The largest custodial facility in the UK designed towards rehabilitation
North Wales, UK
2,106 person prison
When it opened in 2017, HMP Berwyn created great public interest. With a capacity of 2,106 male prisoners, it became the biggest custodial facility in the UK, with room to grow further.
Built on the site of a demolished factory near Wrexham, North Wales, the Category B/C prison has three residential four-storey blocks. A campus design, it features soft landscaped areas with, at its centre, an industry building with 12 workshops that are leased to companies using vocational labour to make goods like furniture. It also has an education building, offering courses in the performing arts, IT and more.
The design premise of Berwyn is to help people rejoin society via a process of ‘normalisation’. Within cells, strict safety standards have been applied. The prisoners are not called prisoners but ‘men’, and the cells ‘rooms’. “It’s part of an evolution of UK prison design towards rehabilitation,” says tp bennett’s Kevin Bell.
With budgetary constraints, Berwyn was also created to an efficient and space-saving design, with wings designed for 2–3 officers per 60 people. As a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) flagship scheme, HMP Berwyn is now expected to set the standards for future large prison designs.
The project was designed by tp bennett’s Kevin Bell and Daniel Dominguez while at Capita Property and Infrastructure.