Campaigners stop construction work at Wellingborough prison and have second protest planned for Friday

Protestors gained access to the building site.
Protestors gained access to the building site.

Work was halted at the new £235m Wellingborough prison after anti-expansion campaigners gained access to the building site.

Police were called out to Friday’s demonstration but say no arrests were made as the demonstration was peaceful.

Campaigners stopped work for a number of hours on Friday.

Campaigners stopped work for a number of hours on Friday.

This was the first campaign outside the prison and campaigners plan to come back this Friday (Aug 16) to make their views known again.

Caren, a campaigner with Community Action on Prison Expansion (CAPE), said: “The construction of a new mega prison will not serve the needs of the Wellingborough community. On the contrary, the project is designed to pad the pockets of private companies like Kier which is contracted to manage construction. And by building 1,600 new spaces to incarcerate people, we know this project will disproportionately harm working-class, BME and disabled people in our already failing prison system.”

The new prison, which will house 1,650 prisoners, is being paid for by the Government and is being erected on the site of the former jail in the Millers Park area, which was closed down in 2012 because of building conditions.

During the six-hour protest campaigners handed out flyers to local people. They claim the prisons are being built in factories which contract cheap prison labour.

Kier had to down tools on construction of the 235m mega prison.

Kier had to down tools on construction of the 235m mega prison.

They say the prison expansion programme leads to more people being jailed and argue that a better solution to overcrowding would be decarceration.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: “We facilitated a peaceful protest at the HMP Wellingborough site last Friday in order to ensure those taking part were kept safe and to minimise disruption to nearby businesses and the local community.”

Kier said today: “We respect everyone’s right to a peaceful protest. The new build Wellingborough resettlement prison replaces the former HMP Wellingborough and provides modern facilities, creating a safe and secure environment to encourage rehabilitation.”

The campaign has planned a second demonstration on Friday (Aug 16).