The first inmates will arrive later at a new privately-run prison in Wolverhampton.
HMP Oakwood will be run by G4S, who already run six prisons in England and Wales, including HMP Birmingham, HMP Altcourse in Liverpool and YOI & HMP Parc in Bridgend.
The prison will house 1,605 category C male prisoners.
G4S said it expects the prison to be at “operational capacity” by the autumn.
The prison has been built next to the existing HMP Featherstone and HMP Brinsford.
HMP Oakwood is named after an oak tree, the so-called Royal Oak, thought to have been used by King Charles II to hide from Cromwell’s troops, in nearby Boscobel Wood.
Mark Leech, editor of Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners said: “I welcome the opening of HMP Oakwood, which I visited last week, it will help to ease overcrowding in the West Midlands and enable more West Midlands prisoners to be closer to their families.”
Mr Leech said that the fears of local residents were understandable but that this was a normal process when a new prison opened.
“Every time a new jail opens there are these fears, but they will reside quite quickly once people realise prisoners won’t be scrambling over the walls – however as a Category C Prison taking convicted sex offenders the local residents do need to know that these prisoners can be allowed out to visit the local area with their families once a risk assessment has been conducted.”