The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for HMP/YOI Peterborough – made up of volunteers appointed by ministers to ensure prisoners are treated humanely – has published its annual reports for the year ending March 2019 for the male and female prisons.
HMP Peterborough is the country’s only dual gender prison, one for men and one for women, housed in separate establishments. In its reports the IMB concludes that, overall, prisoners in both establishments are treated fairly and with respect.
The Offender Management in Custody key worker initiative, which provides one-to-one support to prisoners, was successfully implemented in the men’s prison. The Board is pleased this will be rolled out in the women’s prison shortly. Preparation for release, which includes a good education and work provision and a focus on maintaining family ties, is very important in both prisons. Finding sustainable accommodation on release, however, continues to be challenging.
The increased focus on safety is having a positive effect on levels of violence and use of illicit substances, although levels of drug misuse, violence and debt continue to be of concern.
The Board is concerned that the women’s prison holds an increasing number of prisoners with complex needs, which places a strain on staff and fellow prisoners. The prison carefully considers their needs and the mental health care support is good; however the Board is concerned that some women with complex needs have been segregated for long periods. The Board invites HMPPS to consider how it might work with the prison to ensure these women’s needs are addressed more effectively.
Pauline Davidson, IMB Chair, comments: “To the credit of those working there, HMP Peterborough remains a well-run prison. The Board welcomes progress made, especially in violence reduction initiatives and measures to combat the availability of illicit substances.”
The IMB at HMP/YOI Peterborough will shortly be recruiting and welcomes interest from members of the public who would like to take on this challenging but rewarding voluntary work. Visit www.imb.org.uk for more information.