New Category B and C prisons, each containing 1,715 inmates, are being proposed to be built at Wethersfield air base in Braintree.
They will each follow the new standardised designs, consisting of seven separate house blocks each rising to four floors with 240 inmates in each block.
Each prison will also have support buildings. These will include a reception area, kitchens, workshops, a visits hall and offices.
In local community consultation papers, newly-appointed prisons minister Victoria Atkins said: “We believe that, following detailed feasibility work, land next to Wethersfield air base would be a good location for two new prisons as part of the prison estates strategy.
“Our plans, if successful, would bring many benefits to the local community, such as hundreds of jobs during construction, careers within the prison sector and an increased spend in local businesses.”
If a decision is taken to proceed, planning permission will be sought next year.
The Government has committed to creating 18,000 additional prison places by the mid-2020s’, through a combination of building new prisons, as well as extending, refurbishing and maintaining existing prisons.
Four are planned as part of the Ministry of Justice’s £1bn New Prisons Programme.
These will be delivered by a framework of preselected contractors: ISG, Kier, Laing O’Rourke and Wates.
Earlier this month, MoJ submitted plans for a major new prison in Lancashire adjacent to HMP Garth and HMP Wymott near the town of Leyland.
Other prisons in the pipeline include Full Sutton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, another new category c prison planned on land adjacent to HMP Grendon and HMP Springhill in Buckinghamshire.