G4S have announced that one of Britain’s largest – and the newest – prisons will be called HMP Oakwood when it opens in Wolverhampton next month.

The contract to operate the prison – previously referred to only as ‘Featherstone 2’ –  was awarded to G4S last year by the Ministry of Justice.

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.

Located next to the existing HMP Featherstone and HMP Brinsford near Wolverhampton, HMP Oakwood will be one of the largest prisons in England and Wales, providing places for up to 1,605 Category C male prisoners.

The first prisoners will be accepted next April, and the prison is expected to be at full capacity by next autumn.

Along with the new name, G4S has also named Steve Holland, former Governor of HMP & YOI Portland  as the new Director (equivalent to a Governor in the public sector) of HMP Oakwood.

Steve brings over 20 years of experience in the Prison Service, from his days as a prison officer at HMP Liverpool in 1991, to positions including Governor of HMP Dorchester, Deputy Governor of HMP Blakenhurst, Head of Residence at Styal Women’s Prison, Head of Residence at HMP Long Lartin and Head of Security at HMP Risley.  Prior to his time in the prison service, Steve served as a police officer for almost 15 years in both Greater Manchester and Ontario, Canada.

Steve Holland said:

“This is the most exciting role I can imagine and I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead this project”.

Jerry Petherick, Managing Director, Custodial & Detention Services, G4S said:

“We are delighted that Steve has accepted the position of Director at HMP Oakwood. He has a wealth of experience that he brings to the role and we wish him every success.”