G4S wins race to run new Five Wells mega prison at Wellingborough

wellingborough super jail prison 6/10/20
The new prison at Wellingborough will be run by G4S Credit: PA Images

Controversial security company G4S has won a £300 million Government contract to run the new mega-prison at Wellingborough.

The latest category C jail will be named HMP Five Wells after a group of historic wells surrounding the area in Northamptonshire, where it is located.

The prison cost £253 million to build and will house 1,680 inmates.

It is set to open in early 2022, on the site of a former jail which closed in 2012, and will create 700 jobs.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) picked the security company as its preferred choice to be awarded the contract in July but the decision was met with a legal challenge from a rival bidder the following month.

G4S was last year stripped of its contract for running Birmingham Prison seven years early.

The jail, one of the largest in the country, was taken back under state control, having plunged into crisis under private management, according to a damning report by Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke.

His findings detailed scenes likened to a war zone in which inmates walked around "like zombies" while high on drugs and flouted the rules with impunity.

The new mega jail at Wellingborough Credit: ITV Anglia

G4S also pulled out of running Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport and the Medway secure training centre in Kent after BBC's Panorama programme broadcast undercover footage of inmates and detainees allegedly being mistreated.

But the company successfully runs four other prisons - Altcourse, Parc, RyeHill and Oakwood - all of which have won praise from inspectors.

The MoJ says privately-run prisons are "among the best-performing across the estate and have been consistently praised by independent inspectors.

It said 95% of scores of jails managed by G4S show their performance as good or reasonably good.

Graham Levinsohn, G4S regional chief executive for the UK and Middle East, said the "mutual aim" of the company and the MoJ is to make sure the new prison "becomes the blueprint for innovation, rehabilitation and modernisation in the Prison Service".