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23 Jan 2018

Howard League responds to Peterborough women’s prison inspection

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Peterborough women’s prison, published today (Tuesday 23 January).

Inspectors visited the prison in September last year and found it to be “not sufficiently” safe for women. The use of force by staff was found to be “very high” – more than double that usually seen in women’s prisons. Inspectors were concerned by the overuse of strip-searching.

Peterborough, which is run by Sodexo, is the only prison in England and Wales that holds both men and women on a single site.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The problems in our failing prison system are spreading. The chaos in men’s prisons is becoming clearer by the day, but today’s inspection report is the first in years to find that a woman’s jail is not safe enough.

“It is shameful that the challenges in the men’s prison at Peterborough have become so overwhelming that women on the site are receiving less support. As most women only stay in Peterborough for a few weeks, this report should prompt ministers to question why we send them there at all.

“Bold but sensible action is needed. Putting less strain on the system by reducing the prison population would prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of crime and despair.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  1. A copy of the Peterborough women’s prison inspection report will be available from Tuesday 23 January on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website.


Rob Preece
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