HMP Fosse Way
The new HMP Fosse Way mega prison is set to become one of the UK’s largest correctional facilities when it opens later this year. Located on the site of the former HMP Glen Parva in Leicester, the Category C prison will house over 2,000 inmates and aims to be a flagship for rehabilitation initiatives.
Location and status
HMP Fosse Way occupies a 32-acre site on Welford Road in Leicester, just northeast of the city center. Construction is currently underway, with developers and contractors working to finish buildings and infrastructure to allow the first prisoner arrivals in late May 2023.
The prison campus contains over a dozen residential units as well as facilities such as workshops, classrooms, and healthcare services. It sits adjacent to farmland and the River Soar, surrounded by high perimeter fencing topped with razor wire. Once fully operational, the prison will provide accommodations for 1,930 male inmates.
Operator and contract details
Private prison operator Serco manages HMP Fosse Way’s facilities and rehabilitation programs under a 10-year contract with the Ministry of Justice. With experience running prisons across the UK, Serco aims to implement innovative initiatives focused on education and skills training. Their contract incentivizes reducing inmate recidivism through offering trade certifications, counseling services, and community partnerships.
Capacity and costs
With a price tag of £286 million, Fosse Way is one of the most expensive prison construction projects undertaken by the Ministry of Justice. The mega jail will eventually hold over 2,300 prisoners if expansion plans go through. The initial capacity caters to Category C inmates serving shorter sentences or approaching release.
After nearly 5 years of planning and construction, HMP Fosse Way will begin intakes in late May 2023. The opening has been delayed from the original target due to supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. Prison staff are currently undergoing training and orientation.
Initial prisoner transfer
The first group of inmates will transfer to Fosse Way on Monday, May 29. Around 500 prisoners from six surrounding prisons will move to the new facilities over a phased rollout. Priority is being given to inmates enrolled in educational, vocational, and rehabilitation programs.
Future expansion plans
While originally designed for 1,930 prisoners, HMP Fosse Way was recently granted approval to boost capacity by 250 additional places. This expanded capacity will help reduce overcrowding in the UK prison system. Further growth is limited by the site footprint and infrastructure constraints.
History of the site
Previous use as HMP Glen Parva
The history of the site now occupied by HMP Fosse Way traces back over half a century. Opened in 1957, HM Prison Glen Parva previously stood on this property until its closure in 2017. Glen Parva housed young adult and juvenile inmates in an aging, inefficient facility.
Closure and redevelopment
After the Glen Parva site was decommissioned and demolished, the Ministry of Justice designated the strategically located land for a modern prison. Its proximity to Leicester’s courts and transportation links made it an optimal location. Planners envisioned a campus focused on rehabilitation and skills training.
Construction and development
Planning and approvals
Architects and contractors broke ground on HMP Fosse Way in 2018 after extensive planning and public feedback. Concerns were raised over environmental impacts, traffic, and safety. After revisions to the designs, Leicester City Council granted approval along with final sign-off from the Ministry of Justice.
Major structures took shape quickly as hundreds of construction workers labored on-site. Delays plagued the ambitious project, including Covid-related supply chain issues and labor shortages. Installation of sophisticated security technology and extensive landscaping is nearing completion.
Facilities and operations
Prisoner categories and living conditions
Inmates at Fosse Way live in single or shared cells dispersed through 11 residential units, the largest holding nearly 300 prisoners. Younger offenders are separated from the general population. Conditions aim to be safe, clean, and dignified, with access to recreation yards and facilities.
Education, training, and rehabilitation
As a rehabilitative prison, HMP Fosse Way offers workshops, classrooms, and counseling to help prisoners pursue meaningful careers after release. Inmates can gain qualifications in construction, engineering, agriculture, coding, catering and more. Library services, gym equipment, and arts programs also aid development.
Staffing and administration
At capacity, over 500 prison officers, instructors, counselors, and healthcare staff will operate facilities and coordinate programs at Fosse Way. Office spaces accommodate administration teams that oversee personnel, budgets, training, communications, and partnerships. The prison aims to cultivate a supportive working environment alongside a rehabilitative inmate culture.
Contractors and partnerships
Serco manages custody services, while specialist providers deliver training, education, healthcare, maintenance, catering, and more through contracted arrangements. Community partnerships are also key, with charities, volunteer groups, and potential employers assisting rehabilitation initiatives.
Technology and security
As a modern, high-capacity prison, HMP Fosse Way utilizes sophisticated tech for access control, surveillance systems with hundreds of cameras, and perimeter detection aids. Emergency response protocols are in place, while physical barriers and staff patrols maintain order. Officers frequently search for contraband.
HMP Fosse Way represents a new model for rehabilitation-focused prisons in the UK’s justice system. If the ambitious initiatives pay off after opening, it could provide a blueprint for future correctional services focused on community reintegration. While costs are high, success in reducing recidivism could deliver long-term socioeconomic benefits. Ongoing evaluation will determine areas for improvement in delivering education, mental health treatment, and skills training to empower inmates for productive futures.
What category of prisoners are housed at HMP Fosse Way?
HMP Fosse Way holds Category C adult male inmates who pose a lower security risk, often nearing the end of sentences or transitioning back into society.
What is the capacity of the new mega prison?
The prison capacity is 1,930 initially, with approved expansion plans to eventually accommodate 2,300 inmates.
Who operates HMP Fosse Way?
Serco Group operates custody, rehabilitation programs and facility maintenance under a 10-year Ministry of Justice contract.
How much did construction of the prison cost?
At £286 million, building the large HMP Fosse Way complex was an expensive undertaking over nearly 5 years. This investment aims to improve rehabilitation outcomes.
When will the first prisoners arrive?
After some delays, prisoner transfers to HMP Fosse Way will begin on Monday May 29, 2023 and continue in phases over the following weeks.