£200m prison contract

THE operator of Ashfield Prison in Pucklechurch has been awarded a £200 million contract to run the jail for the next ten years.

Contractor Serco announced the deal itself in April, saying the award had come “following a competitive procurement process”. 

Serco has been responsible for managing the prison, which houses adult male sex offenders, since 2005. 

The contract is now extended to 2034, with options for further extensions of up to two years.

HMP Ashfield is a Category C “training and resettlement” jail, holding offenders considered to be a low escape risk but unable to be held in an open prison.

When last inspected in October last year, it had 410 inmates.

Chief Inspector of Prison Charlie Taylor rated the prison ‘good’ for safety, respect and preparing inmates for release but ‘poor’ for providing purposeful activity.

Serco says the prison employs about 200 people.

Serco managing director for justice and immigration Mark Whittaker said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to continue to run HMP Ashfield. 

“We have managed the prison since 2005 and we are immensely proud of our track record there and our team that performs a challenging and difficult role with great professionalism and humanity. 

“We believe that our approach and ethos can bring about positive change to the prisoners who are there and we look forward to continuing to make a positive impact on their lives.”