Plans to expand Wayland Prison

Up to 100 jobs will be created by plans to expand a Norfolk prison into one of the largest in East Anglia. Proposals were unveiled today to house an extra 300 inmates at Wayland Prison in Griston, near Watton, taking the total number up to 1,000.

Up to 100 jobs will be created by plans to expand a Norfolk prison into one of the largest in East Anglia.

Proposals were unveiled today to house an extra 300 inmates at Wayland Prison in Griston, near Watton, taking the total number up to 1,000.

The prison already employs 330 people, and governor Michael Wood said it would boost the economy, providing up to 100 more jobs ranging from prison guards to instructors.

The extension would house category C prisoners, the same as are already at the prison, and would include extra teaching blocks, workshops, a library and healthcare facilities.

Providing the plans are approved, Mr Wood expects that the extension will be up and running by November this year. The new cells would be part of a national programme to create space for 10,000 extra prisoners after the UK's prison population exceeded its 80,000 inmate capacity.

Mr Wood said: “This will be a massive employment opportunity for the area and very positive for enhancing the facilities we already offer at the prison.

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“There has always been a possibility for expansion at the prison and I think they have decided to move ahead with it because of the need for more prison places.”

Mr Wood believes it would be difficult for the prison to continue to grow after the expansion takes place.

The extension would be made up of five cell blocks, each housing 60 prisoners, and is being built on part of the prison's sports field.

Today, the plans were presented to the public, but Mr Wood said there were only minor concerns raised that will be addressed during the planning process.

Wayland specialises in the rehabilitation of sex offenders and regularly operates at about 99pc of its 709 capacity.

A report last year by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons said that although Wayland was one of the best performing prisons in Britain, overcrowding was restricting attempts to rehabilitate offenders.

A dilapidated wing of Norwich Prison which was deemed “unfit for human habitation” has also been reopened as part of the emergency measures.