Plan to expand jail population

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PLANS have been unveiled to increase the population at Channings Wood prison at Denbury by 360 inmates.

An application on behalf of the Ministry of Justice has been submitted to Teignbridge Council to increase the resident population of the Category C prison.

The proposals involve the construction of two new three-storey housing blocks.

In addition, the scheme also involves a range of improvements to other supporting buildings and facilities across the prison complex.

This includes new five new builds and a range of extensions and refurbishments to existing buildings.

Built in 1974, the current prison population is more than 700.

Details submitted with the application state the prison population is expected to increase over the next 10 years, reaching ‘unprecedented’ levels.

A planning statement on behalf of the Ministry of Justice said: ‘Whilst the overarching goal at Channings Wood is to increase the inmate capacity, the overall works offer significant benefits in the operations of the site and the ancillary accommodation that can be offered to the inmates.

‘A focus on work and education is built in across the deliverables within the scheme, offering an opportunity for teaching within ancillaries including the kitchen, horticulture and workshop buildings.

‘This will vastly improve the educational approach across the entire site.’

The nationwide plan is to embark on a programme of prison expansion, delivering more than 18,000 additional prison spaces, including the 10,000 Additional Prison Places Programme, first announced by the Prime Minister in August 2019.

The statement adds: ‘The simple fact is that there is significant unmet demand for Category C places for adult males and the Category C estate is continuously operating at full capacity.

‘The supply deficit means that many Category C offenders are being restricted to access to services for education that are known to support and speed up their rehabilitation.

‘This negatively impacts their re-establishment back into the wider community which ends up being much more expensive for the taxpayer.

‘The expansion at HMP Channing Woods therefore provides an opportunity to invest in the existing prison by improving and expanding accommodation and educational facilities on the site.’

The application involves demolishing an existing educational block, storage facility, horticultural building and office cabins and building two houseblocks, horticultural work shed and six polytunnels, a games pitch, workshop, prison store, kitchen, extension to existing office block and reception, new internal access road, additional car parking and extension of security fence and landscaping.

The aim is to ‘deliver new prison places to meet an identified need’,’deliver improved outcomes for prisoners’, deliver opportunities for jobs and training during the construction and operational phase, provide enhanced facilities, including sports and leisure.

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