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Government announces first 'smart prison' which will give inmates laptops and tablets

Callum Jones

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| Last updated 

Government announces first 'smart prison' which will give inmates laptops and tablets

The UK government have announced plans for the first 'smart prison', which will give inmates access to laptops and tablets. Construction firm Kier will begin construction of the new prison in the Autumn and is set to be built in Full Sutton, East Yorkshire, at a cost of £400 million ($480 million).

The zero-emissions prison will be powered by solar energy and is set to open in 2025.

The government have said the UK's most expensive prison will designed "from top-to-bottom with the latest smart technology to cut crime and protect the public."

Liam Cummins, Group Managing Director of Kier Construction, said: "Delivery of the new prison at Full Sutton represents over a decade of Kier operating as a successful partner to the Ministry of Justice and highlights our ongoing commitment to the New Prisons’ Programme.

The new 'smart prison' that is due to open in East Yorkshire in 2025. Credit: Kier Construction
The new 'smart prison' that is due to open in East Yorkshire in 2025. Credit: Kier Construction

“This project will create hundreds of jobs as well as providing opportunities for prisoners on release, and we’re proud to give people the opportunity to work with us to deliver a best-in-class facility built on modern methods of construction and engineering excellence.”

Inmates will have access to laptops and tablets, however, that will come with some limitations. The technology devices will be connected to a secure prison server but will not have access to the wider internet.

Hope from government officials is that prisoners will use the access to look for jobs, apply for education, and to generally help them get back on track when they are released. They will also be able to access services that will be available in this first 'smart prison'

Speaking to the Mail, a Prisoners’ Education Trust spokesperson said: "Prisoners can access information about the prison they are in.

"For instance, they can book an appointment with the prison doctor, or apply to have library books, or see how much credit they have to make a phone call to their family.

"They can also read information that will help with their resettlement, such as advice on looking for a house or a job."

A 2017 study by the University of York has possibly prompted the government investing in a 'smart prison'.

The study found that inmates that have been able to use technology in prison have a lower rate of reoffending in the first year after release.

Inmates will have access to laptops and tablets. Credit: Pixabay
Inmates will have access to laptops and tablets. Credit: Pixabay

This new prison is not the first prison to include innovative technology for residents, however.

In March this year, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab opened a new prison in Northamptonshire that was 'designed with education, training and jobs for prisoners on release as its main purpose' - all of which the government say is proven to cut crime and reduce reoffending.

The recently opened prison includes 24 workshops and a large number of classrooms. Inmates can receive "formal learning, courses, qualifications and on-the-job training in areas including coding, car maintenance, fork-lift-truck maintenance, plumbing and engineering."

As with this 'smart prison', the aim of this Northamptonshire facility is to enable inmates to get straight back into work after release.

Featured Image Credit: Kier Construction/Mark Harvey/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: UK News

Callum Jones
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