UK opens first ‘smart’ prison

Britain has opened a new prison designed “from top to bottom” with smart technology to help cut crime.

The government described the new facility, based in Northamptonshire, as the first jail to have been developed with education, training, and jobs for prisoners on release as its main purposes.

At HMP Five Wells, prisoners will have in-cell tablets to access education and learning from inside their cell. The government said that the jail will be “kitted out with stringent and robust security” to ensure the tech is not abused, alongside “cutting-edge body scanners” that will prevent contraband entering the wings.

The prison, which will house around 1,700 offenders when at full capacity, will have 24 workshops and a “large number” of classrooms, where prisoners will take part in formal learning, courses, qualifications and on-the-job training in areas including coding, car maintenance, fork-lift-truck maintenance, plumbing, and engineering.

“HMP Five Wells is a flagship example of this government’s plan to create secure and modern prisons that cut crime and protect the public,” said deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab. “From drug-recovery centres that employ abstinence-based treatment to world-class prisoner training courses, this smart prison is designed to tackle the key obstacles to cutting reoffending and making our streets safer.”

The government revealed plans for another smart prison next to HMP Full Sutton, East Yorkshire. Other locations are also being decided on for a further three facilities across the country.

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