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HMP Peterborough (Men)

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Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Peterborough (Men) by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (8–18 January 2024)

Peterborough (Men) healthy prison scores

Bar chart showing the healthy prison outcomes at HMP Peterborough (Men) in 2024 compared with 2018. Safety had improved from not sufficiently good to reasonably good; respect had fallen from reasonably good to not sufficiently good; purposeful activity had dropped from reasonably good to poor; preparation for release had dropped from good to not sufficiently good.

What we found

Peterborough’s population was transient and demand for resettlement help was high. The prison had released around 1,200 men in the last 12 months and in the same period had received around 700 men who had been recalled to prison for breaking the rules of their community supervision period. Around a third of those released were high risk prisoners. There was not enough housing support, with about 30% of all releases going out street homeless. Despite this high level of need, the housing adviser had not entered the prison for over a year and there had been no substantive head of reducing reoffending for nearly two years.

The early release scheme (End of Custody Supervised Licence) had added further pressure, and a number of men released under the scheme, for whom accommodation had not been found, had been recalled to prison even before their original release date had passed.

The prison was also struggling with staffing, with around a third of officers typically being unavailable for duty. Many staff said that they felt unsupported, and morale was low. Senior staff had also been deployed to support other Sodexo prisons over the last 18 months, which had contributed to the overall deterioration of the prison which inspectors had previously considered one of the better reception and resettlement prisons.

This was a worrying inspection. It is particularly disappointing that Peterborough, which has historically been one of the better resettlement prisons in the country, has suffered for its more experienced staff being taken to shore up other struggling jails run by Sodexo. But its deterioration also shows the strain that is on all of our prisons at the moment, with common themes such as drugs, staffing challenges, overcrowding and a revolving door for those caught in a cycle of reoffending. Until prisons focus on breaking that cycle by providing meaningful education, employment and other rehabilitation, our communities will continue to suffer, because where there is reoffending, there are more victims.

Charlie Taylor, Chief Inspector of Prisons

Easy read summary
(PDF, 627 KB)
Population profile
(PDF, 147 KB)

Action plan