Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Sunday, 22 June 2008 13:57 UK

New prison wing 'to open on time'

Norwich prison construction site
The site had to be cleared of munitions left on the former army base

A new wing being built to replace a condemned Victorian cell block at Norwich Prison is on schedule to be opened on time.

The prison's governor said the 176-cell unit and education building will help inmates come off drugs and to reform their lives away from crime.

Chief inspector of prisons Ann Owers condemned the 1880s A-wing as unfit for human habitation.

The new unit is scheduled to be opened in April 2010.

Prison governor Paul Baker said: "The very last thing we're doing is building any type of holiday camp

"Any prisoner who comes through this unit, on drugs or dealing drugs, we'll be challenging them, getting them off the drugs and getting them to start their lives again drug free."

Prison governor Paul Baker on new wing roof
Prison governor Paul Baker said the new wing will help with rehabilitation

Dick Baird Parker, the Prison Service's head of site security, said: "We've taken the unusual step of banning all mobile phones because they are banned from prisoners and we don't want any to end up in their possession.

"Our major concern is there is a large crane which we don't want prisoners to have access to. To get through the physical security of the prison would be very simple."

Live munitions

John Bannister, the project manager said there were also security issues with munitions left on site from the time when HMP Norwich was an army base.

"We found four explosive devices, two 3.5in mortars, one rifle grenade and a hand grenade and clearly that caused some concern," he said.

"That's why we did the clearance and checking afterwards, because the last thing we want in a year's time is a prisoner to walk into the wing with a hand grenade in his hand."

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