HM Prison Peterborough
Tucked away on the outskirts of Peterborough lies HMP Peterborough, one of the most controversial prisons in the UK. This high-security Category B prison has been steeped in scandal and criticism since first opening its doors in 2005. But what is life really like behind the barbed wire fences? In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at this infamousinstitution, from its troubled history to the notorious criminals housed within its walls. We’ll also examine the impact HMP Peterborough has had on the local community, sparking fierce debate amongst residents. There’s no doubt this prison provokes strong reactions – but is it the nightmare neighbour many in Peterborough claim?
History and Background
Back in the early 2000s, HMP Peterborough was built on the former site of the Baker Perkins engineering works. Despite substantial local opposition, the Prison Service pushed ahead with plans for this new ‘mixed-use’ prison that would house both male and female inmates. They claimed Peterborough would revolutionizethe prison system and become a blueprint for jails of the future.
Opening and Early Controversies
When HMP Peterborough opened in 2005, the controversies began almost immediately. The prisonadvertised for reflexologists to offer treatments like Indian head massages to inmates. Many criticized this as pampering prisoners. Within its first few years, HMP Peterborough gained notoriety for ineffective rehabilitation, poor facilities and inmate unrest.
Poor Performance and Issues
In 2008, HMP Peterborough was ranked the worst prison in the country for measures like reducing reoffending rates. There were also complaints about unhealthy food leading to weight gain amongst prisoners. Over the years, HMP Peterborough hasfaced many problems including understaffing, overcrowding and high levels of violence. Prisoner rehabilitation and training programs have been largely inadequate.
Despite these ongoing issues, the Ministry of Justice announced plans in 2013 to build an additional houseblock at HMP Peterborough, increasing the overall prison population. This was met with opposition locally.
Life Inside HMP Peterborough
So what is day-to-day life actually like for prisoners detained behind the imposing walls of HMP Peterborough? With a mix of male and female inmates, the prison hasan unsettling atmosphere and tensions can run high.
Population and Layout
HMP Peterborough currently holds around 840 prisoners. The modern, square-shaped prison consists of four large wings, each with separate sections for males and females. Accommodation ranges from large dormitories to individual cells. Segregation units are also used to separate certain prisoners.
Facilities and Regime
Prisoners at HMP Peterborough have access to educational and vocational training facilities, workshops, a gym and exercise yards. However, OFSTED has rated the overall education provision as inadequate. Work for inmates includes packing and assembly jobs. The prison has a reputation for bored and frustrated prisoners spending most of their days confined to overcrowded wings.
Issues and Controversies
There is a high incidence of violence, drug-taking and self-harm at HMP Peterborough. The large prison population and lack of staff have contributed to control issues. Inmates have reported concerns over personal safety as well as poor quality food. The prison has been criticized by the Howard League for Penal Reform over the treatment of vulnerable women prisoners.
HMP Peterborough has housed some infamous and dangerous criminals over the years.
High Profile Women
Several notorious female murderers have served time at Peterborough including Rekha Kumari-Baker who killed her two children, and Lucy Letby, the nurse who murdered multiple babies in her care.
Violent and Notorious Prisoners
Many violent male prisoners have passed through HMP Peterborough including Chelsea O’Mahoney who was involved in a homophobic murder, and child killer Emma Tustin. The presence of these hardened criminals adds to the tense atmosphere within the prison walls.
Impact on the Local Community
The opening of HMP Peterborough has had a significant effect, both positive and negative, on the surrounding area. There are strongly divided opinions locally about having a large prison located on the edge of Peterborough.
On the plus side, HMP Peterborough has created hundreds of new jobs and contributed to the local economy. However, some small firms have struggled due to loss of industrial site land. Property prices near the prison have also been negatively impacted.
Many nearby residents complain of increased crime and anti-social behaviour since the prison opened. There are also safety concerns about escaped prisoners. Meanwhile, others argue prisoners’ families moving to the area has enriched the local community.
Protests and Complaints
Numerous protests have been staged outside the gates about prison conditions and human rights breaches. Complaints are frequently made over light pollution from the large site. Some locals see the prison as an eyesore.
Ongoing Debate and Dialogue
Debate continues around the benefits versus drawback of the prison for Peterborough. Communication channels have opened up between the prison governors, prisoners’ families and community groups. However, tensions remain high making HMP Peterborough a controversial neighbour.
In conclusion, HMP Peterborough is a large, complex prison housing difficult inmates which has posed many challenges since opening. It has certainly put Peterborough on the map for the wrong reasons. However, despite its faults, the prison employs many local people and sustains families of prisoners. The debate surrounding the impact and future of HMP Peterborough looks set to rage on for years to come.
Q: When did HMP Peterborough open?
A: HMP Peterborough opened in 2005 amid much controversy.
Q: What type of prisoners are housed at HMP Peterborough?
A: It holds around 840 male and female prisoners of all security categories.
Q: What issues have there been at the prison?
A: There have been issues with safety, overcrowding, poor standards and inadequate rehabilitation programs.
Q: How has HMP Peterborough affected Peterborough?
A: There are both positive economic impacts and negative social impacts locally. It remains highly controversial.
Q: What is the future of HMP Peterborough?
A: Expansion plans have met local opposition. The prison’s role and effectiveness continues to be debated.