Government minister at Norfolk jail
Ian Clarke A new £33m extension was officially unveiled at a Norfolk jail which has created space for 300 extra prisoners and better training facilities to try to stop inmates re-offending.
A new £33m extension was officially unveiled at a Norfolk jail which has created space for 300 extra prisoners and better training facilities to try to stop inmates re-offending.
Justice minister Lord Bach - who is less than two weeks into his new job - visited Wayland Prison, near Watton, to perform the opening of the extra accommodation, which is part of a massive nationwide programme to create 20,000 new prison places in England and Wales by 2014.
The expansion has taken the category C Wayland jail from a capacity of 717 inmates to 1017. It marks a doubling of the prison from when it opened in 1985.
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The five blocks of new accommodation space each house 60 prisoners, who are in double cells.
Lord Bach insisted it was vital to house inmates in “modern and efficient” cells - and that training was vital to get them out of the cycle of crime.
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He said: “I am very impressed with the new accommodation.
“It is important in the first place to lock up people who have seriously offended, violent offenders and persistent offenders but when they come out from the punishment we want them to not to go back into prison. That does not do anyone any good.
“It must be common sense that in providing important skills they can be supported in turning away from crime.”
The nationwide prison capacity is currently 84,000 and the new building across the country will take the total to 96,000. Some of the extra 20,000 places will replace old ones.
The education and training facilities at Wayland include an IT suite and workshops were skills such as plumbing, electrics and bricklaying
The new unit also provides six extra places in a segregation wing
Senior officials were keen to use the opening to quash many myths which have built up about the jail specifically and the prison service generally.
There is no Sky or digital TV or internet access for prisoners - and all privileges such as TVs and radios have to be paid for by inmates and could be removed as punishments.
One of the prisoners, Lawrence, 26, has done an NVQ Level 2 plumbing course and hopes to start his own business after he is released.
“If I had learned a trade I may not have been in here in the first place.”