If Barbie did prison cells: Jail where inmates do their own decorations
The bijou dimensions and vivid decor suggest Barbie’s budget boudoir, but this is actually a jail cell.
Female inmates at HMP Peterborough in Cambridgeshire are allowed to paint their living quarters in their favourite colours and, as this picture shows, at least one opted for a garish shade of pink with matching curtains, bed linen and laundry bag.
The initiative was revealed in a report last week by Charlie Taylor, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, in which he described how prisoners were ‘able to personalise their cells, which they appreciated, and many we saw were painted in bright colours, which women said made them feel more homely’.
Inmates at the 400-capacity institution – previously likened by a local MP to a Butlin’s holiday camp – were also issued with pedometers to help count their daily steps
Female inmates at HMP Peterborough in Cambridgeshire are allowed to paint their living quarters in their favourite colours
According to the study, inmates at the 400-capacity institution – previously likened by a local MP to a Butlin’s holiday camp – were also issued with pedometers to help count their daily steps. They were handed out as part of a fitness drive introduced when the gym was closed because of Covid restrictions.
‘PE staff had made efforts to offset the lack of structured exercise by offering women advice on in-cell fitness and nutrition on request, as well as some yoga,’ the report says.
It added: ‘Weight management was important to a number of women we spoke to, and the prison encouraged them by issuing pedometers and PE staff visited units each week to allow women to weigh themselves.’
Almost two-thirds of prisoners at the jail described the food as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’, although there were complaints about the main evening meal being served as early as 3.30pm. Inmates at the privately run jail, which is operated by French firm Sodexo, also said they were treated ‘with respect’, with 82 per cent agreeing that staff behaved courteously towards them.
When it was established in 2005, HMP Peterborough, which also houses a separate men’s jail, was criticised for offering spa services such as aromatherapy and Indian head massages.
Stewart Jackson, the Tory MP for Peterborough from 2005 to 2017, said at the time: ‘It is wrong that prisoners are being treated in this way. Are they using it as a Butlin’s holiday camp?’
Damian Evans, Sodexo’s director of HMP Peterborough, said: ‘ Given that prisoners have been spending far more time in their cells, we have allowed a degree of personalisation to assist with mental health and wellbeing, all within the boundaries of safety and security.’