Bars won’t fitted on windows at new prisons after a report called them ‘punitive’ and ‘institutional’
- Prison architecture should be reformed to boost rehabilitation, study suggests
- Her Majesty’s Prison Service said bars would be replaced by reinforced glass
- A report is being compiled on whether prisoners should instead be called ‘men’
Bars will not be fitted on windows at new jails after a report described them as ‘punitive’ and ‘institutional’.
A government-funded study suggested the architecture of prisons should be reformed to help boost the rehabilitation of offenders by ‘normalising their environment’.
Her Majesty’s Prison Service said bars would be replaced by reinforced glass following the report by Yvonne Jewkes, professor of criminology at Bath University.
Bars will not be fitted on windows at new jails after a report described them as ‘punitive’ and ‘institutional’. Stock image
She is now compiling a second report on whether prisoners should be called ‘men’ and cells rebranded ‘rooms’. The two studies together will cost around £600,000.
Her findings are being implemented in a trial at HMP Berwyn, the largest jail in England and Wales, with the aim of creating a more ‘domestic’ environment by renaming prison blocks as ‘communities’, and calling holding cells ‘waiting rooms’.
It could also see inmates provided with laptops when they arrive as well as facilities for tea and sandwiches.
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HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, which is designed as a rehabilitaion prison for low-risk category C offenders, opened last year and will hold 2,100 when it is completed.
Officials have confirmed that no new prisons will have bars – which are probably the first image the public traditionally associates with prisons.
Professor Jewkes told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It’s about what difference can prisons make if they can rehabilitate offenders. It’s treating prisoners with trust, respect and dignity. It’s encouraging them to invest in themselves and their futures.
Officials have confirmed that no new prisons will have bars – which are probably the first image the public traditionally associates with prisons. Stock image
‘That’s not an easy sell to the general public or for ministers. It’s about normalising the environment and making it less institutional.
‘To take a small example, when I first started talking to the Ministry of Justice in 2016 there were conversations about whether there should be bars in windows. You have either horizontal or vertical bars to signal punishment.
‘By the time I finished discussing the research with them, the plan was to have no bars in windows. There’s no reason for them. They are highly symbolic. They go back to when there were no windows in cells and they had no glass in them. It’s rather behind the curve.’
She also recommended ending the doubling-up of inmates in cells, greater access to more outdoor space and better use of nature.
Last night the Prison Service confirmed that bars would not be used at jails in future, and said the change would improve security. Stock image
Last night the Prison Service confirmed that bars would not be used at jails in future, and said the change would improve security.
Officials added they would study the results of Professor Jewkes’ investigation, which was backed by the Economic and Social Research Council.
A spokesman said: ‘Secure, sealed windows with toughened glass and narrow vents will be used in all cells in future prisons and is just one of the measures being put in place to help stop drugs and illicit mobile phones.
‘These windows are difficult to break, making them more effective in stopping prisoners from accessing contraband.’
The policy follows news that jail chiefs have installed a photo booth at HMP Lowdham Grange in Nottinghamshire to help inmates bond with family visitors.
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