Andrew Selous MP, Minister for Prisons, Probation and Rehabilitation has today opened the new extension at HMP Thameside, which is managed and operated by Serco on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
The extension contains a new house block which will accommodate up to 332 prisoners in 216 cells as well as a Flexible Activity Centre which has 10 work units. With the new extension, HMP Thameside will hold a maximum of 1232 prisoners, but normally operate with a maximum of 900 prisoner places. The workshops will provide training in skills such as printing and textiles The building of the new extension has been completed on time and budget and the first prisoners will be accepted into it in April this year. Serco signed the £34m contract with the MoJ to build and manage the extension in December 2013. Prisons Minister Andrew Selous said: "I welcome this new wing at Thameside which is part of our commitment to delivering modern, fit-for-purpose prison accommodation which provides better value for the taxpayer. We have been clear that we will always have enough prison places for those sent to us by the courts. That is why this Government has increased the adult male prison capacity from the level inherited at the end of the last Parliament."
John Biggin, Serco's Director of HMP Thameside said "The new extension will enable us to increase the variety of skills and qualifications that prisoners can develop in preparation for their release and will enhance their ability to find meaningful employment in the community. Thameside is making good progress after a challenging start and everyone here knows that we still have much to do. The new facilities will make an enormous contribution to the work that we do with our partners in reducing re-offending".
The most recent report by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons highlighted that the prison has made 'considerable progress since the last inspection in January 2013 with improvements evident across all four of the healthy prison tests and was now arguably one of the better local prisons in the capital '.Read more
Working with Serco to deliver an offender management service are its two partner agencies, Catch 22 (behaviour management and liaison with external services such as probation) and Turning Point (issues arising from drug and alcohol misuse). The Prison Service has contracted education provision to The Manchester College, and career information and advice to Prospects. Health services have been contracted to Care UK until April where it will transfer to Oxleys.
HMP Thameside originally opened in March 2012 having been designed and built by Serco. Located adjacent to HMP Belmarsh and HMP Isis in South East London, it is a purpose built local prison serving several East London courts. The prison currently holds up to 900 Category B prisoners; approximately 50% remand and 50% sentenced prisoners. It can also accommodate un-sentenced male Young Offenders. The extension will enable the prison to provide a resettlement unit preparing prisoners for release into south London.