Kier and Wates have been awarded contracts to lead an alliance of hundreds of small businesses in constructing new houseblocks at six prisons, capable of accommodating more than 2,600 offenders.
They will also build state-of-the-art workshops at HMPs Bullingdon, Channings Wood, Elmley, Highpoint, Hindley and Wayland.
They aim to add to the Government’s drive to cut reoffending and crime by getting more ex-offenders into jobs.
Designed with security and rehabilitation in mind, the the new houseblocks will include X-shaped buildings with wider landings to increase visibility of multiple wings, helping officers to maintain order.
The designs will also mean easier access to supporting facilities such as additional healthcare and kitchens, promoting rehabilitation and helping prisoners to turn their lives around.
It is estimated that the construction of the houseblocks and refurbishment works will generate more than 2,000 jobs through the construction phase and over 750 jobs within the new prison facilities.
This includes jobs through Kier’s Making Ground initiative, which offers prisoners on temporary licence jobs in the construction industry. So far more than 100 serving prisoners and prison leavers have taken part in the programme.
Prisons minister Victoria Atkins said: “The Government is delivering on its vision for a modern prison estate that places security and rehabilitation at the heart of its design.
“This will boost public safety by giving offenders every opportunity to turn away from a life of crime and towards a future of gainful employment.
“These houseblocks are also great news for the local firms who will play a central role in constructing them, along with the communities who benefit from the jobs that will be created at the prisons.”
Liam Cummins, group managing director for Kier Construction, said: “Being appointed to the accelerated houseblock development programme is a fantastic opportunity for Kier to continue the strong relationship we have built with MoJ over a number of years as a strategic supplier to government. We are excited to be combining our national, custodial expertise with our strong regional delivery capability to unlock value for the MoJ, both at strategic programme and local delivery levels.
“As a project integrator, we look forward to continuing to drive forward the high standards we have set in using modern methods of construction, including innovation, technology and pushing the boundaries of design for manufacture and assembly. We will also continue our commitment to supporting prisoner rehabilitation through the extensive use of release on temporary licence through our Making Ground programme.”
Paul Chandler, executive managing director for Wates Construction Group, said: “We have been working closely with the MoJ for almost two decades to support the expansion and modernisation of its estate and look forward to bringing this experience to the accelerated houseblock development programme.
“Drawing on the expertise of our in-house engineering and offsite manufacturing specialists, we will be working closely with our alliance partners to deliver greener, more operationally efficient buildings that support the MoJ’s net-zero ambitions by 2040. Not only this, but our focus will be on creating environments that boost staff and prisoner wellbeing, and that encourage better rehabilitation outcomes for the people that these buildings serve in the long-term.”