Inside Britain’s Newest Jail Where Prisoners Get Their Own Laptops And Mobile Phones

Inmates get their own phones and laptops at the UK’s biggest and newest prison .

HMP Berwyn, which has opened in Wrexham, can hold more than 2,100 prisoners, dwarfing HMP Oakwood, near Wolverhampton, with a 1,600 capacity.

Each two-man room — they’re not called cells — will have a laptop as well as a phone, shower and toilet.

The laptops will not have access to the internet but will be used to arrange visits, order meals for the week and do their weekly shopping, as well as complete any work related to their studies .

Russ Trent, governor at the £212m prison, hit back at claims that it was not punitive enough.

He said: “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.

“People are being taken away from their families and their homes — that is the punishment.

“While they’re here, it’s our job to give them every chance to better themselves and become better educated, with better work opportunities and being someone that the community can be proud of.

“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.

“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.”

The facility is split into three blocks, with each being able to hold up to 702 men, which are named after bodies of water in North Wales — Alwen, Bala and Ceiriog.

At the moment, only one block is operational. The blocks are broken up into 24 communities, which can hold up to 88 people. There are even specific communities for armed forces veterans.

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Author: JOHN JEFFAY