Wellingborough prison protesters back at site of £235m facility

Wellingborough prison protesters attached themselves together with lengths of PVC pipe
Wellingborough prison protesters attached themselves together with lengths of PVC pipe

The construction of Wellingborough prison’s new £235m facility has been disrupted for the second Friday in a row.

Protesters have attached themselves to PVC pipes and blockaded the entrances to the construction site of the new HMP Wellingborough mega-prison.

Wellingborough prison protesters

Wellingborough prison protesters

Construction company Kier is building the new prison, which will eventually house 1,650 prisoners.

The new prison 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.

Community Action on Prison Expansion (CAPE) group members are campaigning to stop the government’s prison expansion project and dissuade private companies, like Kier, from taking government contracts to build and operate the new prisons.

A CAPE spokesman said: “Building new prisons and incarcerating more people does nothing to address the root causes of harm in our communities, it simply sweeps away and isolates those who have been made the collateral damage of the government’s austerity project.

CAPE Wellingborough prison protesters 'Friday, August 16

CAPE Wellingborough prison protesters 'Friday, August 16

“The UK already has the highest prison population in Europe.

“The £1.3 billion being spent on prison expansion should be invested in addressing the root causes rather than the side effects of social and economic problems in our communities.

“The £253m should instead be spent to support social services, education, infrastructure and health care in the local Wellingborough community.

“Prisons disproportionately incarcerate people who have been victims of state violence and neglect; 24% of adults in prison grew up in the care system and 29% are survivors of childhood abuse, disabled people, people of colour and the mentally ill are also disproportionately targeted by the criminal justice system.”

CAPE campaigner Anna added: “Companies like Kier pad the pockets of their millionaire shareholders and CEOs by locking up vulnerable people.

“We want the prison profiteers to drop these contracts which we know will harm communities around the country for generations.”

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

After last week’s protest Kier said: “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.”