Raab opens Britain’s first ‘smart prison’

The deputy prime minister and justice secretary Dominic Raab opened Britain’s first ‘smart’ prison earlier today.

The new Category C prison in Northamptonshire is the first jail to have been designed with education, training and jobs for prisoners on release as its main purposes – factors proven to cut crime and reduce reoffending.

There will be a new presumption that prisoners at HMP Five Wells should spend their time behind bars learning new skills and getting trained in vital industries so they can find work immediately when back in the community and plug local labour shortages.

With 24 workshops and a large number of classrooms, prisoners will take part in formal learning, courses, qualifications and on-the-job training in areas including coding, car maintenance, fork-lift-truck maintenance, plumbing and engineering.

The prison will also be ‘smart’ in how it supports prisoners with drug addictions into clean living, with two special drug recovery wings with a focus on abstinence-based methods. Here, up to 200 offenders with substance misuse issues will take part in a 16-week programme to help them get off drugs and into permanent recovery.

Designed throughout with cutting-edge technology, HMP Five Wells is also Britain’s first ‘smart’ prison – utilising the latest designs and innovations to protect the public and rehabilitate offenders

The Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab said: “HMP Five Wells is a flagship example of this Government’s plan to create secure and modern prisons that cut crime and protect the public.

“From drug-recovery centres that employ abstinence-based treatment to world-class prisoner training courses, this smart prison is designed to tackle the key obstacles to cutting reoffending and making our streets safer.”