By Claire West
The Justice Secretary has announced that a new prison that could hold around 2,000 prisoners will be built in north Wales, delivering a significant and rapid investment to the Welsh economy.
The new prison — the first to be built in North Wales — will bring around £23 million a year to the regional economy, providing much needed jobs and opportunities for local business. It is estimated around 1,000 jobs will be created.
The construction of HMP Oakwood — our newest prison which holds around 1605 prisoners and that opened last year in the West Midlands — saw £75m spent on employment, 113 small medium enterprises (SMEs) employed and £30m of construction work provided by SMEs within 50 miles of the site.
Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling said:
My priority is to provide enough prison places for those sent there by the courts — and to do so in a way that gives taxpayers the best possible value for money.
This will be the first prison in north Wales and a massive boost to the Welsh economy. It will provide around 1,000 much-needed jobs, great opportunities for local businesses and millions of pounds worth of construction opportunities. It will also allow offenders from the region to be held closer to their homes, which we know helps prevent reoffending.
Across the country I am reducing the cost of prison by replacing old, inefficient buildings with newer accommodation that is cheaper to run. This new prison allows us to continue this work while providing a significant and rapid investment in the Welsh economy.
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
Right from the start, I have put forward my support for north Wales to be considered as a viable option for a new prison with the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, and I am delighted with today’s announcement.
A prison in north Wales will create economic opportunities, new jobs, and will significantly accelerate the government’s strategy of replacing old, uneconomic prisons with modern, more cost-effective facilities.
I know that having the prison in north Wales is particularly important for families - especially Welsh speakers and professional advisors, and its significant capacity will go some way to help the current issue of space shortage.
The announcement to build a new prison is North Wales follows a £250m investment in this year’s Spending Round.
A decision on the make up and exact location will be made in due course and work is expected to start on site in summer 2014 with the prison fully operational by late 2017.
New prisons are better value for the taxpayer and more efficient to run — the Ministry of Justice will continue to explore the feasibility of further new prison sites.