Peterborough Prison: Attempted Escape, Bomb Scare, Rising Levels of Violence & Drug Use

HM Prison Peterborough is a category B prison for men and a closed prison for women and female young offenders. Opened in 2005, it is privately run by Sodexo Justice Services.

With a capacity of 1,228 it’s located in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. It is the UK’s only dual-purpose jail holding men and women and has a 12-place mother and baby unit. Recent news includes an attempted escape, a bomb scare and rising levels of violence and drug use.

Inmates Forced to Share One-Person Cells at Overcrowded Peterborough Prison

Inmates at Peterborough Prison are being forced to share one-person cells due to overcrowding, it was reported in August 2018. Ministry of Justice figures revealed that 1,220 inmates were crammed into 1,119 prison spaces in July. From April 2017 to March 2018, 20 per cent of prisoners were in overcrowded cells. Prison Reform Trust director Peter Dawson said: “Overcrowding isn’t simply a case of being forced to share a confined space for up to 23 hours a day where you must eat, sleep and go to the toilet. It directly undermines all the basics of a decent prison system, including work, safety and rehabilitation.”

Bomb Squad Called to Peterborough Prison

It was reported on April 13, 2018 that a bomb disposal unit had been sent to deal with an incident at Peterborough Prison. An RAF explosives disposal van and a bomb disposal robot were spotted in a large, cordoned-off area outside the jail. It was reportedly suspected that there may have been an explosive device in the engine bay of a silver Volkswagen Golf in the prison car park.

Violence Soars at Peterborough Prison

A report published in August 2018 said rising levels of violence and drug use continued to challenge bosses at Peterborough Prison. The report said action was needed to address the over-use of strip-searching, bullying by inmates and use of force by officers on the jail’s women’s wing. Violence had risen since the previous report with 116 serious assaults in the men’s prison and 17 in the women’s prison. Drugs were found to be widely available and having a “negative impact on inmates’ safety”.

Inmates ‘Abused’ After Attempted Escape by Sex Offender

Security changes after an attempted escape from Peterborough Prison left inmates open to abuse, according to a report published in August 2018. Child sex offender Gintautas Urbonas used gardening gloves and a rope made of face towels to scale a wall in January.(See the full story on the attempted escape from HMP Peterborough here.) Security measures were increased following the incident and vulnerable inmates were “subject to cat-calls and abuse” as they were escorted through locked-down areas of the jail. A Sodexo spokesman said: “We welcome the findings of the IMB annual report, which has found prisoners to be treated fairly with good support extending into the community for their release.

“Common to the rest of the prison estate, drugs and violence are a challenge at HMP Peterborough, and the report recognises our continued focus on keeping prisoners safe and on efforts to reduce violence.”

Peterborough Prison Contact Details

The address is HMP Peterborough, Saville Road, Westwood, Peterborough, PE3 7PD. The phone number is 01733 217 500 and the director is Damian Evans.

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