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This Super Prison Gives Inmates Their Own Laptops And Mobile Phones

Mark McGowan

| Last updated 

This Super Prison Gives Inmates Their Own Laptops And Mobile Phones

HMP Berwyn has opened in Wrexham and it's absolutely massive. It's been dubbed a 'super prison' and when fully opened will house more inmates than anywhere else in the UK.

When full it can take more than 500 prisoners than the currently largest operational facility, HMP Oakwood in Featherstone, with HMP Berwyn able to hold 2,106 people.

But that's not what makes it so special. You see, HMP Berwyn aims to reform prisoners, rather than punish them.

Each inmate is given a phone and a laptop, as well as other luxuries that you perhaps wouldn't expect in jail.

The laptops will have access to the Internet and inmates will be able to arrange visits, order their weekly meals and shopping and complete any work related to their studies.

The building's split into three blocks, holding 88 people altogether at this moment and each named after lakes in North Wales, but only one block is currently in use.

The others will open in the summer.

A fourth, smaller section will house 21 inmates and is designed for those that need to be separated from the others.

Credit: Cascade News

But it has garnered a lot of debate. Russ Trent, governor of the £212m prison, hit back at people who said that those in there at Her Majesty's pleasure had it too easy.

"I think Berwyn can be a truly rehabilitative prison where the men will be kept in decent conditions and given every opportunity to live law-abiding lives when they return to their community.

"It's important that when people have committed a crime and have been sent to a custodial setting, when they are released back into the community they have a chance of living a law-abiding life and can support their family.

"The opportunity we have got at Berwyn is we have got staff that understand the principles of rehabilitation and the desire to give men in custody the hope that they can have a better life in the future.

He continued to stress the importance of how the prison can have facilitate and rehabilitate.

"When people have that, they are less likely to take their own lives and they are less likely to cause harm to the staff.

"When they are living in an environment where they have engagements all day, they are less likely to get themselves into trouble."

Credit: Cascade News

So, as is clear, education is a huge part of the new prison.

Louise Gibbons, head of learning and skills at Novus Cambria, said: "I've worked in a number of prisons in the North West and it's a huge privilege to work in a purpose-built facility where rehabilitation is the most important part of our work."

There's also an education block, workshops, sports hall, multi-use games areas, a health and wellbeing centre and multi-faith centre.

And if inmates fancy a kick-about, there's also a full-sized football pitch.

What do you think? Is this the way forward for rehabilitating people, or are they having it too easy?

Featured Image Credit: Cascade News

Mark McGowan
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