North East politicians are expected to raise concerns in Parliament this week about security concerns at Acklington Prison in Northumberland. It was transferred to private ownership yesterday and is now managed by Sodexo Justice Services.
Up to 200 prison jobs are expected to go. Unions have accused the company of putting profits ahead of public safety, something it denies.
Detainees awaiting court hearings are being held in "deplorable" or "poor" cells according to a HM Inspectorate of Prisons report. Four crown courts and 12 magistrates courts in Teesside, Durham and the Northumbria force area were visited.
Inspections found that women and children were being held too closely to men and religious needs were not being met. In some courts pregnant women had to sit on hard benches for several hours, while there was limited provision for those with disabilities or faith-related needs,
HM Courts and Tribunals Service said improvement work was being carried out to be completed by the end of the financial year.
The Prison Service has released a statement, after a report was released about the availability of drugs at Durham Prison.
"Tackling drugs is a priority for Durham and the misuse of drugs and prescribed medication will not be tolerated. Robust supply-reduction measures have been introduced and the consequences of misuse have been strengthened.
"These tough measures are in conjunction with effective clinical and non-clinical inventions focused on recovery."