Update: Prison Estate Transformation Programme

Richard Carling

Prison Estate Transformation Programme

HM Prison and Probation Service

post Point 8.15

102 Petty France


 Telephone 020 3334 3555

Mark Leech FRSA

Editor: The Prisons Handbook for England and Wales



Our reference: TO18/647

8 January 2019



Dear Mr Leech

Thank you for your email of 3 January seeking information about the Prison Estate Transformation Programme (PETP) in preparation for the 2019 edition of the Prisons Handbook.

PETP is a key enabler of one of the Secretary of State’s four strategic objectives: the development of a prison and probation service that reforms offenders. The Programme supports all four key aspects of the objective – maintaining the highest level of public protection, keeping prisons safe and decent, reforming offenders, and reducing reoffending – by transforming our custodial estate to provide an environment that enables prisoners to turn their lives around.

Through PETP we are getting the basics right by building decent prisons to improve rehabilitation and create safe and secure environments for staff and offenders. The department is committed to delivering up to 10,000 decent prison places providing the physical conditions for Governors to achieve better educational, training and rehabilitative outcomes.

We remain committed to previously announced plans, subject to planning approvals, value for money and affordability, to build six modern category C prisons in the following locations:

  • HMP Wellingborough (Northamptonshire);
  • HMP&YOI Glen Parva (Leicestershire);
  • on land adjacent to HMP Full Sutton (East Yorkshire);
  • HMP&YOI Hindley (Greater Manchester);
  • HMP&YOI Rochester (Kent); and
  • we remain committed to a prison in South Wales where there is a clear need for modern, fit-for-purpose category C prison places. We continue to engage with local communities, businesses and other stakeholders. This will potentially create up to 500 jobs in Wales and contribute £11m a year to the regional economy.

We intend to build the first prison at Wellingborough through public capital, with construction work expected to begin shortly.

We are continuing work to demolish the buildings at Glen Parva. In the 2018 Budget it was announced that we now intend to build the second prison there through public capital. This will enable the prison to open earlier than originally planned to meet the needs of the growing and complex prison population. The redevelopment will be subject to contract value for money and affordability tests. A new houseblock at HMP Stocken, which will create 206 modern prison places is expected to open in the Spring. We will explore funding routes, including through private investment, for the delivery of the remaining prison places.

We are committed to a mixed market in the custodial sector, to keep driving innovation and service improvement. Private Finance prisons (PFI) have a strong track record of delivery. The department already has 10 PFI prisons which opened between 1997 and 2012. They comprise the majority of our 14 privately-operated prisons, range in capacity from 400 to 1,700 prison places, operate at security categories B and C and fulfil a variety of functions.

We have announced the launch of the Prison Operator Services framework competition through a notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union, from which we will select the operator for the new prisons at Wellingborough and Glen Parva, subsequent new build prisons as required and potentially further prisons following expiry of current private sector contracts. HMPPS will not take part in the prison competition. We will provide a ‘public sector benchmark’ against which operators bids can be assessed and will take on the provider role if bids do not meet quality or value for money thresholds

As well as constructing new prisons we are reconfiguring the existing estate so that men will be held in the right place at the right time in their custodial journey to support their rehabilitation. We will simplify the organisation of the prison estate into three key functions: reception, training and resettlement through to 2021. Decisions regarding which function individuals will serve are subject to ongoing modelling. In your email you asked about our plans for Altcourse prison; its future function has not yet been confirmed.

To support the transformation of the prison estate we have developed evidence-based Models for Operational Delivery (MODs) which recognise the need to consider the varying requirements of prisoners. Specific modelling activity has been undertaken to ensure cohorts with specific needs including men convicted of sexual offences, older prisoners and foreign nationals can be managed effectively.

The MODs enable governors and commissioners to deliver effective services for the function(s) of the establishments and the specialist groups they hold. By matching people in prison to the function(s) that a prison fulfils, prisons will be able to deliver the right outcomes, and people in prison will be better supported to turn their lives around.

As part of the wider prison reform agenda, the PETP is introducing a significant expansion of video capability in prisons through the introduction of Video Conferencing Centres (VCC). New VCCs are already operational in HMP&YOI Durham and HMP&YOI Wandsworth with a new facility at HMP Leeds to be opened in early 2019. These VCCs underpin Reconfiguration by supporting Reception prisons to serve the courts.

There are currently no plans to close any prisons (male or female) in England and Wales. Turning to your concern about creating new immigration hubs we are working with the Home Office to explore options for managing foreign national offenders.

In the meantime, it is right that we continue to focus on safety and decency in the prison estate. In addition to our baseline funding for maintenance, we have agreed an additional £16m to start to improve conditions across the estate.

The combination of building new prisons and the reconfiguration of the existing estate will address basic issues such as safety and decency, reduce crowding and drive improvements in rehabilitation.

I shall be respond separately to your Freedom of Information request for information about PETP.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Carling

Briefing and Stakeholder Manager

Prison Estate Transformation Programme