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Prison officer arrested on drugs charges

A prison officer at HMP Holme House in Stockton has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

The 43-year-old, who has not been named, has been suspended while police investigate the allegations.

A spokesperson for Cleveland Police said: "A 43-year-old man was arrested last Tuesday on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Police enquiries are continuing."

Concern over prison privatisation

Acklington Prison is now under private control

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.


North East suspects held in 'inadequate' cells

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.

Northumberland prison officers 'sickened and infuriated'

Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith has told the Prisons minister that staff at HMP Northumberland are 'sickened and infuriated' by the rejection of their bid to keep the prison in the public sector.

Two private sector bids have gone through to the next stage of the tendering process.

Northumberland prison was formed last year after the merger of HMP Acklington and YOI Castington.

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