THE gardens are landscaped, the river views lovely. And the design of the buildings is strikingly innovative.
Those staying there can enjoy exercising, including the use of four football pitches, and a variety of activities is on offer indoors, including educational classes, vocational training and social facilities.
But no, it’s not a holiday resort … it’s a Category C jail.
The £253million project, on the verge of completion in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, will be England’s largest prison, holding 1,680 inmates.
It comprises seven X-shaped blocks, rather than buidings with long corridors, ‘to facilitate better contact between wardens and inmates’. Most noticeably, there will be no bars on the cell windows – to stop prisoners throwing out objects or receiving drugs flown in by drones.
The aim is said to be putting rehabilitation at the heart of the Government’s crime-cutting strategy, with further such prisons planned.
That’s all very well, you may say. But is it right to be splashing out millions on such comfortable facilities for criminals when the public purse has never been so straitened and the country’s financial future never so uncertain? Should we instead be constructing more spartan accommodation? Let us know what you think.