Castington Youth Custody Centre is to take life prisoners for the first time, it was revealed last week.
This is less than two years after similar plans were shelved because of fears over security. The unit, which will have new security measures added, will accommodate up to 40 lifers beginning their sentences, before they are transferred to adult prisons at 21.
The move was announced at a meeting in Morpeth last week between representatives of local councils, the Home Office and the governors of Acklington and Castington prisons. Acklington prison is also to increase its intake of lifers from 40 to 60 over the next two years. They will be housed in a new accommodation unit.
The move at Castington will mean a northern base for under 21 life-serving prisoners.