they prepare for release.

Some of the cells, described as ‘rooms’, have views over the River Nene, while outside those seeing out their time can make use of four football pitches for exercise, a gardening area and a sloping auditorium.

The all-male, Category C prison, which will become the biggest in England, will also have dedicated classrooms and workshops for ‘high-quality academic and vocational learning’.

A central hub will be used for the educational and vocational work as well as social activities.

The aim is for all of the residents, as they will be known, to have a qualification by the time they walk out of the gates in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

EXCLUSIVE: NO WEB BEFORE 5.30PM BST 29TH MAY 2021-- * Web Fee After Embargo 300 GBP Set Fee * * Print Fees To Be Agreed * The first pictures of Britain???s new ???mega prison??? cells with no BARS on the windows have been revealed. The photos show a light and airy double room and single room at Her Majesty???s Prison Five Wells, with brightly coloured walls and unobstructed views over the beautiful River Nene and a fishing lake. The UK???s first privately run mega prison in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, which has buildings in the shape of crosses, has just been structurally finished and is set to be completed by October. The new-style ??253 million super prison will hold 1,680 inmates, making it England???s biggest prison, with the first prisoner due on January 8, next year. HMP Five Wells tweeted: ???Been a busy day on site today but took the opportunity to grab a couple of pics for you. One of a double room, there are 84 in total, and one of the single rooms with the FANTASTIC barless window ???albeit not the best view at present #bestprisonever.??? The category C jail is seen as a flagship example of the Government???s aim to create a ???modern, efficient prison estate that is fit for the future??? and will have a clear focus on rehabilitating offenders. It has been built on the site of the former HMP Wellingborough site, which closed in 2012, and held a maximum of 650 adult male inmates. The prison build has been handled by Kier group, using pre-cast components containing recycled materials and the roof is covered with solar panels. New aerial photos also show the landscaped grounds, which include a horticultural area and four football pitches, where prisoners can exercise. The jail designers have ditched the usual K-shaped formation of prison housing blocks and instead used seven staggered cross-shaped buildings. The K-block style has been favoured since Victorian times, with the idea that a single prison officer could be placed in the centre of the radial arms of corridors and survey all the cells quickly. The new cross-shaped buildings mean the corridors are broken up into smaller zones, rather than miles of long corridors, which will enable prison staff to have more direct contact with prisoners. The buildings have been arranged around landscaped courtyards, with the cross-shaped design offering a better use of outside space for sports and gardening facilities. There will be one central hub for education, vocational training and social facilities. Pictured: New prison called Five Wells in Wellingborough,Northamptonshire. Ref: SPL5228624 240521 EXCLUSIVE Picture by: HMPPS/ BAV MEDIA / SplashNews.com Splash News and Pictures USA: +1 310-525-5808 London: +44 (0)20 8126 1009 Berlin: +49 175 3764 166 photodesk@splashnews.com World Rights
HMP Five Wells is expected to open next January (Picture: Splash News)

Run by security company G4S, the £253 million jail reflects changes to the wider prison estate over the past five years.

In 2018, it was reported that HMP Warren Hill in Suffolk was also using the residents term and describing cells as rooms.

The following year, the prison service confirmed bars would no longer be placed on cell windows, as the feature dated back to times when glass was either too fragile for the purpose or had not been used at all.

Toughened glass within a sealed design is more secure than the traditional approach, officials said.

Other changes at Five Wells include ditching the K-block shape in favour of staggered, cross-shaped buildings.

EXCLUSIVE: NO WEB BEFORE 5.30PM BST 29TH MAY 2021-- * Web Fee After Embargo 300 GBP Set Fee * * Print Fees To Be Agreed * The first pictures of Britain???s new ???mega prison??? cells with no BARS on the windows have been revealed. The photos show a light and airy double room and single room at Her Majesty???s Prison Five Wells, with brightly coloured walls and unobstructed views over the beautiful River Nene and a fishing lake. The UK???s first privately run mega prison in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, which has buildings in the shape of crosses, has just been structurally finished and is set to be completed by October. The new-style ??253 million super prison will hold 1,680 inmates, making it England???s biggest prison, with the first prisoner due on January 8, next year. HMP Five Wells tweeted: ???Been a busy day on site today but took the opportunity to grab a couple of pics for you. One of a double room, there are 84 in total, and one of the single rooms with the FANTASTIC barless window ???albeit not the best view at present #bestprisonever.??? The category C jail is seen as a flagship example of the Government???s aim to create a ???modern, efficient prison estate that is fit for the future??? and will have a clear focus on rehabilitating offenders. It has been built on the site of the former HMP Wellingborough site, which closed in 2012, and held a maximum of 650 adult male inmates. The prison build has been handled by Kier group, using pre-cast components containing recycled materials and the roof is covered with solar panels. New aerial photos also show the landscaped grounds, which include a horticultural area and four football pitches, where prisoners can exercise. The jail designers have ditched the usual K-shaped formation of prison housing blocks and instead used seven staggered cross-shaped buildings. The K-block style has been favoured since Victorian times, with the idea that a single prison officer could be placed in the centre of the radial arms of corridors and survey all the cells quickly. The new cross-shaped buildings mean the corridors are broken up into smaller zones, rather than miles of long corridors, which will enable prison staff to have more direct contact with prisoners. The buildings have been arranged around landscaped courtyards, with the cross-shaped design offering a better use of outside space for sports and gardening facilities. There will be one central hub for education, vocational training and social facilities. Pictured: New prison called Five Wells in Wellingborough,Northamptonshire. Ref: SPL5228624 240521 EXCLUSIVE Picture by: HMPPS/ BAV MEDIA / SplashNews.com Splash News and Pictures USA: +1 310-525-5808 London: +44 (0)20 8126 1009 Berlin: +49 175 3764 166 photodesk@splashnews.com World Rights
The buildings have been built in a cross shape instead of a traditional K design (Picture: Splash News)

The new approach attracted criticism on social media after pictures were released last week.

One man wrote on Facebook: ‘Sorry but I thought the idea was to punish them?? What next, officers bringing them breakfast in bed?’

Resettlement jails are aimed at cutting the cycle of re-offending by providing tailored support and supervision for prisoners with 12 months or less to serve.

Psychotherapist Adrianna Irvine, who has experience of working with life inmates in maximum security prisons, gave the new approach a cautious welcome.

The counsellor said: ‘Having no bars on the windows and being able to have a view of the scenery outside is a great idea for the prisoners’ mental health and welfare.

‘However, the single most important aspect for me is rehabilitation. To allow the prisoners to be outside playing football and gardening is all fabulous, but they will need to self-select.

‘You can’t mandate someone to have therapy, it has to come from within. Another aspect is the prison officers, as they too will need a very high level of support.’

EXCLUSIVE: NO WEB BEFORE 5.30PM BST 29TH MAY 2021-- * Web Fee After Embargo 300 GBP Set Fee * * Print Fees To Be Agreed * The first pictures of Britain???s new ???mega prison??? cells with no BARS on the windows have been revealed. The photos show a light and airy double room and single room at Her Majesty???s Prison Five Wells, with brightly coloured walls and unobstructed views over the beautiful River Nene and a fishing lake. The UK???s first privately run mega prison in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, which has buildings in the shape of crosses, has just been structurally finished and is set to be completed by October. The new-style ??253 million super prison will hold 1,680 inmates, making it England???s biggest prison, with the first prisoner due on January 8, next year. HMP Five Wells tweeted: ???Been a busy day on site today but took the opportunity to grab a couple of pics for you. One of a double room, there are 84 in total, and one of the single rooms with the FANTASTIC barless window ???albeit not the best view at present #bestprisonever.??? The category C jail is seen as a flagship example of the Government???s aim to create a ???modern, efficient prison estate that is fit for the future??? and will have a clear focus on rehabilitating offenders. It has been built on the site of the former HMP Wellingborough site, which closed in 2012, and held a maximum of 650 adult male inmates. The prison build has been handled by Kier group, using pre-cast components containing recycled materials and the roof is covered with solar panels. New aerial photos also show the landscaped grounds, which include a horticultural area and four football pitches, where prisoners can exercise. The jail designers have ditched the usual K-shaped formation of prison housing blocks and instead used seven staggered cross-shaped buildings. The K-block style has been favoured since Victorian times, with the idea that a single prison officer could be placed in the centre of the radial arms of corridors and survey all the cells quickly. The new cross-shaped buildings mean the corridors are broken up into smaller zones, rather than miles of long corridors, which will enable prison staff to have more direct contact with prisoners. The buildings have been arranged around landscaped courtyards, with the cross-shaped design offering a better use of outside space for sports and gardening facilities. There will be one central hub for education, vocational training and social facilities. Pictured: The cells with no bars on the windows at the new mega prison called Five Wells in Wellingborough,Northamptonshire. Ref: SPL5228624 240521 EXCLUSIVE Picture by: HMPPS/ BAV MEDIA / SplashNews.com Splash News and Pictures USA: +1 310-525-5808 London: +44 (0)20 8126 1009 Berlin: +49 175 3764 166 photodesk@splashnews.com World Rights
The cell windows will have toughened glass rather than bars (Picture: Splash News)

Structurally completed on the site of the former HMP Wellingborough, which closed in 2012, the prison is scheduled to begin receiving inmates in January 2022. Kier group, another private company, was awarded the £253 million building contract by the Ministry of Justice in 2019.

A spokesperson for G4S said: ‘As the UK’s first purpose-built resettlement prison, HMP Five Wells will foster a purposeful environment that aims to prepare its residents for their transition back into society. This means providing them with skills and qualifications so they have the best chance to secure employment and turn away from crime.

‘The prison estate will include 16 classrooms and 24 workshops for high-quality academic and vocational learning. Our aim is for all residents to have a meaningful qualification when they leave.

‘The majority of prisoners at Five Wells will have transferred in from other prisons because they are nearing the end of their sentence.

‘HMP Five Wells will be operated by G4S on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, which already runs several highly-rated prisons in the UK, that are at the forefront of innovative programmes focused on training and care.’

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