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Inside UK’s biggest ever jail with no bars on windows and four footie pitches

These are the first pictures of Britain's biggest ever prison.

The huge jail is due to open next year and will hold up to 1,680 inmates in Wellingborough, Northants.

But aerial photos reveal its four-storey buildings will have no bars on the windows.

Officials held the topping-out ceremony for the new £253million US-style facility last week.

The jail has been built on the site of the former HMP Wellingborough, which closed in 2012, and held up to 650 inmates.

The cross-shaped design marks a radical departure from the traditional K-block-style prisons favoured since Victorian times.

Its x-shaped wings mean the corridors are broken up into smaller zones, rather than miles of long landings and walkways.

The design will let staff have more direct contact with prisoners.

Older jails, which have come under criticism for overcrowding and filthy conditions in recent years, were designed so that a single officer in the centre of the radial arms could survey all the cells quickly.

The category-C jail will not hold the most dangerous prisoners.

Some inmates will have unobstructed views from their cells over the River Nene.

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The prison’s landscaped grounds will also include four football pitches.

Its buildings have been arranged around landscaped courtyards, with the cross-shaped design offering a better use of the outside space for sports and gardening facilities.

Bars have also been removed from the cells’ windows and there will be one central hub for education, vocational training and social facilities placed between the seven cross-shaped blocks.

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It is seen as a flagship example of the previous Tory government’s aim to create a modern, efficient prison estate.

Last year it emerged that the prison will provide more than 850 jobs for local residents.

Speaking when the prison construction was announced, then-Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “Providing offenders with decent conditions and regimes is absolutely key to turning their lives around and ultimately keeping the public safe.”

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