'Unacceptable': Women at Peterborough prison experience difficulties in ordering sanitary products

Credit: ITV Anglia

Prison inspectors have said problems women are facing in getting sanitary products at  Peterborough women's prison are ‘unacceptable’.

Prisoners had repeatedly raised the issue to inspectors in March. They have said the problems must now be resolved as a ‘matter of urgency’. 

There were several areas of good practice at HMP Peterborough, according to chief inspector of prisons Charlie Taylor, but he raised some concerns.

Many women reported that there were difficulties in ordering menstrual care products and delays in receiving them, which was unacceptable and needed to be resolved as a matter of urgency. Women should have ready access to menstrual care products, soap and hand sanitiser.

Charlie Taylor's latest inspection report

Inspectors were also told some felt suicidal having only been allowed out of their cell for one hour a day. 

Women repeatedly described the debilitating impact that being locked in a cell for about 23 hours every day was having and the toll it was taking on their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Some even told us they had considered suicide.

Charlie Taylor's latest inspection report

He added the prison was safe and well ordered. 

HMP Peterborough is run by Sodexo and holds around 300 adult and young women serving various sentence lengths.

We are proud of the work undertaken by our team and our professional partners and we remain appreciative of the continued cooperation of our prisoner population and their families. We note the recommendations raised in the report and are acting on them. For example, we have already ensured that all women are reminded about how to access the sanitary products which are always available to them.

Damian Evans, director at HMP Peterborough