This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
WOMEN at HMP Peterborough are being locked up for about 23 hours a day with some considering suicide as a result, inspectors have revealed.
The prison, run by outsourcing giant Sodexo, holds about 300 women and female young offenders, ranging from inmates on remand to those serving life sentences.
Chief inspector of prisons Charlie Taylor found that the site had several areas of good practice, but raised concerns over the impact that coronavirus restrictions were having on inmates.
“Women repeatedly described the debilitating impact that being locked in a cell for about 23 hours every day was having and the toll it was taking on their mental health and emotional wellbeing,” Mr Taylor said.
“Some even told us they had considered suicide, although what we found was a prison that was safe, calm and well-ordered.”
Levels of self-harm had slightly increased since the prison had returned to a more restricted regime in January, but remained lower than before the pandemic hit.
Mr Taylor also warned that many women reported difficulties in ordering menstrual care products and delays in receiving them, which he said was “unacceptable and needed to be resolved as a matter of urgency.”
His report adds that inmates had repeatedly told inspectors about such problems. It states that “women should have ready access to menstrual care products, soap and hand sanitiser” — a legal requirement under a law introduced in 2019.
The report says that quality and diversity needed to be better promoted and that some women with disabilities required better support.
Howard League for Penal Reform chief executive Frances Crook said: “It is almost impossible to imagine the immense scale of mental distress to be found in a private prison where hundreds of women have been held in solitary confinement for months on end.
“This report reveals the urgent need for restrictions in Peterborough to be lifted safely and swiftly, and it underlines why the current inquiry by the all-party parliamentary group on women in the penal system, into women’s health and wellbeing in prison, is so timely and important.”
The prison’s director Damian Evans said: “We note the recommendations raised in the report and are acting on them.
“For example, we have already ensured that all women are reminded about how to access the sanitary products which are always available to them.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.