Press release

Wales at forefront of new plans to create 5,000 modern prison places

Alun Cairns: New prison will bring economic opportunities to South Wales

Prison floor
  • Justice Secretary unveils plans for new modern prison in Port Talbot;
  • New build to create hundreds of local jobs and turbo-boost regional economy;
  • Builds on the Government’s commitment to create up to 10,000 modern places, aimed at reducing overcrowding and creating the right conditions for reform. 

Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah has today unveiled plans for the building of a new prison in South Wales – creating hundreds of modern prison places and replacing old and overcrowded  establishments with new, fit for purpose buildings.

Port Talbot has been earmarked for a new development as part of the Government’s commitment to build up to 10,000 modern prison places by 2020, backed by £1.3bn to transform the estate.

As well as creating a modern establishments fit for the twenty-first century, the proposed new build will also act as a boost to the Welsh economy – creating hundreds of jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries, and generating countless opportunities for thriving community businesses.

Final decisions on the new prison will be subject to planning approvals, as well as value for money and affordability.

Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah said:

We cannot hope to reduce reoffending until we build prisons that are places of reform where hard-work and self-improvement flourish.

Outdated prisons, with dark corridors and cramped conditions, will not help offenders turn their back on crime – nor do they provide our professional and dedicated prison officers with the right tools or environment to do their job effectively.

This significant building programme will not only help create a modern prison estate where wholescale reform can truly take root, but will also provide a thriving, economic lifeline for the local community – creating hundreds of jobs for local people and maximising opportunities for businesses.

Today’s announcement comes weeks after the opening of HMP Berwyn – the new, modern prison in north Wales which will hold over two thousand prisoners. The construction of this new prison has already contributed over £100m to the local economy and created around 150 jobs and apprenticeships before doors have even opened.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said:

I am delighted that Port Talbot has been selected as a preferred location for one of the four newest additions to the UK’s prisons estate.

Berwyn prison has already had a positive impact on the regional economy of North Wales. A new South Wales prison will bring its own economic opportunities - including new jobs and contracts for local suppliers, and will significantly accelerate the government’s aim of replacing old, uneconomic prisons with modern, more cost-effective facilities.

I am pleased that Wales is leading the way in providing facilities designed with rehabilitation in mind as well as the traditional security which the public rightly expects.

In creating a modern prison estate, old and inefficient prisons will be closed and replaced by the new accommodation.  A programme of valuation work will now begin to help inform further decisions about the estate. Announcements on prison closures will be made later in the year.

Today’s announcement builds on ambitious reforms to improve safety in prisons, including an additional £100m to bolster frontline staff by 2,500.

What could a career in the prison service offer you? Visit the prison and probation jobs website to find out more and apply.

This wholescale, organisational reform will be supported by measures within the Prisons and Court Bill, which will set out a new framework and clear system of accountability for prisons, building on the wide-ranging reforms set out in the Prison Safety and Reform White Paper.

Notes to Editor:

  • We will be applying for outline planning permission for new prisons in Yorkshire, the North West, Kent and South Wales.
Published 22 March 2017