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Acacia Prison, Wooroloo, Australia
November 26, 2004 The West Australian
A drug dealer is suing the company that runs WA's only private prison over an injury he sustained while working in the prison workshop. Pasquale "Peter" Mancini has twice been operated on at Hollywood Private Hospital while serving a 10 1/2-year jail term resulting from police operations that netted big amounts of heroin, cocaine and speed. He launched legal proceedings against Australian Integration Management Services this month over the rupturing of his pectoral muscle. His writ alleges he was exposed to danger while working as the leading hand at the Acacia Prison workshop and wasn't given prompt medical treatment, exacerbating the injury. He claims AIMS failed to maintain a safe system of work, required him to lift boards alone, and did not provide mechanical or other assistance.

Addiewell Prison
Aug 21, 2021 todayuknews.com
Prison guards routinely turn a blind eye to illegal activities inside crisis-hit Addiewell prison, according to whistleblowers.

The allegations regarding the West Lothian institution were made by insiders ­sickened by the way the privately-operated jail is being run. They come after the Record yesterday revealed shocking images of an inmate kissing a warder at the jail. The crisis in the prison has prompted calls for the Scottish Government to step in and sort out the jail, run by Sodexo.

Whistleblowers told how:

Organised crime gangs are controlling the institution.

Management believe “staff cost them money, prisoners make them money”.

Broken alarm systems are not being repaired because it would cost too much money.

Staff are encouraged to play down incidents on reports and safety is secondary to profit.

The whistleblowers have also claimed relationships between prisoners and officers are “rife” and several staff members have been suspended or sacked for smuggling in contraband. Yesterday we told how a cocky convict secretly filmed himself kissing a prison officer for ­bragging rights with other cons. The video shows Addiewell prisoner Kevin Hogg in a passionate clinch with warder Rachel Wilson after she enters his cell. Insiders said it’s just one incident which shows how out of control the prison is. Politicians are now demanding that the Scottish Government looks into the claims and ensures staff have the resources to be able to do their jobs effectively. The whistleblower said: “There is problem after problem. Staff have been known to walk out with keys in their pockets because the biometric slider system is broken and has been for so long. “They’ve been caught going out with alarm fobs and not getting sacked and management said it’s because it would cost £2.5million to replace the locks and they just keep it quiet so the Scottish Prison Service don’t find out and they save money. “Management have asked staff to underplay incidents on report sheets, especially if they want to ship a certain prisoner out the jail because they’re having bother with them. They’d say, ‘Just go and say this,’ and you get POs [prison officers] who do it because they don’t want sacked or to be out of the clique within the prison.” Whistleblower claims gangs run Addiewell jail and prison guards ‘turn blind eye' He added: “Staff have been forced to resign because they’ve been caught bringing in packages and stuff, at least four of them. Another staff member was recently caught sleeping with a prisoner. Relationships with the inmates is a regular occurrence.” The whistleblower went on: “Violence against staff is horrific as well. The POs are scared of the prisoners, they’re not being trained properly – the prisoners are in charge, without a doubt. “In other wings, ill prisoners or prisoners needing hospital treatment have been left for days without being seen because the staff forget or there’s a lack of awareness or they just can’t be bothered to write the reports. “Prisoners like the weekend because they know there’s not enough staff to deal with them. “They will co-ordinate ­incidents to kick off because they know there’s not enough first response teams to cover. “They find it funny. It’s dangerous for the staff because all it would take is one or two incidents to kick off where staff need help and there’s not enough people on shift to get to them. “Staff morale is through the floor. The nickname for the prison is SPS training school. People come in and move on to the prison service.” The whistleblower claimed the warders may only have interpersonal skills to fall back on in violent situations. He added: “But if a prisoner is running at you with a weapon, telling him to think of the consequences isn’t going to cut it. He’s going to plunge that weapon right in. “We are given basic safety training but you need back-up and most of the time it’s not there. When anyone is attacked by a prisoner it’s a case of clean up the blood and get back on the floor. “The prisoner is not ­sanctioned. Officers are routinely threatened by the prisoners and blind eyes are turned on it.” Last night, leading ­politicians called on the ­Scottish Government to get a grip on the crisis-hit jail. Scottish Conservative community safety spokesman, Russell Findlay MSP, said: “Prison officers deserve ­recognition and gratitude for dealing with ­Scotland’s most dangerous and depraved people. “But the public must have faith that prisons do not become safe places for organised crime gangs who already wield far too much power throughout society. Whistleblower claims gangs run Addiewell jail and prison guards ‘turn blind eye' “This prison is known to house members of the gangs responsible for large quantities of drugs in our communities. “These thugs need to ­understand it’s the staff who run the place, not them, and the SNP Government needs to ensure staff have the resources and support they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. “Any reports of officers becoming compromised or controlled by criminals must be taken seriously. “We owe staff a duty of care but those who become involved in illegality must be rooted out and held to account.” Labour MSP Pauline McNeill said: “A weak regime is not in the interests of staff or prisoner safety. “There has been controversy for some time on private prisons and whether they are spending adequately on staff training and investing in proper practices. “There has to be greater scrutiny over private prisons like Addiewell and as a matter of urgency we should consider bring it back to public control if standards are found wanting. “In the short term, prison management should review all practices and training and recruitment processes.” HMP Addiewell said: “We are committed to running a prison that is safe for all who live and work there. “We take whistleblower allegations very seriously and have processes in place to ensure that these are swiftly looked into and that whistleblowers’ rights are protected. “We can be clear that procedures are in place to ensure proper security levels are maintained and areas are risk assessed.”

Mar 25, 2020 en.brinkwire.com

Rioting prisoners carrying metal bars smash up jail in Scotland
Two police officers have been injured in a suspected riot at a prison as tensions over coronavirus soar inside jails across the UK. Police were called to Addiewell Prison in West Lothian, Scotland, on Monday after rioting prisoners carrying metal bars were said to have ‘smashed up’ part of the jail and stabbed a prison officer who had been taken hostage. The riots comes after it was announced that prisons across England and Wales would be shutting down jail visits in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 which has now claimed the lives of 422 people in the UK. A number of prisons have already confirmed cases of COVID-19 as cases soar across the UK and Boris Johnson orders Britons to stay inside. However anxiety inside jails over coronavirus continues to grow due to the close proximity of prisoners and fears staff will go off sick with the disease. Today video footage from Addiewell Prison showed a prisoner laughing as he filmed the vandalism done to the private jail’s Forth D hall. The prisoner said: ‘Mate, you’s have lost the plot. Have you trashed the whole place?’ He also asked a bare-chested prisoner in the video: ‘Where’s your cosh,’ before the thug brings a length of metal into shot. A source told the Daily Record: ‘A hardcore of prisoners at HMP Addiewell went on the rampage and smashed things up, leading to a lockdown. ‘They situation there has been growing more tense every day, as there is no effective way to apply social distancing inside a jail. ‘Prisoners are angry that others with symptoms are not been taken of the premises until they are confirmed as suffering from the virus.’ A Scottish Prison Service spokeswoman said the incident had now been dealt with. She said: ‘An incident took place yesterday in HMP Addiewell where a small number of individuals were involved in a disturbance in one section of the establishment. ‘The incident was brought to a safe conclusion and the prison was secured on Monday night. The individuals involved have been reported to Police Scotland.’ Today the Ministry of Justice confirmed that visitors would no longer be allowed to enter the establishments in an effort to keep staff, inmates and families safe and protect the NHS’s ability to cope with the surge in coronavirus cases. A message of their Twitter page read: ‘We have suspended all prison visits in England & Wales for today. This is while we ensure safe & secure functioning of our prisons while enforcing social distancing. ‘If you have a visit booked today, please do not attend. Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.’ The Prisoner Officer’s Association (POA) also confirmed that inmates would be locked up for most hours of the day and would be let out only to access necessities such as showers or to use the phones and exercise. National chair of the POA, Mark Fairhurst, confirmed that the new plans were approved on Monday night after talks with the government brought to light that more prisoners were showing symptoms of the coronavirus.  He told The Independent: ‘More and more staff are self-isolating, more and more prisoners are showing symptoms of Covid-19, and in order to protect staff, prisoners and the general public, it is now necessary to self-isolate our prisoners to stop the spread.’ He added: ‘We’ve continued to work normally for as long as we possibly can and I think families of prisoners will be relieved that they’re not at risks and prisoners will be relieved that their loved ones will be safe at home instead of travelling all over the country into packed visit halls and putting themselves at risk. ‘In my local prison, HMP Liverpool, prisoners have been asking why they haven’t been locked down yet, so we’re hoping there will be a sensible reaction from prisoners. They must realise that this is for their safety and their loved ones.’ Addressing the Prime Minster’s new coronavirus lockdown rules on Monday, the POA General Secretary Steve Gillan said: ‘The POA recognise that Prison staff are key workers, but the Prime Minister statement is a game changer. ‘It was always envisaged that regimes would be kept as normal as possible, but that position has now altered and the POA will continue to work with Government and Employer to keep our members and prisoners as safe as possible. ‘These restrictions will bring their own challenges operationally, but the Director General Phil Copple has made the correct decision.’ According to the new prison restrictions, essential workers such as kitchen, laundry and cleaning staff, will be unlocked to carry out their work and prison staff will be briefed on arrival for duty.The latest announcement comes as it was revealed today that a prisoner has contracted the virus at the all-male Oakwood Prison near Wolverhampton and is in self-isolation. G4S, the private company which runs the jail, said it was continuing to monitor national guidance. John Whitwam, managing director, G4S custodial and detention services, said: ‘We have confirmed one case of coronavirus at HMP Oakwood. ‘The health and safety of our staff and the people in our care is our top priority and we have existing, well-developed policies and procedures in place to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases. ‘We are in regular discussion with Public Health England and following their guidance. ‘The person concerned had already been self-isolating since Tuesday, in accordance with national guidance, and will remain in isolation and in regular consultation with our on-site health professionals. His family have been contacted and will be kept up-to-date.’ Oakwood joins HMP Manchester and HMP High Down in having confirmed cases of coronavirus. It is believed visits to Oakwoood have reduced amid the crisis. The POA said it ‘praised the decision of the Secretary of State for Justice and the Director of Public Sector Prisons for their decision to place Prisons in England and Wales on immediate lockdown’. Last week it was revealed that almost 1,000 prison officers have gone into self-isolation and some security procedures may have to be halted if there are staff shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak, it is understood. Prison cell searches and drug tests for inmates might be scrapped in a bid to cope with absences during the crisis. Some 900 prison officers were off work and self-isolating on Thursday. ‘Core security processes’ will ‘cease’ and prisoners will need to be confined to their cells if jails in England and Wales do not have enough staff, according to official guidance seen by BBC News. Meals, medication, prisoner safety and family visits will be prioritised. The number of prison officers off work rose on Friday, sources told the BBC. The guidance is also said to advise against starting new offender behaviour programmes like those put in place for sex offenders. The news came after a former chief inspector of prisons called for low-risk inmates to be released from prison to avoid them becoming ‘incubators’ for coronavirus. Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Nick Hardwick suggested prisoners with only a short amount of their sentence left to serve could be freed to help ease the pressure on the prison system.

April 7, 2004
GUARDS at privately run Acacia Prison in Wooroloo remained on strike last night in a stand-off with prison management over the guards' claim of dangerously low numbers of staff and the suspension of a union delegate. About 100 guards on strike claim that Australian Integration Management Services does not put enough staff on each shift to ensure safe working conditions. The union wants at least 32 guards on a shift to supervise about 740 inmates.  Spokesmen for the company did not return phone calls yesterday.  The strike began on Monday when the company suspended a union delegate who had called an Acacia Joint Unions meeting, then escorted from the jail about 40 guards at the meeting and locked them out. Jail guards on the next shift voted not to work.  Community and Public Sector Union branch secretary Toni Walkington said the union wanted the suspended delegate reinstated and an opportunity to discuss staffing and other issues with management. "They just don't appear to be prepared to sit down and discuss in a meaningful way," she said. Before the strike, guards had met at the start of each shift to make sure there were enough staff on it. "Basically, Acacia has paid less than rates payable in public prisons and staffing levels have not met the same standards and we have tried bargaining processes and a whole range of different avenues to meet what are adequate standards, not necessarily the same as public standards, but adequate standards," Ms Walkington said. "We have managed mostly to be able to talk that through but what has become evident is that Acacia need to make savings in their operations.  "Basically, we think that they can't return a profit as a privately operating prison so they're just squeezing their workforce to make the difference between a profitable operation and an operation running at a loss."  The jail was being run by a skeleton staff, mainly of management.  "Without a doubt, the normal activities of the prison cannot occur at the moment so prisoners will have to be spending most of their time locked up in the cells," she said. "There will be no programs addressing issues of why people first offended, no education, their activities, rehabilitation programs won't be happening."  (The West.com)

April 6, 2004
The union representing prison officers at the Acacia Prison east of Perth says workers will continue to press their claim for increased staffing levels.  The Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union says officer numbers at the private prison are simply inadequate.  (ABC.net)

Bronzefield female prison
Jul 22, 2016 rawstory.com
Private prison inmate dies of an overdose after calling for help for two hours
An inmate at a private prison in England died after apparently overdosing on prescription drugs after trying to alert prison authorities for more than two hours.  On Friday, The Guardian reported that Natasha Chin, a 41-year-old inmate at the Bronzefield female prison in Surrey, England, was found dead in her cell earlier this week after prison staff said she had been ringing her alarm bell for two and a half hours. Prison staff at Bronzefield, which is run by the multinational food corporation Sodexo attempted CPR, but pronounced Chin dead at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.  The Guardian notes that Chin was recovering from surgery, and was taking the prescription medication to help her recuperate. The inmate was apparently released from prison in April, but was apparently recalled to Bronzefield three days before her death. There has been a recent increase in the amount of self-harm incidents involving female prisoners in the UK, The Guardian wrote: In 2014-15 there were 191 incidents of self-harm per 100 female prisoners, and 30% of women self-harmed, compared to 10% of men in prison, according to official figures (pdf). In all there were 7,415 incidents of self-harm by women in prison, an increase of 11% on the previous year. According to figures from the the UK’s Ministry of Justice, Bronzefield is the most expensive private female prison in England and Wales, with the with the ministry paying Sodexo £64,445 [$84,433] per inmate per year. Deborah Coles, the co-director of the UK-based charity Inquest, which provides support to the loved ones of prisoners who die in custody, told The Guardian that “Bronzefield is a private prison, being paid vast amounts of public money.” She said that the new head of the Ministry of Justice should visit Bronzefield “and ask questions as to why they are seemingly incapable of keeping women safe.” According to the Center for Media and Democracy’s public interest wiki SoureWatch, Sodexo — a multinational food corporation with headquarters in France — had invested in the private prison company Corrections Corporations of America from 1994 to 2001, but cut its ties to the US private prison industry after facing public outcry from numerous university campuses. SourceWatch notes, however, that Sodexo is still heavily invested in the private prison industry in Europe. But private prisons are still a booming industry in the US, having profited off of mass incarceration rates due to the Drug War, as Raw Story reported in April. The demonization of marijuana by the Reagan administration led to overcrowding in state and federal prisons. Between 1980 and 2011, the state and federal prison population increased from 316,000 to 1.5 million, with another 700,000 in locally run jails. That’s when the largest private prison companies known as CCA and GEO Group realized there was big money to be made by signing contracts with states that simply didn’t have the resources to imprison the influx of non-violent drug offenders. America’s cultural disease of criminalizing rather than rehabilitating its citizens deepened. Raw Story noted that private prisons are often funded by taxpayers at the state level, which allows for their parent companies to become enormously wealthy. Just last year, the CCA raked in $1.79 in revenue. The controversy surrounding the private prison industry has even made it into the US general election cycle. Raw Story reported that in March, Donald Trump, now the GOP’s presidential nominee, said that the prison system can best be reformed through privatization. “I do think we can do a lot of privatizations, and private prisons it seems to work a lot better,” Trump said. The Intercept also wrote that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, reportedly cut ties to private prison lobbyists after activist groups criticized her about accepting donations from the industry. But as The Intercept noted in June, Damon Hininger, the CEO of Corrections Corporations of America, told an investor forum that month that his business will profit regardless of who is in the White House. “I would say that being around 30 years and being in operation in many, many states, and also doing work with the federal government going back to the 1980s, where you had Clinton White House, you had a Bush White House, you had Obama White House, we’ve done very, very well,” he said.

HMP Addiewell, Scotland
Jan 16, 2019 heraldscotland.com
Inmates at private prison HMP Addiewell 'shun lessons to play computer games', inspectors say
Prisoners at Scotland's 'learning' prison are choosing to sit around playing computer games rather than attending classes, according to an inspection report. High staff turnover and staff shortages are also causing problems, leaving new prison officers supervised by workers who have little more experience than they do, an inspection of the privately-run HMP Addiewell has revealed. In some cases, inmates know more about the way the West Lothian jail is run than the staff, the inspectors said. Scotland's new Chief Inspector of Prisons inspected Scotland's newest prison in August. Wendy Sinclair-Gieben was appointed in July, and her first report on the prison, run by Sodexo under contract to the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), says it is safe and well run. The report praises a computerised kiosk information system used by prisoners, backs a partnership with Police Scotland to tackle the dangers of 'legal highs', and says the prison is doing good work to reduce self-harm. However it says Addiewell, which was set up to be a learning establishment, helping prisoners gain skills and reduce their offending, struggles to get prisoners engaged in education, paid jobs and work experience. Some sessions are poorly run. The report says only 18 prisoners out of around 70 in one block were attending education when inspectors visited. But the activities were unstructured and not obviously educational: "Most of the prisoners attending mezzanine sessions engaged in computer games or activities to pass the time, rather than constructive educational work," the report says. High quality facilities for sports, including an indoor games hall and a football pitch are not being regularly used because of "low levels of prisoner participation," it says, and because use of a fitness centre has dropped to around 25 per cent of capacity, many exercise classes do not take place. The quality of learning and teaching within the classrooms was good, the report says. "However, the engagement by prisoners was constrained by the fact that typically, half the allocated places in any one session remained unfilled." Inspectors say it is unclear why so many prisoners were failing to attend their scheduled classes. Ms Sinclair-Gieben expressed similar concerns about employment opportunities at the prison. Nearly two-thirds of the work offered to prisoners is in 'ambassadorial' roles or prison 'passman' duties, the report says, adding: "The remaining opportunities were in work parties that included industrial cleaning, painting and decorating, barbering, grounds work, maintenance, recycling, stores and the main kitchen. "However, almost all work opportunities were limited to simple, repetitive tasks that did not engage prisoners well, and few of these led to useful vocational qualifications." Some prisoners do emerge with qualifications, in areas such as cleaning, food hygiene, construction skills and roads and street works, the report says, and The biggest concern raised by staff was in relation to staff shortages, and the prison was 36 short of its full staffing complement when inspectors visited. More than a third of prison officers at HMP Addiewell have less than two years experience and one in five has less than 12 months experience, the report says, adding: "New staff were being supported and coached on the job, often by individuals with little more service than them, and openly stated to inspectors that this was of concern to them."  Staff are regularly cross-deployed to cover shortages in other halls, according to the inspectorate, and it says this makes it difficult for individual members of staff to get to know prisoners or colleague. "Throughout the inspection, it was observed that hall staff were often at their desks and not engaging with prisoners in the halls. Staff were often found carrying out a number of different roles, in different locations, during their shift." Nevertheless, the report says, "Whilst recognising the challenges that the inconsistency of staffing creates, it was clear that there was a working relationship within the halls... and that the interactions between the staff and prisoners were, in the main, professional." Ms Sinclair-Gieben said: "Overall, the prison is on the cusp of a positive future if the momentum is maintained and the matters identified in this report are addressed." Scottish Labour's Justice spokesperson Daniel Johnson MSP described the report as "deeply". He added: “The problems at Addiewell Prison have been well known for some time – and it is essential action is now taken to resolve them. “In particular, it is clear there are issues with accountability and responsibility with this private contractor. That is why it is essential that the SNP government now look at bringing this prison into public sector management once it expires. “In the meantime, the Sodexo must urgently engage with the findings of this review.”

Jul 22, 2018 dailyrecord.co.uk
Jail chiefs face £40,000 phone bill after mobiles seized at crisis-hit HMP Addiewell
Five phones as well as drugs and knives were found in a major police crackdown on organised crime in a crisis hit private jail. Now the £65million prison run by French facility management giants Sodexo is facing a £40,000 penalty over the mobiles. It is understood the jail can be fined up to £8000 for each phone smuggled into the jail under the noses of prison officers. The money is withheld from payments made to Sodexo by the Scottish Prison Service each year for running the jail. Police Scotland and Sodexo last week confirmed the discoveries. It’s understood the phones will be examined by police for the identities of the criminals who inmates were contacting. Many gangsters continue to run criminal operations from behind bars and use contacts on the outside to smuggle in drugs and other contraband. Detective Inspector Paul Batten said: “Staff at HMP Addiewell carried out a search of various areas of the prison on July 18 where they recovered a number of mobile phones and other prohibited items.” An Addiewell spokesman added: “Drugs, mobile phones and other illicit items are an issue across the whole prison estate and we regularly carry out intelligence-led searches of the prison. Our staff work hard to stop these items getting into the prison. “During an intelligence-led search, excellent work by our staff led to the recovery of a number of illicit items. “We report all such incidents to the Scottish Prison Service, and to Police Scotland where this is appropriate. ” Two weeks ago, a prisoner was found wandering in the lifers wing by a stunner prison officer after his cell door was left unlocked. Sodexo could also be hit with a further financial penalty over the door blunder.

Jan 12, 2016 holyrood.com
Scottish Government ministers have confirmed plans to broaden the scope of freedom of information laws later this year. Contractors who run Scotland's two private prisons at Addiewell and Kilmarnock will be subject to FOI requests from September, as will providers of secure accommodation for children, grant-aided schools and independent special schools. The announcement comes almost a year to the day since Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew claimed powers to extend FOI to non-public sector bodies delivering public services as a result of outsourcing had been “woefully underused”. The government also looks set to give into pressure to include housing associations after acknowledging there are “persuasive arguments favouring extension” to registered social landlords (RSLs). A full consultation on the proposal will take place this year. Ministers have the power to extend FOI to third parties providing public services under Section 5 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, though have only done so once to encompass bodies providing culture and leisure services on behalf of local authorities. A consultation was launched in June last year on extending coverage to four separate types of organisation. Implementation will now go ahead five months after originally planned due to concerns about rushed timescales. Ministers also intend to relax a requirement to respond to requests within 20 working days for “certain bodies in certain circumstances”. Agnew said: “We are pleased about the further extension of FOI, and hope this current order is simply the next in a series. “Extension to these organisations will give the public a right to information about performance, standards and how public money is spent.  It will also place a duty on organisations to publish information proactively. “Over the coming months we’ll be working with the organisations to help them prepare for their new responsibilities, to ensure that they are ready by the September deadline.” Though ministers initially said they were not “persuaded of the merits” of extending coverage to housing associations, views were sought on which other bodies should be brought under FOI as part of the recent consultation. A “considerable number” of responses backed a petition currently before Holyrood requesting that housing associations fall under the Act, while the Scottish Information Commissioner has pressed for the move to be made. “Given this combination of factors we are now of the view that there are persuasive arguments favouring extension of coverage of FOISA to registered social landlords and that the sector should be formally consulted in order to fully explore the issues involved and consider which of their functions should be subject to FOISA,” said the Scottish Government in its response. “We therefore propose to consult the RSL sector in tandem with this year’s review of the Scottish Social Housing Charter.” Since the FOI Act came into force in 2005, over 15,000 Scottish households have lost FOI rights following the transfer of local authority housing stock to housing associations, according to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

April 25, 2012 STV
The company which runs Addiewell prison has been criticised over the way they recorded a prisoner’s medication. Richard McGhie, 41, was found dead at the jail in West Lothian in November 2010, less than a month after beginning a three-month jail term for assault. A fatal accident inquiry heard the private prison's record keeping was "haphazard" and noted that it had failed to make clear notes of what drugs were dispensed to inmates. Mr McGhie suffered from epilepsy and died when he had a fit in his prison cell. Staff tried to revive him but it was too late. On Wednesday, Sheriff Graeme Fleming delivered the findings of a Fatal Accident Inquiry into Mr McGhie’s death. He said all efforts had been made to save the prisoner and placed no blame on the prison or other parties. However, he did tell Sodexo, the company which runs the prison, they need to improve their record keeping.

March 26, 2012 STV
An epileptic prisoner who died in his cell may have suffered a rare type of fatal seizure, a court has been told. Richard McGhie, 41, was found dead in Addiewell Prison in West Lothian in November 2010, less than a month after beginning a three-month jail term for assault. A fatal accident inquiry heard that the private prison's record keeping was "haphazard" and noted that it had failed to make clear notes of what drugs were dispensed to inmates. Dr Richard Leitch said it was difficult to establish if Mr McGhie had been given the medication he needed, but added that he could not fault the care he received while in the jail. Dr Leitch also dismissed a suggestion that the prison should introduce movement alarms for epileptic prisoners, as they would trigger too many false alarms. The consultant neurologist said he was unable to identify whether Mr McGhie suffered a cardiac arrest, abnormal heart rhythms or some kind of fit.

January 23, 2012 Deadline News
FIREFIGHTERS today tackled the second blaze at a Scottish private prison within 11 days. Crews from three stations were called to Addiewell Prison, Addiewell, West Lothian, after a fire in a prisoner’s cell shortly after 7.30am. A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade said: “Once we gained access, the prisoner was removed and was placed in the care of the ambulance service.” Fire crews were called out to a blaze on the evening January 12 at the jail, which houses 700 inmates and has been dubbed the “Addison” because of its supposedly hotel-like luxury. Addiewell and Kilmarnock are Scotland’s only private prisons and have been criticised for being “cushy”, offering prisoners flat screen televisions and snooker tables to pass the time. On January 2 it was reported that as many as 70 prisoners went on a riot, firing snooker balls as missiles and setting fires after taking control of a wing for three hours. No-one was available for comment from Sodexo, the private company that runs the jail.

January 3, 2012 Daily Record
PRISONERS at Addiewell private jail went on the rampage last night after a crackdown on drugs. Inmates set fire to furniture and threatened prison officers. It is believed the riot was sparked by a clampdown on the illegal trafficking of drugs into the jail over the festive period. A prisoner at the West Lothian prison said: “There has been a problem with the supply of drugs into the jail over Christmas and New Year because they are getting stricter at visiting times. “And they’ve been raiding the cells for drugs and mobile phones. “The guys are not happy that their drugs are being taken away from them and they decided to do something about it. “It was like a powder keg over New Year.” Around 12 inmates out of more than 40 in Lomond Hall took part in the riot. A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said last night: “I can confirm there was an incidental HMP Addiewell which was dealt with locally by Addiewell staff. “The incident was contained to one part of the prison and the rest carried on as normal. “There have been no injuries to staff or prisoners.” A spokesman for Sodexo Justice Services, who run the jail, said the rest of the prison continued to run as normal during the riot.

December 3, 2011 The Scotsman
A PRISONER suffered serious cuts to his body after he was attacked by a fellow inmate at Addiewell prison. It is understood the prisoner was left with deep slashes to his chest and arms and lacerations to his face after he was attacked in the private prison on Wednesday night. It is believed he was struck with a crude weapon that had been fashioned from a glass jar or a similar implement. The man, believed to be in his 30s, was treated at the ERI. Today, an Addiewell spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on individual prisoners.” It is understood that the incident is now the subject of an internal investigation. Despite being one of Scotland’s most modern prisons, HMP Addiewell has seen several incidents of violence since it opened in December 2008. Prisoners at the £130 million West Lothian jail enjoy flatscreen televisions and en-suite showers. Despite these, over the past 18 months officers recorded 37 prisoner-on-staff assaults, and 75 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults at the private jail, run by Sodexo Justice Services. An incident in December last year saw one inmate throw scalding water over another who was allegedly bullying him, and stab him in the back twice with a makeshift weapon. The jail was also the scene of a major disturbance in October 2009 which saw seven prison officers assaulted, while damage in Lomond B wing was estimated at around £5000. Four prisoners were later given jail sentences totalling 17 years yesterday for their part in the disturbance. Police confirmed they had been called to the prison in connection with a fight, but said neither party was making a complaint and, as a result, no charges were made.

September 22, 2011 STV
A former prison officer has been accused of dealing drugs in jail. Garry McDonald worked at HMP Addiewell Prison, near Whitburn, West Lothian. Mr McDonald, 22, appeared on petition at Livingston Sheriff Court facing five offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The charges all cover offences of being concerned in the supply of drugs, He also faces an allegation that he took an unauthorised communication device into Addiewell. Mr McDonald, from Falkirk, has been charged under sections of the Prisons (Scotland) Act which cover mobile phones and sim cards.

May 30, 2011 The Scotsman
INMATES at privately-run Addiewell Prison make more complaints about conditions than prisoners in any other Scottish jail, with around 80 grievances lodged every week. Prisoners at the £130 million West Lothian jail, who enjoy flat-screen televisions and en-suite showers, have made 8921 official complaints since it opened in December 2008. The figures, which included 756 complaints over the quality of food and 47 over clothing issued to prisoners, meant it had more than double the number at any other Scottish jail. Sodexo Justice Services, which runs the facility once dubbed "Hotel Addiewell" due to allegedly excessive comfort for inmates, said many of the complaints were linked to it being brand new.

March 10, 2011 Daily Record
SCOTLAND"S showpiece private prison is more violent than any other jail of its size in the country, a shock report by inspectors has revealed. Addiewell jail has been dubbed the Addison - after the Radisson hotel chain - because cons enjoy flat-screen TVs, Sky Sports and en-suite bathrooms in their cells. But there were more attacks on staff and inmates at Addiewell in 12 months than at Saughton in Edinburgh, Perth or Kilmarnock prisons, which are about the same size. And the West Lothian jail has been hit by two major riots since it opened little more than two years ago at a cost of £130million. As he unveiled his first ever report on Addiewell, Scotland's chief inspector of prisons, Brigadier Hugh Monro, said: "I worry about the violence here, as I do in all Scottish prisons - particularly the staff assaults." And politicians described the level of attacks on Addiewell officers as "unacceptable" and "deeply disappointing". Addiewell staff suffered 49 "minor" attacks - almost one a week - in the 12 months to October 2010. There were also two serious assaults on officers. That compares to just 14 "minor" attacks and two serious staff assaults in the same period at Saughton, seven "minor" assaults at Kilmarnock and only five "minor" attacks at Perth. Addiewell was also worst for attacks by cons on other prisoners. There were 16 serious assaults - more than at Saughton (15), Perth (11) and Kilmarnock (11). The reports also records 278 "minor" prisoner-on-prisoner attacks at Addiewell. The figures for Saughton, Perth and Kilmarnock were 274, 195 and 154 respectively. Rioting erupted at Addiewell in October 2009. About 20 cons ran amok and an officer needed treatment in hospital. Just three months later, an officer was hit with a pool cue as violence erupted again. Reacting to the inspector's report, Tory justice spokesman John Lamont MSP said: "Addiewell has, in a short space of time, developed a poor history of protecting staff. It is deeply disappointing that they have not addressed this problem. "The level of violence in this prison is unacceptable. More must be done to ensure that better safety is provided so staff do not bear the brunt of it."

March 3, 2011 West Lothian Courier
A PRISON officer who smuggled heroin with a potential value of £32,000 into Addiewell Prison for an inmate has joined him behind bars. Kevin Coulter, from Bathgate, was imprisoned for 40 months after a judge told him this week that there was no alternative to custody. The 29-year-old, who was described as “totally unsuited” for the job, took drugs into the privately-run Addiewell Prison after his family came under threat. Lord Woolman told Coulter when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh this week: “That a prison officer should be a conduit for the supply of drugs is a matter of great concern.” The judge pointed out that drug use in jail was a major problem and he added: “The commission of this offence involved the breach of an important position of trust. “You did the very thing you were employed to detect and prevent.” Lord Woolman told him he would have faced five years imprisonment, but for his guilty plea. The High Court judge continued: “The supply of Class A drugs to a serving prisoner is a most serious offence.” Lord Woolman said that he accepted that he (Coulter) became involved in the drug smuggling because of threats against his family and that he had expressed genuine remorse. But he added: “You should have immediately reported the threats to your employers and police.” Coulter, of Old Hall Knowe Court, Bathgate, earlier admitted being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug at the prison between July 21 and 26 last year. The father-of-two was employed by Kalyx at the controversial prison since it opened in December in 2008. Management at the jail received intelligence that suggested drugs had been brought into the jail by Coulter on July 26 last year when he announced he was resigning. He was interviewed and appeared “nervous” but initially denied that he had brought drugs into the prison, advocate depute Laura Thomson said. But he then said his wife, mother and family had been threatened and admitted bringing them in for a prisoner. When he was asked if he had drugs in his possession he broke down and confessed he did and removed a bag from his trousers that contained heroin which had a potential prison value of £32,000. The first offender went on to explain that he had met two men at an industrial estate who handed him a package and threw money into his car saying “There’s your wages”. The money was still in his car and £750 was found in the glove compartment. Coulter later admitted he had delivered one package to an inmate at the jail and stored the remainder in his car after being subjected to weeks of pressure and threats. The prisoner had persistently demanded delivery of the remaining heroin and had made excuses why he could not bring it in.

February 25, 2011 BBC
A custody officer who was caught smuggling heroin into a private prison in Edinburgh has been jailed. Kevin Coulter, 29, who also worked as a part-time firefighter, admitted taking the drugs into HMP Addiewell in West Lothian in July last year. The father-of-two had claimed he was smuggling the drug because his family was being threatened. However, Judge Lord Woolman jailed him for three years and four months at the High Court in Edinburgh. The court heard that Coulter was caught with four wraps of heroin at 24% purity, weighing a total of 107g and valued at up to £32,000. During a police interview on 26 July 2010 he admitted he had delivered the drug to an inmate four days earlier.

February 4, 2011 The Scotsman
MORE than one in four inmates who self-harmed in a Scottish jail last year were in the privately-run Addiewell Prison, new figures have revealed. A total of 66 prisoners were recorded as having self-harmed, making the West Lothian jail the worst in the country for people deliberately injuring themselves. Sodexo Justice Services, which runs the Addiewell facility, said its staff "closely monitor every prisoner who displays indications of self-harm" in a bid to reduce incidents. The figures, revealed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, also showed that self-harm cases reached a six-year high at Saughton Prison in Edinburgh last year, with 13. But the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said that "robust reporting" could be responsible for the higher total in 2010. During the previous year, only one case was recorded. The number of cases at Addiewell rose from 24 to 66 during the same period. Gavin Brown, Lothians Tory MSP, said: "We have to get to the bottom of why this is happening. It may be mental health issues or drink and drug problems. We also need to know why the number of incidents is far greater here than at any other prison in Scotland." A spokeswoman for Sodexo Justice Services said: "We recognise that self-harming is a serious issue. At HMP Addiewell, we do everything possible to identify cases quickly and provide help and support to those who need it. "Unlike most other prisons, our reporting system involves recording all cases of self-harm, including instances where prisoners may verbally alert us of their intentions, who may not necessarily go on to physically harming themselves."

February 3, 2011 The Scotsman
A PRISON guard has admitted smuggling heroin at the private jail where he worked. Kevin Coulter brought drugs into HMP Addiewell in West Lothian amid claims that his family had been threatened, the High Court in Glasgow heard. Coulter was eventually snared by bosses and they seized heroin with a potential value of £32,000. The shamed 29-year-old, who also worked as a part-time firefighter, now faces being locked up himself. Coulter was employed by private firm Kalyx, which runs Addiewell, since the scandal-hit jail opened in December 2008.

January 18, 2011 The Daily Record
SHAMELESS killer Brian Venuti is posting a new string of sick taunts on Facebook - just weeks after jail bosses blocked him. Lifer Venuti, 33 - who deliberately mowed down Scotland fan Liam Henderson outside Hampden in his car - has had a new mobile phone smuggled into jail. It allows him to post on the social networking site, where he calls himself "the Devil wearz Lacoste" and jokes about his crime, using the driving caution slogan "Twenty's Plenty". The killer has set up two Facebook pages called "Badd Bhoy" and "Snitches Gets Stitches"- a warning to those who previously exposed his activities. In December, Venuti had his access to Facebook stopped and his mobile seized after the Record tipped off Addiewell prison in West Lothian. At that time, the dad-of-two boasted he was "living the dream" behind bars and called himself the "Devil's son" on his page, to which he posted sexually explicit and racist and bigoted rants.

January 8, 2011 The Sun
WARDERS at a cushy jail kept 60 inmates in their cells for three days over fears a riot was about to erupt. Bosses at Addiewell nick ordered a lockdown after hearing rumours that lags planned to use knives to free a pal and grab drugs. And it was believed staff would be attacked at the private prison in West Lothian. Last night an Addiewell source revealed the panic began when warders nabbed killer William Douglas, 29, of Greenock, who was suspected of trying to smuggle in drugs after a visit. But after he was taken to a medical centre, fellow inmates in Forth C Hall started to bang on their cell doors. Our source said: "The staff believed we were going to riot because they'd jumped Willie. "They received 'intelligence' we were going to cover CCTV cameras, threaten them with knives and force our way to the dispensary to get him and drugs. The riot squad was sent in to round up four 'ringleaders'. The rest of us were left to rot in our cells for three days."

January 6, 2011 West Lothian Courier
ALMOST a third of inmates being released from Addiewell Prison tested positive for illegal drugs. New figures showed that of 69 prisoners tested in the period covering 2009/10, 28 per cent gave a positive result. The statistics, released by Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland, also revealed that in the same period, of 62 prisoners tested entering the privately-run prison, 66 per cent gave a positive result for illegal drugs, with 39 per cent using heroin. Another study of methadone prescriptions revealed that of around 700 Addiewell inmates, 159 were being given the heroin substitute at the end of last year. This is the same number recorded for Saughton Prison in Edinburgh – which has around 770 inmates.

December 13, 2010 Daily Record
STAFF at Scotland's cushiest jail had to buy in teabags from another prison after the cons threatened to riot when they ran out during the big freeze. Officers at Addiewell were left to deal with raging inmates when delivery drivers couldn't reach the West Lothian jail. The 65 million-pound facility is run by private firm Kalyx. A prison source said: "It's set in stone in the prison rules that inmates must have access to tea, exercise and food each day - no matter what the conditions are like. "Each morning, little packs with teabags, coffee, milk and whitener are handed to every inmate. "On Thursday, staff found they had run out of teabags and it didn't go down well. "Cons made it known that if they didn't get their daily allowance, then they would take matters further the only way they know how - by starting a riot. "Someone was dispatched to state-run Polmont, the nearest prison, to buy supplies from them."

December 6, 2010 Daily Record
Crooks banged up at a private jail are looking forward to a £10 festive cash reward - for doing nothing. Cons at Addiewell jail will be handed two £5 bonuses, one at Christmas and one at New Year. Inmates will also get a selection box each and will be offered hand-made cards and a present-wrapping service. Bosses are laying on bingo games where prisoners can win cash, extra phone credit and toiletries. And on Christmas Day, lags including killers and rapists will tuck into a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Labour justice spokesman Richard Baker told SNP justice secretary Kenny MacAskill to "get a grip" on the prison treats. He said: "It's time for the Scottish Prison Service to start living in the real world. "Most law-abiding citizens won't be getting a Christmas bonus this year and taxpayers' money certainly shouldn't be funding bonuses for prisoners. "It's impossible to justify extra spending on parties for convicts when their victims are facing pay freezes and austerity." Sodexo Justice Services, who run the West Lothian jail for the prison service, said: "We support and encourage prisoners to take part in purposeful activities."

November 16, 2010 BBC
An inmate has died at Addiewell Prison in West Lothian. Richard McGhie, 41, from Bothwell, was less than a month into a three year sentence for assault to severe injury when he died. He was convicted at Hamilton Sheriff Court on 21 October 2010. His body was discovered on Monday at the privately run prison. Lothian and Borders Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and a fatal accident inquiry would be held.

July 30, 2010 STV
Eleven men have appeared in court accused of taking part in a riot at the privately-run Addiewell jail in West Lothian. One prison officer was seriously injured during the incident in the prison's Lomond Wing last October 11. Twelve prisoners were accused of taking part in the disturbance, but one was released from prison on Monday and failed to turn up for Friday’s hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh. A warrant was issued for his arrest. All 12 men face a charge alleging they formed part of “a mob of evilly disposed persons conducting itself in a violent, riotous and tumultuous manner to the terror and alarm of prison staff”. Two of them are also accused of attempting to hide what was happening by spraying or smearing the lenses of CCTV security cameras. The incident is said to have been sparked by attempts to take 22-year-old John Jenkins to the jail's segregation unit. He is accused of inciting other prisoners to help him. The charge alleges that the mob armed themselves with brushes and pelted prison officers with pool balls, bricks and bits of broken furniture. A total of 16 staff are said to have been assaulted, one to his severe injury and permanent impairment after kicks and stamps to his head.

June 30, 2010 The Scotsman
STAFF at the private Addiewell Prison suffered more assaults by inmates than any other jail in Scotland during the last year, new figures revealed today. The controversial jail in West Lothian recorded 45 attacks on staff between last April and this month. The same figures showed Edinburgh's Saughton logged just 16 attacks in the same period, while high-security HMP Shotts reported six. Kalyx, the company which runs Addiewell, said it was "misleading" to compare the jail's assault figures with other prisons because it is subject to a tighter reporting process. But the assaults on staff were today branded "completely unacceptable" and calls were made for violent inmates to be prosecuted to the "full extent of the law".

May 6, 2010 West Lothian Courier
A PRISONER from Livingston is keeping in touch with life on the outside through internet site Bebo from his Addiewell Prison cell. Graham Murray, from Dedridge, believed to have been jailed for assault to severe injury in November 2008, has been talking to his friends for the past month after somehow getting his hands on a smuggled mobile phone. It is illegal for prisoners to have mobile phones in prison. Murray, who describes himself as a “lost soul”, says he needs an “instruction manual to life” and has learned from the “bad times” so he can appreciate “da good times”. The 28-year-old, who says he loves the Kray twins, the film Scarface and Celtic, even updated his site yesterday (Wednesday) morning as he celebrated his team’s victory in the Old Firm match on Tuesday. And a worried parent contacted the Courier after coming across the site and seeing references to Alan Hunter who was killed in Whitburn a fortnight ago. Murray, who appears to have been a friend of the tragic 25-year-old, is kept up to date with the latest developments in the case. One comment, purported to have come from Alan’s father, read: “It’s Alan’s dad using Lisa’s Bebo. Never met you but heard all about you from Alan. Police now have three b*****ds at court on Monday. I hope they get put beside you. Do me a favour mate, cheers.” The concerned woman, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said she found chilling several of the messages left and was worried how the con had such ready access to the internet. They said: “I don’t know how he is on my page. He must be a friend of a friend and added me that way. “I didn’t really look at his page but I saw a comment about him being inside and that worried me. He was bragging to mates about when he was getting out. “It’s concerning that he is able to access the internet and a phone from his cell to have chats with his friends. “I contacted the police and they didn’t seem too bothered about it. They told me it was a matter for the prison service. “If he hadn’t been inside I don’t think I would have been bothered by it but some of the stuff is a bit chilling and close to the knuckle.” A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “Possession of a mobile phone is against prison rules and information of this kind will be followed up and an investigation will be started immediately.” Addiewell is run by private firm Kalyx. A spokesman for the firm said: “We take such matters seriously and as a result of the information we have received we will be launching an investigation immediately.”

May 3, 2010 Daily Record
PRISONERS in a cushy private jail threatened to riot - over melted ice cream. Cons in HMP Addiewell, West Lothian, went ballistic after their desserts, dished out as a weekly treat, were allowed to melt and were then refrozen. A jail insider said: "Every Thursday we get an ice cream cone with our dinner. It's just like a Cornetto but it is a Smarties one. "When we got the cones last week they had been allowed to melt and then been frozen again. The wafer around the ice cream was all soggy and rubbery." Our source said three inmates triggered angry scenes during which a warden was hit on the neck with a melted cone. The unrest spread and eight prisoners threw their cones at the walls in protest. He added: "There were guys shouting 'This wing is going up in the air if we don't get other cones'. "The screws were visibly frightened and there was almost a riot. It was scary to see that something as trivial as soggy cones could cause such aggression. "The threats and arguments lasted just over an hour. Things calmed down but a couple of prisoners said if the cones are the same again they'll rub them in the screws' faces." Our source said three prisoners were reprimanded for "threatening behaviour" as a result of the incident, which wardens kept under wraps from management. An Addiewell spokeswoman said: "There have been no reported incidents of this kind." Last month, we revealed prison bosses confiscated Xbox 360s and banned inmates from playing video games. Cons at Addiewell - who enjoy flat-screen TVs, Sky Sports and en-suite bathrooms - were the only ones in the country allowed to own the Microsoft consoles, which can access the internet. But the Scottish Prison Service stepped in over concerns prisoners could use them to communicate with the outside world. Last month we also told how a killer and a sex predator were teaching fellow cons English and literacy at Addiewell. Bosses said it was part of a project designed to help reduce reoffending but inmates claim the move is down to teacher shortages. Addiewell, run by private firm Kalyx, opened in December 2008. Just weeks later, cons went on the rampage when they didn't get sweets they ordered. Last summer a warder was put in hospital by a lifer. Another officer was injured in October after 20 inmates ran amok. Sources said staff shortages had turned the jail into a "powderkeg". Former chief prisons inspector Clive Fairweather claimed bosses were cutting back on guards to save money.

April 14, 2010 Daily Record
PRISONERS at one of Scotland's most violent jails are being screened with metal detectors to stop a spate of slashings and stabbings. The cons at privately run Addiewell are now subject to random searches designed to uncover any weapons, including home-made ones they create in their cells. The jail has been hit by two full-scale riots in just over a year of operation and its level of assaults is among the highest in Scotland. But now bosses hope they can cut the violence with the £25,000 metal detectors. Visitors to the West Lothian prison have to walk through detectors before they enter the high-security facility. But until the introduction of the new detector portals, inmates were not subject to similar levels of security. This allowed them to smuggle weapons to attack fellow cons or guards. A source said: "People in prison will always be able to make weapons of some sort. It's quite ingenious some of the ways guys can fashion makeshift weapons. "This place was purpose-built. You would have thought clamping down on contraband and weapons would have been one of the first things the designers thought about." A memo on the prison notice board informed inmates of the change. It stated: "This will lead to a safer custodial environment. Prisoners will be selected for a search on a purely random basis." Just five months after opening, it emerged Addiewell had already seen 32 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and 19 assaults on staff. In March, it was revealed cons there were caught with the most illegal weapons in any Scottish prison, with many being home-made.

February 17, 2010 The Sun
BOSSES at a scandal-hit jail paid cons NOT to riot when tempers flared following a bungle over their phone accounts. Inmates at private Addiewell prison were each given £5 credit to make calls after they threatened to run amok for the second time in a month. Fury erupted when they discovered cash they'd handed over had not been added to accounts they use to phone home. Bosses forked out a total of £3,750 to keep them happy - and recovered the cash when the problem was fixed. An insider said: "We were told the woman who takes cash from prisoners during the day had forgotten to credit it into the system at night. "The cons were going bonkers because they couldn't phone their wives and girlfriends. "They were threatening to riot again - so the bosses called in an IT man. He credited all the accounts with a fiver, so everyone could phone home." Around 100 cons rioted at the nick last month after some were denied heroin substitute methadone. Inmates armed themselves with iron bars and ripped water mains from the walls, flooding a wing and causing thousands of pounds-worth of damage. A warder at the West Lothian nick, which houses around 750 lags, was injured after being battered with a pool cue. One officer described the scenes as "carnage" after inmates trashed furniture and daubed the walls with graffiti. Last night a spokesman for operator Kalyx confirmed lags were given the "temporary" phone credit. They said: "It was taken back once the glitch had been resolved."

February 16, 2010 The Scotsman
A SHERIFF has raised concerns about the "inexperience" of staff at the privately-run Addiewell Prison over an inmate's suicide just weeks after the jail opened. Richard Crompton was serving a five-year sentence for drug offences at the controversial West Lothian prison when he was discovered hanging in his cell. The 41-year-old Livingston man had been assessed on his arrival at jail by a staff member with just one hour's mental health training. His death sparked a fatal accident inquiry to determine whether the prison, run by private company Kalyx, was at fault. Sheriff Mhari Mactaggart concluded there was "nothing to suggest" that the level of training given to Kalyx staff contributed to the death, and ruled that "no reasonable precautions" could have prevented him from taking his life. But she highlighted concerns that the recruitment of "inexperienced staff may have been part of the ethos of Kalyx". And she said many lacked any previous experience of working with inmates. It comes after the West Lothian jail – dubbed "Hotel Addiewell" because prisoners enjoy en-suite facilities and flat-screen TVs – hit the headlines last month after reports of rioting by up to 100 inmates left two guards injured. Since opening in 2008, the jail has been at the centre of repeated reports of violence and high levels of drug abuse among prisoners, leading to concerns over staffing levels. Sheriff Mactaggart said Kalyx had accepted the need to roll out extra training for staff in dealing with prisoners' mental health issues following the suicide. Drugs courier Crompton, who was jailed in October 2008 after police caught him with £320,000 of cocaine, was found dead in his cell on 19 January last year. He had been transferred to the jail ten days before, having previously been an inmate in Barlinnie where he had also been assessed as "no apparent risk". In a report following the fatal accident inquiry, Sheriff Mactaggart said: "There was clear evidence at the inquiry that the majority of staff recruited by Kaylx were inexperienced within the prison service." She added that prison custody officer Emma Dyet, who carried out the risk assessment on Crompton upon his arrival, "expressed concern that she had only received one hour of mental health training" as part of the jail's nine-week training programme. The sheriff wrote that recruiting inexperienced staff "may have been part of the ethos of Kalyx, in an attempt to move away from the old style of prisoner management". But she added that there were "no defects in any system of working" which contributed to the death after reviewing its risk assessment procedures. A Kalyx spokeswoman said: "The report found that there was nothing to suggest that the level of training given to Kalyx staff in any way contributed to the death of Mr Crompton."

February 16, 2010 The Scotsman
TODAY is not the first time that the spotlight has been shone on the quality of staffing at Addiewell Prison. Following recent disturbances at Scotland's second private jail, questions were raised over manning levels and the training standards required of officers who worked there. Today, following the tragic suicide of a young prisoner a sheriff has concluded that staff could have nothing to prevent his death. But she too has expressed concerns that the company that runs the jail appear to have hired inexperienced staff , some of whom have little knowledge of mental health issues. It is to be hoped that Kaylix take heed of this further warning and take steps to remedy the situation.

February 8, 2010 Edinburgh Evening News
TWO inmates at Addiewell prison were taken to hospital yesterday after an outbreak of violence. There were reports that one had been stabbed, and a prison officer had been punched, suffering bruising and a black eye. A police spokesman said: "We were notified yesterday at about 2:15pm to say that two prisoners had been injured and required hospital treatment. The incident had happened at about 11am." Private firm Kalyx, which runs the West Lothian jail, said that it was only aware of one injured prisoner. A spokesman said: "We can confirm an altercation took place at HMP Addiewell. One prisoner has been treated for injuries. The situation was brought under control quickly." The violence comes just two weeks after more than 100 inmates went on the rampage at Addiewell, barricading themselves into wings B and C and attacking a warder with a pool cue, leaving him in need of hospital treatment.

January 28, 2010 Edinburgh Evening News
IT WAS hailed as a jail of the future. But just a year after opening and rocked by a series of controversies, HMP Addiewell has only served to reignite the debate about whether prisons should be privately run at all. The West Lothian jail – dubbed "Hotel Addiewell" because prisoners enjoy en-suite facilities and flat-screen TVs – hit the headlines again this week after reports of rioting by up to 100 inmates left two guards injured. Since opening in 2008, the jail, run by private firm Kalyx, has been at the centre of repeated reports of violence and high levels of drug abuse among prisoners. Today, in the wake of the latest incident, concerns have been raised over whether the problems are a result of low staffing levels. David Melrose, the chairman of the Scottish National Committee of the Prison Officers Association, said the POA were always "saddened and disappointed" to hear that a member of staff has been injured. He added: "It is our opinion that these incidents and assaults are solely attributed to the low levels of staff operating in the private prisons. "We are afraid that these types of incident will continue unless there is a substantial increase to the staff complements in recognition of the dangers associated with the category of prisoners held in custody." The £130 million prison was opened in December 2008 and was hailed as the country's first "learning prison", with 120 computers allowing inmates to take a huge variety of training courses. The en-suite cells ensured there would be no slopping out and gave prisoners privacy to shower, although the inclusion of flat-screen TVs – some with access to satellite sports channels – did raise more than a few eyebrows. Early teething problems included the sacking of 12 staff last January after it emerged they had criminal records and, just a month later, up to 40 prisoners were involved in a three-hour riot. Just five months after opening, the prison emerged as one of the worst in Scotland for violent attacks, with 32 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and 19 assaults by inmates on staff recorded. In October, rioting broke out again, with the violence this time leading to four members of staff being injured in a five-hour stand-off that saw prisoners attack guards with mop handles. The problems are similar to those encountered in the first few years of operation at Scotland's first private prison, HMP Kilmarnock. Opened in 1999, it suffered numerous riots and concerns about the number of violent attacks among prisoners, the level of drug use and the time inmates spent in their cells. The Chief Inspector of Prisons at the time was Sir Clive Fairweather, who attributed many problems to low levels of inexperienced staff, with 91 per cent of staff initially employed having never worked in a prison before. While he has never visited the West Lothian prison, he agreed that the problems faced at Addiewell were similar to those he saw at HMP Kilmarnock. Sir Clive, pictured left, said: "What you get with private prisons are very good facilities and these are generally far above what you would get in an older prison – things like medical facilities and cells, as well as the security of the prison themselves. So there are benefits. "Unfortunately, private prisons are run to make a profit. Ultimately, the company in charge of them has to deliver for their shareholders and so they have to find ways to make money. "The way to do this is by having fewer staff, paying low wages, investing less money in training and pensions, and this impacts on the running of the prison. "For a prison to run properly, you need the guards and the prisoners to understand each other and work with each other, and that requires experienced guards. "That takes an investment in training and keeping staff, which can be at odds with the need to deliver a profit." HMP Addiewell currently houses 701 low, medium and high-security convicts – it has the capacity to house 796 – and while Kalyx yesterday refused to give details on how many guards are employed, it stated before the prison opened that it would employ 350 staff, including 160 prison officers. The Scottish Government is known to be opposed to private prisons, with justice secretary Kenny MacAskill abandoning plans for a private firm to build and run a £100m jail at Low Moss, near Glasgow, in 2007, saying prisons "are for public safety, not private profit". The Scottish Prisons Service said the contract agreed with Kalyx over the running of HMP Addiewell required it to "run the prison effectively" but that Kalyx ultimately could decide what the level of staffing needed to be. It also said there were financial penalties in place for the company if it failed to comply with the terms of the contract. "In terms of training, all guards are required to be trained to deal effectively with situations such as the one at HMP Addiewell, and we would expect privately-run prisons to give their staff the same level of training," a spokesman said. "The incident at HMP Addiewell was contained by staff, to minimise damage, and was brought under control within five hours, which a lot of professionals within the service would agree suggests it was handled in an extremely professional manner." A Kalyx spokesman said: "The staffing levels at HMP Addiewell are appropriate for the prisoner mix and environment according to a risk assessment of each block. "All prison officers at HMP Addiewell are trained in control and restraint as part of a nine-week programme which they have to complete before starting work. "The Scottish Prison Service monitors and certifies all staff and training for HMP Addiewell and, like all other prisons in Scotland, Kalyx invests heavily in training staff to deal with circumstances such as Monday's incident." A turbulent 13 months 15 December, 2008: HMP Addiewell opens to inmates. The £130 million prison boasts en-suite cells with flat-screen TVs, prompting some criticism about the level of comfort. -- 3 January, 2009: Twelve members of staff are sacked after disclosure checks reveal they have criminal records. -- 10 February, 2009: Up to 40 prisoners are involved in a three-hour riot in the Douglas Hall section on the ground floor. Claims that the riot was sparked by prisoners being denied food are flatly denied. -- 5 May, 2009: Figures show the jail has one of the worst records for violent attacks in Scotland, with 32 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and 19 assaults by inmates on staff recorded in just five months. -- 12 October, 2009: Four staff are injured after rioting again breaks out at the prison, with inmates claiming the violence was a response to brutality towards inmates. -- 1 December, 2009: The prison is criticised after figures show it has one of the worst records for drug seizures in the country. Over the first 12 months of its operation there were 206 suspected drug finds. -- 25 January, 2010: Violence erupts once more at the prison, with reports that more than 100 inmates barricaded themselves into Douglas B and C wings.

January 26, 2010 Deadline
OFFICIALS have denied reports of a full-scale riot at what has been branded Scotland’s plushest prison. Two prison guards were taken to hospital after inmates went on the rampage at HMP Addiewell in West Lothian at around 7pm on Monday night. But last night it emerged that prison staff lost control even after their riot team charged into the building. Ambulance crews reported that staff lost control of the situation for a second time after their riot team had gone in. They also confirmed that they took a 29-year-old warden to hospital with a cut to the back of his head and a “burst mouth”. A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We had our first response car at the prison by around 8pm. Riot -- “Our crews reported a 29-year-old male with a cut to the back of the head and a burst mouth, who we transported to St John’s Hospital in Livingston. “The crew advised that there was an ongoing riot and we mobilised our special operations team, which provides care in difficult situations. “By 9.30pm the crew reported that the prison was going into lockdown. “The prison’s own riot team went in at 9.45pm, but it seems that the trouble flared up against at around 11pm. “Our crews stayed on the scene until 1.10am.” It is understood that a second warden was taken to hospital by prison staff later on. However, Kalyx, the firm who run the private jail and Lothian and Borders Police insisted that only a small number of prisoners were involved and said that staff were in control at all times. Damage -- A spokesman for Kalyx, said: “We can confirm that a contained incident, involving a small number of prisoners, took place in one of the wings at HMP Addiewell on the evening of Monday 25th January and was brought under control. “There has been minor damage caused, mainly as a result of burst pipes. “Two prison officers were injured during the incident and were treated at hospital but have now been discharged.” A police spokesman said that around 10 cons had been involved in the disturbance, which saw police on standby outside the prison for around five hours. He said: “Lothian and Borders Police attended at Addiewell Prison last night to assist staff following a disturbance within. The prison staff remained in control of the prison throughout. Violence -- “A prison officer was taken to St John’s hospital for treatment to minor injuries and later discharged. “Enquiries are now ongoing to identify those responsible for this incident.” Kalyx will now have to carry out an investigation into the disturbance at the prison, which has been rocked by violence and riots in the past year. The report will then be reviewed by the Scottish Prison Service, who oversee all of Scotland’s jails. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service added: “I can confirm that there was an incident which started at 6.45pm on Monday and was concluded before midnight. Mops -- “There is an ongoing police investigation and we cannot comment any further.” HMP Addiewell is a 750-prisoner facility with ensuite cells and flat screen TVs. It opened in December 2008 and has been plagued by problems ever since.

January 26, 2010 BBC
A prison officer was taken to hospital with head and facial injuries after a disturbance broke out at Scotland's newest prison. Emergency services were called to Addiewell Prison in West Lothian after up to 10 prisoners rioted on Monday. The 29-year-old officer was taken to St John's Hospital in Livingston at about 1950 GMT. His injuries are not thought to have been serious. The incident was brought under control a short time later. It is understood the disturbance was sparked by an inmate being told his methadone was to be reduced. A spokesman for private company Kalyx, which manages HMP Addiewell for the Scottish Prison Service, said: "We can confirm there was an incident in one of the wings. "It was brought under control last night. One prison officer was injured." Two ambulance special operations response teams stood by outside the jail from 2030 GMT until 0100 GMT following reports of an ongoing riot in the prison. Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service also waited outside until shortly after midnight after a fire alarm inside the jail was set off at about 1930 GMT. A former chief inspector of prisons in Scotland told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that he believed some prisoners were taking advantage of lower staffing levels in privately-run jails. Clive Fairweather, who has previously inspected the private prison at Kilmarnock, said they had to make a profit, which can put pressure on staff numbers and training. He added: "The difference between a privately-run prison and the rest of the prison estate is that first and foremost it's innovative and really has cutting-edge systems, but it comes with a bit of a problem which the governor always has to overcome, which is it's got to make a profit. "To make a profit the only place you can cut corners is on staffing. "Therefore you have the minimum number of staff, you have the minimum amount of training and it's certainly my experience with Kilmarnock that violence and the like was a problem until eventually staffing levels got to a slightly better stage." Segregation unit -- Mr Fairweather said prisoners in jails such as Addiewell and Kilmarnock have "never had it so good". But he added: "They didn't want to go anywhere else, but they are taking advantage of the fact there aren't the same staffing levels as there are in other major prisons. "Indeed, were there to be major riots in somewhere like Addiewell or Kilmarnock, I'm pretty certain the riot shields and those to deal with it would actually have to come from the rest of the SPS."

January 22, 2010 The Daily Record
A PRISON officer has been sacked for smuggling in a mobile phone for a killer. Cara Wright was caught after prison bosses were tipped off she was supplying banned items to pal David Allan. The 25-year-old thug - jailed for life for the murder of Scott McNeil - had boasted to other cons what Wright had done. Furious bosses at privately run Addiewell prison near West Calder, West Lothian, searched Allan's cell and found the phone hidden in a drawer. Wright was fired on the spot after she confessed to smuggling it in. Her bosses reported the incident to the police and she could face criminal charges. A source said last night: "The word is Allan was close to her. She was always talking to him and sneaking into his cell. "Smuggling prohibited items into a prison is serious enough in itself but she got caught smuggling a prohibited article for a con, so she was in deep trouble. "The powers made her tell them the name of the con she was smuggling the phone in for. "Cara got her marching orders and David Allan was taken back to the solitary confinement block. "Everyone had been suspicious for a while something shifty was going on between the two of them. "Allan's not too bright and the two of them were talking on Bebo and Allan was posting photos of his shower and flat-screen telly. "Cara did seem a bit naive and, to be honest, it was only a matter of time before some greasy snake got their hooks into her because she was too nice to work in this place. "Allan's turned on the charm and got her running little errands for him. "Now it's lost her her job and could end up with a criminal record." Allan was jailed for life with pal Shaun McGrath, 22, for kicking dad-of-one Scott to death as he walked home from a birthday party in Cambuslang, near Glasgow. The pair were jailed in May 2006 and ordered to serve at least 12 years. Addiewell is run by private firm Kalyx.

January 10, 2010 Sunday Mail
PRISON chiefs have ordered a major probe after a killer was caught drunk with bottles of vodka. John McAvoy, 49, was found paralytic by officers at £65million private jail Addiewell in West Lothinan. Wardens were stunned to discover several empty and full litre bottles of Smirnoff in the canteen where he works. Furious bosses believe they must have been smuggled inside by a staff member. A prison source said: "Litre bottles of spirits aren't the sort of thing you can send in with a letter or hand over at a visit. "He must be having them brought in by someone working at the prison. "McAvoy worked in the canteen preparing food and serving fellow inmates. "His free run of the kitchen allowed him to plank bottles when they were given to him. "When he was caught, staff also found empties which he hadn't been able to get rid of." McAvoy admitted the bottles were his and was sent to the segregation block. He is serving 15 years for murdering trainee maritime engineer Tony Blair, 23, and attempting to murder Veronica Miller, 28. He was found guilty of starting a fire at ex-partner Veronica's home in Airdrie. The pregnant woman had to leap for her life from a first floor window. The 2006 blaze killed her new partner Tony. Since opening 13 months ago, Addiewell has been criticised for pampering inmates. who have en-suite loos and flat-screen TVs. Operators Kalyx said: "Due to the ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment."

January 6, 2010 The Sun
JAIL bosses have been forced to raise an 18ft fence by another 10ft - to stop drugs being hurled into the prison. Troubled Addiewell nick has redesigned its perimeter near the exercise yard, where lags could pick up packages from the outside. Bosses at the West Lothian facility acted after criminals were cashing in by nabbing drugs lobbed over the fence. A source said last night: "It was a major design flaw. "It seemed every time cons went out for exercise a package was hurled over. Addiewell is rife with drugs and this was only making the problem worse for everyone. "Now an extra 10ft has been added to the top of the fence - and you would need to be a champion shot-putter to get anything in." Last year the privately-run jail had one of Scotland's worst records for illegal substance seizures, with 206 suspected finds. The 750-prisoner facility - which has en-suite cells with individual flat screen TVs showing Sky Sports - was also dubbed the country's most violent adult jail. And last February rioting lags went on the rampage because they hadn't been fed for TWO DAYS. A spokesman for Kalyx, which runs the private prison, said: "This is a further enhancement to what is an already secure perimeter."

January 2, 2010 Daily Record
INMATES at Scotland's cushiest jail have turned their cells into DIY saunas. Prisoners at Addiewell are using plastic bags to seal in the steam created by running the showers in their cells' en-suite bathrooms at full blast. The privately run jail has been nicknamed the Addisson - after the swish Radisson hotels. A prison source said: "There are no extractor fans or vents in the toilet area to let the steam escape. "Once the hot water is blasting out the shower all you have to do is sit on the toilet and enjoy the steam opening up your pores. "Some smart guy came up with the idea one night and by the time he had bragged about it the next day to a couple of people, everyone ended up knowing about it and trying it out. "Soon everyone in here will have lovely soft skin and great complexions." Each cell at the jail has its own shower unit and toilet pan - where prisoners sit to enjoy the steam. The loo can be sealed off from the rest of the cell by a frosted perspex door. The plastic bags are used to block up the gap under the toilet door - keeping the steam in. The insider said: "Almost everyone is stripping off and getting into it." Cons then open their cell window to let the steam out. Inmates at the £65million complex also enjoy flatscreen TVs, computers and extra visits from relatives and friends. They were even offered a gift-wrapping service before Christmas. The 750-prisoner prison in West Lothian was recently hailed a success just a year after opening, despite a catalogue of riots, brutal assaults and drug finds. Owners Kalyx were contacted for comment yesterday but did not give a response.

December 15, 2009 Daily Record
INMATES at Scotland's cushiest jail are being offered handmade cards, a gift-wrapping service and cash bonuses this Christmas. Cons at Addiewell Prison will also be treated to selection boxes and a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. And to add to the festive fun, there will be "cash and surprise packs" handed out to winners of games including pool, bingo, quizzes, Monopoly and Scrabble. Over the Christmas period, inmates at the private jail will be allowed to spend £30 a week - double their usual allowance - on tobacco, sweets and other treats in the prison canteen. Every inmate at the 769-place jail, near Livingston, West Lothian, will also get a £5 bonus at Christmas and again at New Year. And there's free tea, coffee, mince pies and treats for visitors. A prison insider said: "Nothing like this has ever been seen before. No one could believe how generous the top brass are being. "In other prisons, you are lucky if you get a bit of turkey roll and a shot on the pool table. "This is to try and keep everyone happy. None of the guards want to see a riot over the coming weeks." A spokeswoman for Kalyx, who run the prison, said: "What we do at Christmas is very similar to other prisons in Scotland. "It can be a difficult time for prisoners' families and we try and make it more pleasant for everyone." Addiewell's cushy facilities have made headlines before. Inmates have en-suite cells, with individual flatscreen TVs, showing Sky Sports. But the luxuries haven't stopped trouble at the jail. In October, a warder needed hospital treatment after he was assaulted by rioting inmates. And in August the Record revealed how drugs were being smuggled into the prison inside dead seagulls which were being lobbed over the wall.

December 1, 2009 The Scotsman
SCOTLAND'S newest jail already has one of the worst records for drugs seizures, new figures have revealed. Addiewell prison in West Lothian, which opened just 12 months ago, has recorded 206 suspected drugs finds since the start of this year. Only Glasgow's Barlinnie jail and Edinburgh's Saughton prison had a higher total. Today, one opposition politician said the failure to stop drugs getting into Addiewell was a missed opportunity to tackle the problem. The figures, revealed in an answer to a parliamentary question from Tory MSP John Lamont, showed suspected drugs finds at Scottish jails total 1,705 so far this year, including 225 at Saughton and 256 at Barlinnie. Mr Lamont said that meant there was now an average of more than one find every five hours. He said: "The figures show the problem of drugs in prison is even blighting our newest prison. "One would have hoped a new prison would have systems in place better able to stop drugs coming in. "It is disappointing the government has not taken the opportunity to implement one of our key policies, drug-free prisons or wings." He said the policy would allow prisoners who want to come off drugs to be removed from the availability and the temptation. "If they stay clean, they should be given privileges. If they test positive, then they are removed from the drugs-free wing and the privileges are withdrawn." Addiewell, which can house up to 700 prisoners and is run by private firm Kalyx, opened last December amid criticism over the "luxury" facilities for inmates. Earlier this year, figures showed Addiewell had one of the worst levels of violence among Scotland's prisons. In February, up to 40 inmates took part in a riot.

November 16, 2009 The Sun
FRIGHTENED warders are begging a crisis-hit jail's toughest CONS for protection - because they are bullied. Staff at privately-run Addiewell jail are grovelling to feared lags and handing out favours in return for their safety. Now bosses at the £65million prison, in West Lothian, admit they're struggling to keep guards - with up to 10 quitting last month. Last night a source said: "Addiewell has become such a soft touch for cons that the hardest are being asked for protection by guards. "The warders are sick of inmates screaming abuse at them and they're too inexperienced to deal with it." Hardened cons including Joe Henderson - who strangled his teenage fiancée - and Paul Steadward - who stabbed a bakery workmate through the heart in a row over tea breaks - are said to run the prison. They make sure other lags stay in line at the facility, which holds 700 cons, and in return their lives inside become much easier. The source added: "One day Henderson decided he wanted a Kit Kat Caramel, which had just gone on sale in the shops. "We couldn't pick it up in the jail yet. He told one of the guards that he was after it and, sure enough, the next day he had one. "That's the kind of relationship that's built up in Addiewell now. "It's unhealthy for anyone and the managers just don't know what to do." In its first six months since it opened in December last year, 19 assaults on staff were recorded at Addiewell.

October 12, 2009 Deadline Press & Picture Agency
PRISON bosses are facing a double probe into a riot that left a jail guard in hospital. Chiefs at HMP Addiewell in West Lothian are piecing together just what sparked trouble there on Sunday. But they now face a police probe into assault claims at the high security prison. And a second internal inquiry which must be presented to Scottish Prison Service bosses. More than 20 lags rioted at the high security prison for six hours before on-site officers took control of the situation.Lothian & Borders Police were called out to the West Lothian high-security facility to support prison staff, but prison officers on-site dealt with the riot. Damage -- A spokesman for Kalyx said: “We can confirm that an incident took place in one area of one hall at HMP Addiewell, yesterday 11th October 2009. “The incident, which began about 11am, was concluded at approximately 5.30 pm. “It was dealt with by staff locally and was subject to minimal superficial damage of property. “Incidents of this type regrettably occur in all prisons, but there are robust procedures in place to deal with them should they arise. “This incident is now subject to a Police investigation and so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time. “A member of staff was taken to hospital and kept overnight as a precautionary measure and was released this morning.” Luxury -- The incident is the second time this year that prisoners at the facility have rioted. In February inmates trashed more than 60 LCD televisions and other luxury goods that the jail is fitted with after claiming they had not received any food for two days. The maximum-security prison is home to many of Scotland’s worst murderers and rapists. The leader of the rioting prisoners has claimed that they attacked staff because of bad treatment at the hands of guards -- A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “We’ve had an incident report from Kalyx but any investigation would have to wait until the police have carried out their investigation. “We have procedures with our contractors and we have a team that monitor the contract. Contained -- “But the most important report is the police report which is to come. “It was a concerted peace of indiscipline and while it’s not a mild incident we shouldn’t get carried away, it started at 11 and was resolved by 5.30 and it was all contained within the prison. “The important thing is that staff are trained properly to deal with this situation.” In May Addiewell was exposed as having the second worst record for inmates attacking each other and inmate attacks on staff. In the jail’s first six months 32 inmate on inmate attacks occurred, with only Polmont young offenders’ institute ranking higher, with 56 in the same time period. 19 attacks on staff were recorded, second to Cornton Vale women’s prison, which experienced 20 attacks on staff in six months.

October 12, 2009 Edinburgh Evening News
FOUR staff were injured and a woman guard rushed to hospital when rioting broke out at West Lothian's Addiewell prison. Sources claimed the incident at Scotland's newest jail had been sparked by claims of brutality towards inmates. The female guard was taken to St John's Hospital in Livingston with a head injury after the melee involving 20 prisoners. By the time police attended to assist at the £65 million privately-run jail, the situation had been brought under control. Special negotiators were also brought in to bring an end to the five-hour stand-off. It is the second major riot there this year, following on from a similar event in February involving 40 inmates amid claims they had not been fed for two days. On this occasion sources said the riot was a direct result of inmates standing against "beatings" from prison guards. Those allegations are in contrast to the widely held view that the jail is relatively luxurious, with en suite cells, flat-screen televisions and satellite channels, which bosses said would help the rehabilitation of offenders. It is understood the riot broke out in the Lomond B Hall when prisoners barricaded themselves in and fought with staff. One prisoner, who contacted the Press straight after the incident, said the guards were struck with mops as part of the attack. He said: "We just decided to fight back this time. "A short-term inmate was hit by a member of staff and we all got involved. We attacked five of the staff with mop poles and drove them out of the hall. "Staff are lifting their hands to the boys who are then moved to another prison and nothing is ever done about it. Enough is enough. "Everyone reckons the Addiewell is cushy, but lads are getting doings in here. It's got to stop." Recent figures have exposed Addiewell as the second worst in Scotland for inmate-on-inmate attacks, with only the Polmont young offenders facility having more recorded flashpoints. In its first six months of operation, it also notched 19 assaults on staff. A spokesman for prison operators Kalyx said: "We can confirm there has been an incident involving around 20 people which has been brought under control and is now being managed. "This has taken place in one area of the hall. The rest of the prison is operating normally. At this stage however, we cannot really go into any more detail."

October 12, 2009 STV
At least 20 inmates went on a rampage at HMP Addiewell on Sunday. Inmates at Scotland's newest prison rioted for six hours on Sunday. At least 20 prisoners were involved in the incident, which is reported to have left four staff members injured. The disturbance at Addiewell Prison in West Lothian began at around 11am on Sunday. It was handled internally by staff and concluded at around 5.30pm. Lothian and Borders Police said they had been made aware of the incident but had not been called on to respond. A spokesman for the prison's operators, Kalyx, said: "We can confirm that an incident took place at HMP Addiewell yesterday which was managed by staff at the prison. We are unable to give any more details at present." A spokesperson for the Scottish Prison Service said: “The incident at HMP Addiewell was concluded around 1730 hours last night. It included a number of prisoners and was managed in house by staff. "Damage has been superficial and the incident will be subject to a police investigation. The SPS take a very dim view of people behaving in this manner” It is the latest in a series of incidents at the privately-run facility. In February, up to 40 inmates were involved in a riot which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage. Opposition politicians have also hit out at the level of comfort provided by the purpose-built facility, saying it doesn't act as a strong enough deterrent to reoffending.

August 20, 2009 Edinburgh Evening News
A DRUG trafficker who was freed early from jail was caught throwing cannabis over a wall into Scotland's newest private prison. Stephen Dickson was originally jailed for 42 months in August 2006 after he was caught with heroin worth about £52,000 on the streets. Dickson, 27, of Magdalene Gardens, Edinburgh, was allowed early release from the sentence on licence. But, on 29 July this year, he threw a package containing cannabis over a wall into Addiewell Prison, West Lothian. Dickson later admitted a contravention of Scottish prison legislation by introducing or attempting to introduce a drug into the jail, when he appeared at Linlithgow Sheriff Court.

August 19, 2009 Daily Record
SCOTLAND'S cushiest jail is getting Sky Sports - so pampered prisoners can keep up with Scottish Premier League action. Inmates at Addiewell jail, West Lothian, had threatened a revolt because they feared they wouldn't see any SPL games. But on Saturday, hundreds of inmates enjoyed the first televised match of the new SPL season - which saw Celtic beat Aberdeen 3-1 at Pittodrie - after bosses arranged a Sky Sports satellite package. A prison insider said: "With the coverage moving to Sky, everyone was facing the prospect of not seeing a single goal. "Some of the lags were infuriated and had made noises about starting trouble, so the decision was taken to get Sky Sports 3 in." Live matches last season were screened in the prison through satellite firm Setanta. But the Irish broadcasters lost the rights earlier this year, leaving the prison without football coverage.

August 18, 2009 Daily Record
A WARDEN has been brutally beaten at a "powderkeg" private jail. Steven Johnstone needed hospital treatment after being set upon by a lifer at HMP Addiewell. The Record told yesterday how whistleblowers had branded the prison "unsafe" and "drug-ridden". We have been inundated with calls from friends and relatives of prisoners backing our story - and voicing their concern over the lax regime at the jail. The latest incident saw warden Steven Johnstone attacked by a convicted murderer serving a life sentence. The assault happened around 6pm on Saturday in the jail's Forth C Hall. A source said: "It all kicked off just after 6pm and the poor man was given a ferocious beating. "He was punched repeatedly about the head and ended up with injuries to his face and jaw. "He's a relatively inexperienced member of staff and it is horrible. Bosses are trying to work out what happened. Although the guy is a convicted prisoner, he's actually a relatively trusted inmate in terms of the Addiewell system - which speaks volumes for the system. "There was only one other warden there. She's only been in the door a week and didn't see a thing." A spokesman for Addiewell operators Kalyx said yesterday: "Whilst we cannot comment on individual members of staff or prisoners, we can confirm there was an altercation on Saturday evening which resulted in a member of staff going to hospital as a precautionary measure. "The matter is now being investigated by the police." The Record told yesterday how whistleblowers at the jail say "scandalous" staff shortages and a shoddy anti-drugs regime have turned the brand new jail into a "powder keg" where cons and guards alike were at risk. Our insiders told how drugs are being smuggled in after they're chucked over the walls inside dead gulls and old socks. It's claimed more drugs flood in at visiting times, with just one or two wardens sometimes left to watch scores of inmates and their friends and families. One source said: "The bottom line is the place is totally unsafe - for staff and prisoners. "Addiewell has 12 wings with about 60 prisoners each and there should be several staff per wing. "The other day, there were one or two per wing, which is scandalously low." Addiewell is a private prison and Kalyx signed a contract with the Scottish Executive in 2006 to design, build and manage the jail. Kalyx insisted that there were intensive anti-drugs efforts and rejected claims of inadequate staffing and training.

August 17, 2009 Daily Record
DEAD seagulls stuffed with drugs are being thrown over the wall to cons at Scotland's showpiece private jail. Drugs are also being chucked over the walls inside tennis balls and old socks. And bigoted lags at £65million Addiewell prison in West Lothian are being sent flutes through the post so they can play The Sash in their cells. Whistleblowers at the jail say "scandalous" staff shortages and a shoddy anti-drugs regime have turned the brand new jail into a "powder keg" where cons and guards alike are at risk. One source said: "There are so many problems with drugs and staffing and so on that it would take all day to go through them. It's shambolic. "The bottom line is the place is totally unsafe - for staff and prisoners." Last night, the private company who run the phone, Kalyx, insisted that there were intensive anti-drugs efforts and rejected claims of inadequate staffing and training. Sources at Addiewell told Record investigators that prisoners at the jail, which opened last December, use a bizarre range of methods to get drugs into the jail. An insider claimed: "There are giant skylights in the roof within throwing distance of the perimeter. "The prisoners ring in drug orders on mobiles, then tell the staff to open the skylight because they're feeling hot. "Dead seagulls have been launched in stuffed with drugs. The prisoners just lift them. "Drugs are also being stuffed inside tennis balls or socks. "It's an easy throw through the skylight - the package can land right on one of the pool tables in the hall. "If the throw misses, the stuff will land in the exercise hall outside, where it's picked up later easily enough. "A builder's ladder was found the other day against the wall at the back of one of the halls where stuff was being tossed over the wall." The source said cons were also collecting drug shipments in their cells by getting pals to throw packages over the wall in knotted socks and hooking them with the cables of their PlayStation consoles. It is claimed that even more drugs flood into Addiewell at visiting times, with just one or two warders sometimes left to watch scores of inmates and their friends and families. One source said drugs were passed across the counter at the visiting room snack bar, which is staffed by prisoners instead of WRVS volunteers. And the whistleblower claimed the CCTV system installed to monitor visits had never been used. The "main man" in Addiewell's drug trade is said to be a well-known "international player" who is "running the show" inside the jail. One insider claimed: "Intelligence reports on him are flying about. "An obvious start would be to move the guy to another prison to at least break the chain. But he is being given free rein - he has even had his two bodyguards moved into cells on either side of his. "The guy walks about the prison with these goons on either side of him. "One used to be in the French Foreign Legion and the other is a convicted Polish killer whose speciality is biting his victims' ears off." And drugs are not the only items which are finding their way into Addiewell. One of the whistleblowers claimed: "There is a big sectarian culture in the prison and several prisoners have had their flutes sent in. One guy went to collect his using a property request marked "musical instrument". The warden couldn't believe it . "Some of the prisoners will demand no Catholics next to them and belt out The Sash and such like on their flutes as soon as their cell doors are shut." Illegal mobile phones are also a major problem at Addiewell, with cons even phoning the Record from their cells to try to sell us stories. One violent offender called us last week to tell how he and his pals were given ice lollies when they got the "munchies" after smoking cannabis. "This place is brilliant," he bragged. An insider said: "The bosses are recruiting some staff straight from school." Our source added: "Addiewell has 12 wings with about 60 prisoners each and there should be several staff per wing. The other day, there were one or two per wing, which is scandalously low. Another whistleblower said prisoners are rarely drug-tested, claiming: "It costs about £120 a pop and it's only likely to return a positive result anyway. "It's only used on prisoners about to be moved to open jails, as they know that a negative result is a condition of their transfer." It is also alleged that even when Addiewell's staff find drugs, they struggle to cope. A source said: "Last week, drugs were posted in to a prisoner doing time for robbery. "The warden delivering the mail opened it to check it and when the prisoner saw his hash had been spotted, he grabbed it off the guy. "The warden hit his alarm button, which means a guard from each of the 12 wings is supposed to rush to his aid. Just three officers arrived. "All they could do was get the prisoners, who were milling around watching, back in their cells. "In Scottish Prison Service prisons, dozens of staff would have been on the scene in seconds. The guy's cell would have been searched and he would have been drug-tested." Addiewell is a private prison and Kalyx signed a contract with the Scottish Executive in 2006 to design, build and manage the jail. The company's website calls Addiewell "an operationally designed prison within which it will be possible to address offending behaviour and contribute to a safer Scotland". The website adds: "A custodial environment can have positive outcomes. Everyone should be given a second chance." But the inside sources claim that the majority of guards have no previous experience in jails. A Kalyx spokesman said: "HMP Addiewell, like all other prisons, concentrates its efforts on stopping illicit items from entering the prison. "All officers are aware of the policies and procedures when illicit items are discovered in the prison. "There have been no complaints about prisoners playing sectarian tunes submitted to the director. If this is found to be happening then appropriate action will be taken." The spokesman added: "All new officers employed by Kalyx, regardless of their previous experience, undergo an extensive nine-week training course, approved by the Scottish Prison Service, before they start work at the prison."

August 5, 2009 The Sun
A DISGUSTED mum told last night how she was robbed of more than £250 in valuables - while visiting her partner in JAIL. Nicola Ringrose, 22, had put her possessions into a visitors' locker at private Addiewell nick as she went to see boyfriend Sean Higgins, 27. But when she returned, brazen thieves had snatched £120 cash, a £130 mobile phone, her bank card, house keys and even her two-year-old daughter Mikaela's NAPPIES. Last night Nicola said: "I can't believe I was robbed in a prison. The place seems to be a shambles." Nicola of Airdrie, told how Mikaela lost the locker key in the visiting room - but guards were quickly informed. She said: "When I got back the door was open and the key in the lock. Everything except a receipt was gone." Plush Addiewell, in West Lothian, is dubbed the "Addieson Hotel" by lags. Last night a spokesman for its operator Kalyx said: "The matter is being investigated by police."

July 7, 2009 The Sun
A MONSTER serving life for the torture and murder of a 91-year-old woman is using internet site Bebo to boast about his easy life in jail. Patrick Docherty, 45 — who left victim Margaret Irvine with a duster stuffed in her mouth — brags about his plush cell and his “working day” in sickening posts. He showers praise on Addiewell jail, dubbed Scotland’s cushiest, on the social networking site. Cons at the West Lothian jail enjoy ensuite bathrooms and flatscreen TVs. Docherty crows:“It’s great being able to jump out of bed straight into a shower to freshen up before staff even start to unlock at 8am.” He reveals he gets paid to cut other cons’ hair, and “passes the time” drawing pictures as an art teacher. Docherty and pal Brendan Dixon, 43, were caged for at least 25 years in 2005 for murdering Margaret at her home in Galson, Ayrshire. She was found with her hands tied in an apparent botched robbery. But despite his comforts, dad Docherty, who has always protested his innocence. also tells that he contemplates suicide. He adds on the Bebo page: “Many a night I lay awake thinking how easy it would be to take my own life. “It may release me from this pitiful existence that is my so called life, but it won’t get justice for Mrs Irvine if I am dead.” Docherty wed second wife Elizabeth, 44, in Shotts jail in 2007. He has 54 convictions, 14 for violence, and has been in Addiewell four months. In 2006 he and Dixon were given the go-ahead to challenge their convictions, claiming there was no DNA or fingerprint evidence. But last night Margaret’s nephew Charles Keers, 56, blasted Docherty’s cushy life. He said: “The justice system in this country is a joke.” Addiewell is run by private firm Kalyx. An insider claimed the lag most likely had “someone on the outside” to use Bebo for him. Kalyx said: “Prisoners do not have access to the internet.”

June 13, 2009 The Sun
BOSSES at Scotland’s cushiest jail splashed out on hundreds of electric fans — after pampered cons moaned they were too hot. Addiewell prison chiefs sent guards out to buy scores of the desk devices to keep whingeing inmates happy. Lags at the West Lothian pokey already enjoy flat-screen tellies and en-suite showers. And last night an insider said: “It’s getting ridiculous — the things must have cost a fortune. “The prisoners are in there to be punished, but seem to get everything they want. “Some of them were moaning the jail was too warm for them during the hot weather we’ve been having. “The guards then ran out and bought fans for them to cool down. It’s getting to the stage where the inmates are running the jail and telling the guards what to do.” Snooze -- Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken blasted the easy ride inmates are getting at the country’s newest nick. He said: “Many law-abiding people cannot afford fans. “If the cons find it too hot in jail then they have an easy solution — stop committing crime and getting sent there. On Thursday we told how lazy prisoners in Scotland are being allowed to snooze through their sentences Outgoing chief prisons inspector Dr Andrew McLellan said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill was right to brand life in our jails “a skoosh”. In his final report the jail watchdog said: “They spend most of their time lying in bed.” Dr McLellan also said his seven years in the job had seen living conditions “transformed” with cons enjoying “first-class” prison buildings. Plush £130million Addiewell — operated by private company Kalyx — opened in December last year. And last month it was branded “a dangerous place for staff and inmates” — as it was revealed to be Scotland’s most violent adult jail. Attacks -- Kalyx’s facility has already seen 32 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults — an average of two every week — and 19 attacks on staff this year. Last night a spokeswoman for Kalyx said: “Due to the hot weather we have been experiencing, we used the profit generated from the prison shop to purchase fans for prisoners to use in their cells.”

May 5, 2009 The Scotsman
SCOTLAND'S newest jail already has one of the worst records for violent attacks, new figures have revealed. Addiewell prison in West Lothian is second in the league tables both for assaults by prisoners on each other and for attacks by prisoners on staff. The 700-capacity jail, which is run by private firm Kalyx, opened last December amid criticism over the "luxury" facilities for inmates. Prison bosses argued the conditions – including cells with en-suite toilets and TVs – would help in the rehabilitation of offenders. But new figures show that so far this year, Addiewell has seen 32 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults – second only to Polmont young offenders institution, where there have been 56 such incidents. The jail has also recorded 19 assaults by inmates on staff. Only Cornton Vale women's prison is worse, with 20 prisoner-on-staff attacks. Politicians claimed at the time that the "level of comfort" at the jail would not provide a deterrent to re-offending. Today, Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken said the figures were disgraceful. He said: "The more we pander to prisoners the less well they behave. We cannot tolerate the situation where prison staff find themselves victims of assaults. It is essential that the most serious possible view is taken of this type of behaviour." A spokeswoman from Kalyx was not available for comment. Earlier this year, a sacked prison guard claimed prisoners at Addiewell were "running the jail". Paula Gardner, 36, from Livingston, was dismissed after prison bosses discovered she had a minor conviction 20 years ago. She claimed prisoners were smoking heroin and using banned mobile phones as under-trained staff struggle to keep order. In February, up to 40 inmates took part in a riot at the jail. Inmates in the Douglas Hall section on the ground floor of the jail barricaded themselves into the wing and smashed up equipment during the three-hour stand-off. It was initially reported prisoners went on the rampage as they had not been fed for two days but Kalyx insisted it was triggered by one inmate's personal issue.

February 22, 2009 Sunday Mail
A BLUNDERING prison guard who lost a bunch of cell keys has been promoted - as a boss at riot-hit Addiewell jail. Ivan Millar's mistake forced all the locks at Arbroath Sheriff Court to be changed in case cons found his keys. Now he is a unit manager at the private prison in West Calder, West Lothian. A spokesman there said: "We have a stringent recruitment process." Last month five prisoners mounted barricades, lit a fire and staged a three hour riot at the £80million jail.

February 11, 2009 The Herald
Five prisoners at Scotland's only jail dedicated to tackling recidivism faced the threat of new sentences yesterday after riots which are believed to have followed a complaint about sweets. The five were among a group of around 40 inmates at Addiewell Prison in West Lothian when trouble flared, forcing prison staff to lock down the jail while order was restored. All five have been isolated and reported to the procurator- fiscal over the incident on Monday night. The disturbance will be an embarrassment given the jail's status as Scotland's first "learning prison" with a remit to reduce repeat offending by inmates. Initial reports that prisoners were protesting because they had not been fed for two days were flatly denied yesterday by the Scottish Prisons Service (SPS) and Kalyx, the private firm that runs Addiewell. But while the SPS stressed that the matter was currently being investigated, it said it was thought that the disturbance may have come about after an inmate complained about a lack of sweets at the jail's canteen. A spokeswoman for the SPS said: "It was over canteen facilities, not the kitchen. It was definitely not about food. They had had all their meals." While it was originally claimed that dozens of television sets were wrecked during the rioting, the spokeswoman described the damage as "minor and superficial". She admitted that "some" TVs may have been damaged during the incident, which she said took place in a wing holding "about 40" prisoners. Most were not involved, the SPS said. Kalyx issued its own firm denial that the trouble broke out over concerns about food shortages and said that it was caused by a single inmate. A spokesman for Kalyx said: "We can categorically confirm that there has been no issue regarding the provision of meals and all prisoners have been receiving their meals as normal. "On the evening of Monday February 9, one prisoner instigated a disturbance over a personal matter in one wing of HMP Addiewell." Prison staff imposed a lockdown at the prison between around 8.30pm and 11pm while the rioting was brought under control. There were no injuries to staff or prisoners and both Kalyx and the SPS said proper procedures were followed. The £130m jail on the outskirts of Addiewell, near West Calder, only opened in December. It has a dedicated academy for "flexible learning" to offer the 700 prisoners it is designed to hold a greater chance to prepare themselves for getting paid work when they are released from jail. A Kalyx spokesman added: "The police are investigating the circumstances around the disturbance at HMP Addiewell and therefore it is not appropriate for us to comment any further."

February 10, 2009 Scotsman
A disturbance has taken place at Scotland's newest private prison, authorities said today. Dozens of inmates went on the rampage at Addiewell Prison in West Lothian last night. Up to 48 prisoners were involved in the disturbance at the privately run jail. Trouble flared when inmates took control of a hall in one wing of the prison, the paper said, using pool tables and furniture to make barricades. Police, the fire service and ambulances rushed to the scene as violence erupted, a fire service spokeswoman said today. The disturbance is said to have gone on for several hours until prison staff negotiated an end to the trouble. No-one is thought to have been injured in the incident and no inmates are believed to have escaped. An SPS spokeswoman said: "There was an incident at the jail last night but it is over now." A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "All three emergency services attended. "We didn't do very much, we were just standing by." HMP Addiewell, near Livingston, is a 700-capacity prison run by private firm Kalyx. It opened in December.

December 4, 2007 Press Association
Taxpayers face being "ripped off" by many flagship projects funded through the private sector, justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has told MSPs. Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the new private prison planned for Addiewell in West Lothian, both had their value called into question by Mr MacAskill. He was giving evidence to Holyrood's Justice Committee on the impact of of next year's budget on his justice portfolio. The SNP has always opposed the used of public private partnerships to help fund the construction of projects like schools, hospitals and prisons. The issue is not just ideological, but also a matter for the public purse, Mr MacAskill told Labour's Paul Martin. "I believe and this government believes, that our people have frankly received poor value, if not been ripped off, in many instances, by many flagship projects. "And they're as inappropriate in prisons as they are in health." Mr MacAskill told the committee that the new prison being built at Addiewell, agreed by the last administration, is likely to cost about £24-25 million annually over the next 25 years. This is more than £600 million in total. "I have to say that 25 times 25 is significantly more than what a prison costs in construction, something in the region of £120-140 million," he said. "The fact of the matter is we can build a prison for significantly less than we will end up paying in annualised payments. I think the taxpayers of Scotland are entitled to ask why we signed that off in the first place," he said.

May 20, 2007 Scotsman
PLANS to build two new prisons using private money are set to be scrapped by the SNP, in the first major change of policy since it gained power at Holyrood. Labour insiders claim the plans will cost as much as £750m over the next 20 years, and will lead to lengthy delays in easing the current overcrowding crisis. The move to bring two jail projects back into public control will place the SNP in direct conflict with prison chiefs and civil servants who have already started signing off the deals with private firms to construct the desperately needed institutions. The row centres on two 700-capacity prisons at Low Moss near Bishopbriggs and in Addiewell in West Lothian. Construction work has already begun at Addiewell, with a private consortium having been given the contract to start. A bid to construct Low Moss in the public sector was knocked back by prison chiefs earlier this month, paving the way for another private deal. The SNP insists that moving the two jails into the public sector will bring an end to firms profiteering from imprisonment and - in the long term - benefit the public purse. The decision by the new SNP government to challenge the move is set to be one of the first major flashpoints of its period in office.

October 1, 2006 Sunday Herald
PLANS by ministers to extend the use of private jails in Scotland have been condemned as “mistaken” and “short-sighted” by a leading expert on penal systems. Baroness Vivien Stern, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords and a senior research fellow at the International Centre for Prison Studies at King’s College London, also revealed that when the country’s second private jail – Addiewell – opens in 2009, Scotland will have, proportionately, more inmates housed in private prisons than any other country in the world. The new £65 million jail is being built on a 35-acre site in West Lothian. It is to be run by Royal Bank Project Investments, Sodexho Investment Services and Interserve PFI 2005 under the name Addiewell Prison Ltd. But Stern predicted that further privatising the jail system would drive down wages, waste taxpayers’ money and hamper efforts to reduce re-offending. She said: “My view is that this is a mistaken route. The point is that the contract ties you in for 25 years, which means that any new ideas about penal policy that develop in the next 25 years will come up against a contract that’s been signed and has to run.

January 30, 2004 OBJECTIONS to a new jail in West Lothian are more than just "nimbyism", SNP Lothians MSP Fiona Hyslop has told the Scottish Parliament.  And she appealed for communities close to the proposed site for the 700-inmate prison near Addiewell to be told whether it would be privately-built and run.  Ms Hyslop said the issue of whether the new jail was public or private was a matter of concern for locals, 300 of whom had attended a public meeting about the plans.  "The majority wanted to express they were not just interested in nimby arguments. They are interested in whether it’s to be a private prison. Is it right that private profits should be made as a result of the state’s decision to incarcerate someone?"  (Scotsman)

May 30, 2003 A SITE in central Scotland has been identified as the preferred location for a 700-inmate high security jail and could become Scotland's second privately-run prison. Danny Russell, Addiewell community council secretary, said: "The survey we carried out was only just against the prison, but a lot of people didn't take part because they thought it wouldn't materialise. Personally, I am against it. I just can't see it bringing in as many jobs and money as they say. I wonder what would have happened had the community known the plan was at this stage before the election." News of the privately financed project prompted an angry reaction from the Prison Officers Association of Scotland (POAS), which pointed to problems experienced at Kilmarnock, Scotland's sole privately run prison. Last year it was revealed two inmates were released incorrectly and in another incident a prisoner went missing inside the jail, run by Premier Prisons. A spokesman for POAS said the union was against private funding of prisons, adding: "We are outraged that another privately-run, privately-built prison has been given the go-ahead, given the performance at Kilmarnock." (The Herald)

Bronzefield Womens Prison, Ashford, West London
Oct 5, 2019 thetimes.co.uk
Baby dies after mother gives birth alone in cell

Police are investigating the death of a baby after an inmate gave birth alone in her prison cell.  Staff at HMP Bronzefield who went to the woman’s cell on Friday morning last week found that the child was dead. Surrey police were investigating the death, which it said was being treated as unexplained. South East Coast Ambulance Service confirmed that it had received a call from the prison, which is privately run by Sodexo Justice Services, at 8.30am and that one ambulance attended. Police were called shortly afterwards. Vicky Robinson, prison director, said that a review was under way and the prison was working with the authorities on the investigation. “We are supporting the mother through this distressing time,” she said.

Dec 14, 2018 getsurrey.co.uk
Calls for help went ignored as Bronzefield prisoner suffered cardiac arrest in cell, inquest rules
An inmate's calls for help were ignored as she suffered a cardiac arrest in her prison cell at HMP Bronzefield, an inquest has ruled. Natasha Chin, 39, was found unresponsive in her cell in July 2016, less than 36 hours after entering the Sodexo-run prison in Ashford. Following an inquest at Woking Coroner's Court, which concluded in December, a jury found that neglect and systemic failures by prison and healthcare providers contributed to her death. Particularly, they found that the prison's healthcare staff failed to monitor her adequately or ensure she had essential mediciation. The medical cause of death was given as cardiac arrest and was related to the effects of vomiting, alongside chronic alcohol and drug dependence. Ms Chin, an Islington woman with a history of poor health, told prison staff that she felt unwell upon arrival at HMP Bronzefield. She was subsequently placed in the prison’s specialist drug and alcohol wing. On the morning of her death, Ms Chin's condition deteriorated and she began to vomit profusely for several hours. However, she did not collect the essential medication that was prescribed to her. Healthcare staff at the prison failed to follow up to understand why she had not collected her medication, and did not ensure that she got it. HMP Bronzefield is operated by Sodexo and is the only purpose-built private prison solely for women in the UK (Image: TMS) They also failed to respond to a prison officer’s requests to attend her cell or monitor her vomiting. The inquest heard that Ms Chin rung her cell bell in an attempt to call for help but received no response as staff were unaware that the cell bells were faulty. Experts told the inquest that if Ms Chin's condition had been properly monitored and responded to, her vomiting would have been less severe. The jury heard that if she continued to vomit after receiving medication, she would have then been transferred to hospital and it is likely that she would have survived. After hearing three weeks of evidence, the jury concluded that her death was caused “by a systemic failure through poor governance which led to a lack of basic care” and that the death was “contributed to by neglect”. Marsha Chin said she was shocked to learn that her sister's death could have been avoided. “On behalf of Natasha’s family I would like to thank the coroner and the jury for their thorough and careful consideration of all the evidence surrounding Natasha’s death and her treatment in HMP Bronzefield," she said in a statement. "As a family we have been shocked to learn of the inadequacies of the care provided to her and the fact that prison staff and management could have prevented her untimely death. "We can only hope that changes are now made to try to ensure no other family has to lose a loved one in such circumstances.” Deborah Coles, the director of charity Inquest, has called for Sodexo to take urgent action to prevent further deaths in women's prisons. Since Ms Chin's death in 2016, there have been three further deaths of women found unresponsive in cells at HMP Bronzefield, which is the only purpose-built private women's prison in the UK. “Sodexo and the Ministry of Justice must be held to account for their failure to act upon repeated warnings about unsafe healthcare practices in Bronzefield," Ms Coles said. "Natasha’s death was a result of this indifference and neglect. It is shameful that women continue to die such needless deaths in prison. "Despite this they failed to provide Natasha with even a basic duty of care. "Urgent action is needed to dismantle failing women’s prisons and invest this money, not in private companies but in specialist women’s services to support women in the community.“

Jun 26, 2018 ekklesia.co.uk
Inquest into woman's death in HMP Bronzefield to reopen
The inquest into the death of Natasha Chin will reopen on Wednesday 27 June 2018, after being adjourned unexpectedly last month. Natasha Chin is described by her family as a lovely person who loved making people laugh. She was 39 years old when she was found unresponsive in her cell in Sodexo run HMP Bronzefield, on 19 July 2016. Natasha had been recalled to prison for missing probation appointments and not residing in the accommodation approved by probation. She had alcohol and drug dependencies, a history of depression and poor physical health including asthma and epileptic fits. She had been in prison for only 36 hours before she died.  Natasha, a black woman from Islington, became unwell after entering the prison and was noted as suffering from withdrawal. The next day her condition deteriorated. She was vomiting excessively and was reported to be perspiring, out of breath and unsteady on her feet. She rang her cell bell during the evening but this went unanswered due, it would seem, to a problem with the cell bell system. This problem appears to have been known by some, but not all staff. It was not known to the night time officer in charge of Natasha’s wing that night. Around three and a half hours after she rang her cell bell, a prison officer and a nurse who entered her cell to deliver her medication found her unresponsive and she could not be saved. Natasha’s family hope the inquest will address the following issues: The extent to which the prison’s response to her withdrawal symptoms and ill health contributed to her death. Marsha Chin, Natasha’s sister said: “I hope the inquest will thoroughly examine the circumstances of Natasha's death to help us as a family understand why she died, and whether anything could have been done to prevent her death.” Deborah Coles, Executive Director of INQUEST said: “The vulnerability of women in prison is well documented and they are owed a duty of care. There have been previous concerns raised by coroners and investigation bodies around the treatment of drug dependency in this private prison. This inquest must offer proper scrutiny into the circumstances surrounding Natasha’s death and how she came to die within 36 hours of entering the prison". Natasha was one of nine women to die at HMP Bronzefield since 2010. One of these deaths has been classified as self-inflicted, six as non self-inflicted and two awaiting classification. Following the death of Sarah Higgins at Bronzefield in 2010, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s investigation concluded that prisoners undergoing methadone maintenance programmes should be checked regularly if they report as unwell. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of Pauline Campbell, a campaigner who fought to prevent the imprisonment of vulnerable women and to hold the state to account for preventable deaths. Her work was pivotal in the setting up of the Corston review after her daughter was one of the six women to die in Styal prison. On 1 May, INQUEST launched a new report, Still Dying on the Inside, which calls for urgent action to save the lives of women in prison. It highlights the lack of action from successive governments to prevent deaths and puts forward a series of recommendations to close women’s prisons by redirecting resources from criminal justice to community-based services.

September 22, 2009 The Sun
STAFF at a jail blasted for lax security were sent on a training day to learn how to lock cells and gates. Bronzefield, Britain's largest private female prison, was fined an estimated £250,000 in the last two years for more than 100 security breaches. The latest saw blueprints for an extension at the Category A jail in Ashford, Middlesex, floating in the wind after a bin bag burst. The crisis got so bad, employees were sent on a training course in the nick - as some of the 465 cons chanted: "You don't know what you're doing." Internal documents seen by The Sun revealed blunders, including leaving cells and gates unlocked and escorting the wrong prisoner to court. Prison director Helga Swidenbank called the level of security breaches "unacceptably high" in one memo to staff. In another, deputy director Charlotte Pattison-Rideout told officers: "Failing to secure gates and doors increases the possibility of staff assaults, hostage incidents and escapes." Shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve said: "It is an utter shambles." Kalyx, which runs Bronzefield, said: "We have strict procedures and training in place to ensure security measures are followed."

March 6, 2009 Staines News
The 'underhand' expansion of Bronzefield prison in Ashford has angered neighbours who say they were promised it would never grow any bigger. Cranes are towering over the women's jail in Woodthorpe Road and prefabricated cells are being brought in daily as a new block is built to house 77 extra inmates. But residents who live close to the high-security prison - which has been home to serial killer Rose West - claim they were told it would never house more than the 450 prisoners it was built for in 2004. John Hitchins, of Woodthorpe Road, said: "All we need is another 70-odd Rose Wests across the road. It was bad enough when they built it in the first place but to be fed this rubbish that they weren't going to make it any bigger and then see the prefabricated cells carted past my front door is just a joke. They have been so sneaky and underhanded." The two-storey block is being built within the existing perimeter wall, along with a new all weather sports pitch. Permission for the development was granted in 2007 but residents say they have no recollection of being told about the proposals. Penny Vincent, who has lived opposite the prison for more than 15 years, said: "I don't remember hearing anything about it. It wasn't advertised in the newspapers and I think we should have had some sort of notification. "I am sure it's growing faster than ever anticipated. It's not an expansion of their land but it's still far bigger then they ever said it would be." A spokesman for Kalyx, the private company that runs Bronzefield, said: "Additional prisoner accommodation is being built at HMP Bronzefield which will be within the current prison boundaries.

March 2, 2006 The Sun
A LIVE bullet has been found in the jail holding House of Horrors killer Rose West. It was the second security scare at all-women Bronzefield Prison in Ashford, West London, which earlier freed a jailbird by mistake. The jail was locked down for eight hours after the bullet discovery and all 450 prisoners were confined to their cells. Explosives experts and sniffer dogs helped to scour the £200million private prison from top to bottom, but nothing more was found.

February 27, 2006 The Sun
THE private jail holding serial killer Rose West freed a prisoner by mistake, it was revealed yesterday. The woman, who was facing drugs charges, was on the loose for four days after the blunder. Livid Home Office chiefs have ordered a major probe into the first “escape” from state-of-the-art Bronzefield women’s prison in Ashford, West London. The £200million jail run by UKDS opened two years ago. West, 52, moved there from Durham jail last year. She is locked up forever for the Gloucestershire murders of ten girls, including her daughter Heather, 16. The freed lag was released after being told to gather her belongings. A source yesterday said: “This is the first time a con has escaped from Bronzefield and it was all the prison’s fault. “It wasn’t a case of mistaken identity. It was either rank incompetence or a paperwork error. “It would be catastrophic if Rose West was released by mistake. “She has changed her appearance dramatically by shedding three stone and ditching her thick specs for contact lenses.” The freed 40-year-old lag, being held on remand, was returned to Bronzefield earlier this month. UKDS last night declined to comment.

Forest Bank Prison, Agecroft, UK
Feb 24, 2019 mirror.co.uk 

Mum's heartache as son becomes fifth inmate to die at private prison in a year

Michael McDonagh, 27, was pronounced dead after he was found unresponsive in his cell at HMP Forest Bank

A devastated mum has told of her grief and her pursuit of answers after her son became the fifth inmate to die at a private prison in a year. Michael McDonagh, 27, was pronounced dead after he was found unresponsive in his cell at HMP Forest Bank on February 19. The dad-of-one had been returned to custody at the Category B prison, run by Sodexo on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, following a serious driving offence last year. His mum, Margaret McDonagh, said he suffered from mental health problems, telling the Manchester Evening News he should not have been moved from a wing for vulnerable prisoners. Prison bosses are investigating Michael's death at the Salford prison, and said the cause is not yet known. His mum, from Failsworth, Oldham, said: “He had paranoid schizophrenia - he was not well. “I pleaded for him to be moved. He never should have been in prison. I asked for him to be sectioned. “If they had moved him from that kennel he may still be alive.” Margaret has criticised prison bosses and is demanding answers as an internal investigation and a probe by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman are carried out. An inquest is expected to take place within months. Margaret claims her son was unhappy at HMP Forest Bank, where he was jailed following an incident in July last year. Michael was on licence, having served half a seven-year sentence for aggravated burglary, when he took an overdose before rowing with his ex-girlfriend and stealing her car - which he then crashed and torched, the Manchester Evening News reported last month. Margaret said he was being held in a vulnerable prisoners' wing but was moved to a general population wing. She added: “He said he didn’t like it. He told me ‘it’s bad, mum’. “As a mum to have your child in a zoo, because that’s what it is, is awful. He kept asking me day in and day out get him out. He said ‘I need to get out mum, I need to get out. “He would have been out in 18 months. “(Everyone in the prison) they have all done stuff but they are human and that’s my baby. How many deaths will happen in that jail before anyone listens? “I would never wish this pain on any other mother.” Margaret blasted the prison over its handling of the case and claims she has struggled to get information about how her son died. Related video: Shocking footage shows inmate pass drugs from his body. She claims the news of her son's death was delivered over the phone because she wasn't home when two prison officials knocked on her door. Margaret said: “I had a phone call the morning he died saying ‘Is this Margaret McDonagh? We need to speak to you. We’re at your house'. “I told them not to go in the house because my children were in there. I was saying ‘what’s wrong, what’s happened?’ They said Michael had been found that morning deceased. “I was on the phone in my car. I was screaming.” She added: “They have not given me any explanation. I don’t know what happened to him. “They said it looked like he had fallen asleep watching TV.” Margaret claims she called the prison chaplain for comfort, but her call was not returned, and she was only allowed to see her son's body through glass when she visited the mortuary. She added: “I’ve not been able to kiss him or touch him. I just want him home. I saw him but I couldn’t go near him. He was so beautiful. Such a beautiful son. “He was a fun-loving, loveable, beautiful, warm hearted boy.” It is understood the prison director and a family liaison officer visited Margaret at home the day her son died, the Manchester Evening News reports. HMP Forest Bank is run by Sodexo for the Ministry of Justice. A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a prisoner died on Tuesday 19 February at HMP Forest Bank. “Our thoughts are with the family and we continue to provide them with support through our family liaison officer. “As with all deaths in custody, there will be an investigation by the police and the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and therefore we are unable to comment further at this stage.”

September 30, 2011 Manchester Evening News
A prison manager demoted over the dramatic escape of a gangster has been found hanged at his home. Tony Purslow was part of an escort taking criminal Michael O'Donnell to hospital in an ambulance when it was subjected to a 'terrifying' attack by a gang of bat-wielding masked men in Salford. O'Donnell, who had been awaiting sentence for conspiracy to rob and commit burglary, was sprung by the gang and spent nearly a month at large. Mr Purslow – who worked at Forest Bank in Salford - was hauled before a disciplinary committee and demoted to the rank of senior custody officer, cutting his salary by £10,000 a year. Three other prison officers who were in the ambulance at the time of the escape were sacked. Mr Purslow, 50, was found dead at his home in Leigh last Thursday. He was immaculately dressed in a suit and had a picture of his family in his top pocket.

February 11, 2011 BBC
A former prison nurse who smuggled a mobile phone into a Salford jail could have put people's lives at risk, police have said. Leanne Cartledge, 23, of Miles Platting, hid the mobile phone in her clothing and gave it to a prisoner she was in a relationship with. She admitted taking a prohibited article into the privately-run HMP Forest Bank prison last year. On Thursday, she was jailed for four months at Minshull Street Crown Court. Det Con Phil Marsh, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Cartledge was employed in a position of a trust - a position she abused when she smuggled a prohibited item into the prison and our investigations revealed her actions had serious and far-reaching implications. "Any time a mobile phone is illegally handed to someone who is in prison, it can give that offender a lifeline to continue their criminality in the outside world which has a knock-on effect for many people, potentially putting them at risk. "It can also lead to fights between other inmates, bullying and witness intimidation so clearly her actions were both foolish and dangerous." A spokeswoman for Kalyx, which runs HMP Forest Bank, said they were not able to comment on individual cases.

November 9, 2010 Manchester Evening News
Young prisoners are being tied up in bed linen and beaten by other inmates, a report said today. The practice, known as "sheeting", is seen as horseplay by some staff at Forest Bank prison, in Salford, Greater Manchester, but the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, condemned it as "serious bullying" which needs to be stopped. "A very vulnerable young man who spoke to us described it as him being tied up inside a duvet cover and 'battered' every night," he said. "A number of prisoners talked to us about 'sheeting' and these were incidents that the prison had recorded on a number of occasions. "A prison officer on a wing described it to us as horseplay. Prison management had limited knowledge of it. We are satisfied this does occur and needs to be stopped." Forest Bank, a category B local prison for adult and young adult men, was operating under its full operational capacity of 1,424 prisoners at the time of the inspection between June 29 and July 9, the report said. The report found that the prison is making improvements in cutting out drug abuse - with only one in ten prisoners failing a random drugs test in 2009 compared with four in ten in 2005. About half of the prison's 110 young adults were held on the A1 landing, where most of the incidents of sheeting took place and inmates there identified "serious concerns about their safety", the inspectors said. "A prisoner was forcibly put inside a duvet cover and the opening knotted so that he could not release himself while perpetrators carried out random acts of violence," Mr Hardwick said. "Prisoners told us that it was common and we met a number of young people who had clearly been victimised in this way." He added: "We were concerned that for a small minority of prisoners, it was not at all safe and in some cases, prison officers on the wings had a passive attitude to bullying and unexplained injuries - however good the policies."

May 28, 2010 BBC
A prisoner who cut off part of his ear so he could escape from an ambulance in Greater Manchester has been arrested. Michael O'Donnell, 29, was on remand at HMP Forest Bank in Salford when he took a razor to his ear while in his cell. He was taken to hospital on 2 May, but on the way the ambulance was held up by masked men and O'Donnell escaped. He was arrested at Pontin's in Southport, Merseyside, on Friday on suspicion of escaping from lawful custody. Two other men, aged 24 and 52, were also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy in assisting an offender to escape from lawful custody. O'Donnell was sharing a cell with his brother when the incident happened. He was being taken to Hope Hospital when a stolen BMW pulled in front of it, forcing it to stop on Agecroft Road. Four masked men then attacked the vehicle with baseball bats and bolt cutters and O'Donnell, who was escorted by three prison guards, escaped. The BMW, which had been stolen in a burglary on 30 April in Levenshulme, was later found abandoned near to Lumbs Lane. O'Donnell was due to be sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday for conspiracy to convert criminal property, in relation to a car cloning crime ring.

May 4, 2010 Manchester Evening News
A prison has launched an inquiry after a dangerous robber was sprung by a masked gang as he was taken to hospital. Michael O’Donnell is believed to have used a razor blade to slice off part of his own ear to set up his escape. The gang stopped the ambulance taking him to hospital from Forest Bank prison in Salford early on Sunday before forcing guards to free him. They then fled in a stolen BMW. His escape was the third in five years from the privately-run jail. In 2006, robber Michael Halligan, then 26, from Salford, gave two Forest Bank guards the slip as he waited for a minor operation in hospital. The year before, car-jacker Neil Brennan was sprung. He deliberately injured his hand and made a phone call from inside the prison to tip-off his hijackers. Forest Bank opened in 2000 at a cost of £46m and is run by Kalyx, which runs four prisons in England and Scotland. The prison will consider how the gang appeared to know precisely when the ambulance was due out of the prison and whether mobile phones may have played a part in the operation. Colin Moses, chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association, said: “Prisons should not be for profit. “It lowers standards and lowers wages. As a result, you get incidents like this. We are in an election when there’s a lot of talk about getting rid of the public sector. If this is how the private sector runs a prison, it’s not very good. “Here we have a prison given over to a group of profiteers and they cannot even keep people in custody.” A spokesman for Kalyx said: “We refute any allegations that our security measures would be compromised for any reason. “We have strict security procedures in place and security training for prison officers is in accordance with MOJ standards.” Detectives from the Major Incident Team of Greater Manchester Police have searched addresses in Stockport and south Manchester for O’Donnell, who has links to the travelling community and had been awaiting sentence for conspiracy to rob. Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “Given the timing and the nature of the attack, there’s clearly a degree of planning gone into it.”

April 29, 2008 Manchester.com
The inquiry into why a man wrongly released from Forest Bank jail in Salford was able to murder a man on a double-decker bus has criticised the criminal justice system. Anthony Joseph was released from the private prison in Agecroft despite an outstanding warrant for his immediate arrest from Liverpool crown court over a burglary offence. Anthony Joseph, 23, stabbed Richard Whelan several times on the top deck of a bus in London in July 2005 only hours after he was released. The report, which was commissioned by the Home Office last December, criticises the "lackadaisical" and "nonchalant approach" of the criminal justice system when it comes to some offenders. Officials at Forest Bank jail in Manchester have said they were not aware there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Mr Joseph. The report also criticises the lack of communication between law enforcement bodies. Earlier this month, government figures revealed that a tenth of the prison drug finds in England and Wales during 2007 were in Forest Bank. But the prison governor claims this reflects the jail's high detection rate.

August 14, 2006 BBC
A prison officer from a private jail has been arrested over claims he made nuisance calls to inmates' relatives. The 41-year-old man, who works at Forest Bank Prison, in Salford, Greater Manchester, was arrested after prisoners and families complained. The officer was held on 2 August and later bailed until 30 August. A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said a man had been arrested on suspicion of misuse of telecommunications systems. Forest Bank, which opened in 2000, is run by United Kingdom Detention Services (UKDS). A spokesman for UKDS said it had nothing to add to the police statement.

December 21, 2005 The Guardian
Inmates threw a bucket of excrement over prison staff as government inspectors toured a privately-run jail, it emerged today. The chief inspector of prisons, Anne Owers, revealed the incident - known in jail lingo as "potting" - as she raised concerns about falling safety standards at Forest Bank jail, Greater Manchester. The 800-inmate men's jail, which is run by UK Detention Services, suffered 25 prisoner assaults a month and there had been 2,500 disciplinary hearings in just six months, she said. Drugs were "rife" with four out of 10 compulsory drug tests coming back positive, her inspection team found. The director of the Prison Reform Trust charity, Juliet Lyon said: "This damning report reveals a prison that has become all too comfortable with violence, drugs and bullying. When a bucket of excrement is thrown at staff, during the inspection itself, you have to ask whether anyone is in control at Forest Bank. "This is the latest in a series of worrying reports suggesting that high staff turnover and lack of control in some private prisons is creating a 'Lord of the Flies' environment that is dangerous for prisoners and staff, and almost guaranteed to increase the chances of re-offending on release."

December 21, 2005 The Times
A PRIVATELY run jail is out of control, with high levels of assaults and a culture on the wings of drug abuse, according to a highly critical report published today. Prison officers were covered with a bucket of excrement by inmates at Forest Bank jail as inspectors toured the building. The incident known in prison slang as "potting" was the latest in a number of similar attacks on prison staff. Anne Owers, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, criticised the culture at the jail which was "steeped in serious drug abuse". In one month alone, more than 2kg of cannabis, 60g of heroin and 4.6g of cocaine were found at the jail, run by United Kingdom Detention Services. Ms Owers was so alarmed by the prison in Salford, Greater Manchester, that she immediately alerted senior Prison Service officials to the extent of the failings. "There had been a significant deterioration in safety so that urgent management attention and remedial action was required to rebuild staff confidence and properly regain control of the prison," the inspection report said. A surprise inspection in July at the jail, run by UKDS, a subsidiary of Sodexho Alliance which runs three prisons, found routine intimidation of staff, prisoner assaults on other prisoners running at 25 a month and staff turnover of 25 per cent a year. There had been 2,500 prisoner discipline hearings in six months and 40 per cent of compulsory drug tests were positive. Ms Owers said: "There were a series of assaults against staff, including one unsavoury incident when a bucket of excrement was thrown into an office and over two staff who were there, while we were at the prison. This was by no means the first such 'potting' incident in the prison's recent history. We were told there were two or three others in the previous couple of months." The report depicts a prison where drugs are rife and that a high level of staff turnover meant custody officers were unable to tackle problems. It is the second report in less than six months in which Ms Owers has found serious problems of control at a privately run jail. In July she found that staff at Rye Hill jail near Rugby had little confidence in controlling prisoners and the premises were "almost out of control". Staff turnover at the prison, operated by GSL, formerly part of the Group 4, was running at 40 per cent a year. Private sector involvement in the prison system has helped to spur the public sector to improve its performance and introduced innovation into the jail system. But staff turnover at private jails is higher than State-run jails - reflecting lower pay for officers compared with those in State prisons. It is also difficult to get information about what goes on in private jails with "commercial confidentiality" used as a reason not to disclose details. One prison watchdog said: "The private sector do not like anyone knowing too much about what goes on in their prisons. If they could get away with giving out no information at all, they would."

March 3, 2005 BBC
Police are searching for a "dangerous" prisoner who escaped while he was being taken to hospital in a taxi. Convicted robber Neil Brennan, 21, was handcuffed to two prison officers as they travelled from HMP Forest Bank to Hope Hospital, Salford, on Wednesday. The taxi was stopped by two men who threatened the guards with a gun, forcing them to unlock the handcuffs. Brennan escaped with the men. Greater Manchester Police said Brennan "may pose a danger to the public". Det Ch Insp Sam Hawarth said the hijacking had been well-planned and that he believed Brennan may have injured himself deliberately as part of the plot. He said he expected the Prison Service to review its means of transporting prisoners in the wake of the escape. "It would appear that using taxis in this manner is a regular practice, but it is not one we were aware of," he said. The prison guards who were taking Brennan from the privately-run HMP Forest Bank were not injured but were left "shocked".

August 18, 2004
A GREATER Manchester prison is at breaking point - according to an officer who has admitted trying to smuggle drugs into it. Norman Edgerton, 40, appeared at Manchester Crown Court last week after pleading guilty to possession of heroin with intent to supply. Now the contents of a letter the former prison officer wrote to the judge, Recorder Cross, have been revealed. In it, Edgerton criticises management at the prison, which is privately run by UK Detention Services (UKDS). The company has rejected the allegations. "It's not good enough to give officers keys, a badge and no radio, and expect two of them to unlock 86 inmates, run the wing, and hope all goes well. "If officers are to have any chance of doing their job effectively and within company regulations, they need and deserve the support and back-up systems that are there on paper only." He claims that officers ring in sick and quit their jobs because they feel "helpless, stressed and can no longer cope". He also alleges that inmates are becoming stressed at the lack of organisation on the wings. In February, up to seven prison staff suffered memory blackouts after their drinks were spiked during a night out. Last year, there was a security alert after allegations that an officer supplied mobile phones to inmates; and in 2002, an early Christmas party for prison officers ended in a brawl with police being called. (Manchester)

Harmondsworh Detention Centre, UK
March 17, 2009 Worthing Herald
The Government was wrong not to order an independent inquiry into allegations of mistreatment at Harmondsworth immigration detention centre in west London 2006, the Court of Appeal has ruled. But the appeal judges held it was now too late to hold an effective investigation and the question of whether the state had breached the human rights of detainees fell to be decided by way of pending civil damages claims. Human rights group Liberty brought the case against the Home Office and the managers of the centre, Kalyx Ltd, on behalf of three detainees who claimed they were subjected to "inhuman or degrading treatment" during disturbances caused by other detainees at the centre near Heathrow Airport on November 28 2006. Referred to only as "AM and others", the detainees allege they were denied food and water for up to 40 hours; locked in overcrowded, pitch-black rooms flooded with water for more than 24 hours; forced to urinate and defecate in front of each other; and strip searched in front of several officers. Their appeal, in which lawyers argued that their alleged treatment was sufficient to trigger the UK's legal obligation to hold an official investigation, was upheld by Lord Justices Sedley and Elias, with Lord Justice Longmore dissenting. Anna Fairclough, legal officer at Liberty, said after the judgment: "With so many people languishing in immigration detention, it is shameful that the Home Secretary refused to investigate these very serious allegations of mistreatment. "The judgment leaves the Government nowhere to hide should anything of this nature happen again."

July 26, 2007 The Daily Mail
Rioting foreign criminals and failed asylum seekers were fed McDonald's takeaway meals by prison staff during a £60million orgy of destruction which wrecked an immigration detention centre. Fearful that the human rights of inmates would be breached, staff ferried sackfuls of Big Mac meals with fries and soft drinks from a nearby branch of the fast-food chain. The revelation came in a damning official report into the riot at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow Airport last November. More than 500 inmates awaiting deportation wrecked and burned down much of the site, and it took riot squads almost two days to regain control. The report also reveals: • Walls and doors in the centre were so flimsy that inmates kicked them down with ease, especially after they were soaked by the sprinkler system; • The fire brigade got lost because there were no signposts to the centre; • CCTV cameras were easy for rioters to destroy - meaning control room staff had no idea what was going on; • Increasingly desperate calls to the Prison Service headquarters begging for help were ignored for an hour. The official Home Office investigation blames the riot partly on the huge pressure on the centre after last summer's foreign prisoners scandal. Hundreds of foreign national criminals were rounded up after being released from Britain's jails without being considered for deportation. Of the 501 men in the detention centre at the time 177 were foreign prisoners awaiting deportation - a volatile group who had 'nothing to lose'. The riot was triggered by inmates watching a TV news bulletin reporting criticisms of Harmondsworth from prison watchdogs. Fires were started and inmates began smashing CCTV cameras and attacking staff, who were unable to contain the violence. As control room managers lost their grip, staff were ordered to retreat and seal the gates, as police arrived to guard the perimeter. Thirteen riot squads entered the centre next morning but took more than 24 hours to regain control. During the day a row broke out between senior officials over whether to send food in for rioters. Those who favoured starving inmates into submission were overruled, as managers ordered that 'minimum needs of food and drink' must be supplied. "In the early stages food came from McDonald's," according to the report by senior civil servant Robert Whalley. Yesterday the Daily Mail tracked down a worker at the West Drayton branch of McDonald's who recalled Harmondsworth staff placing a huge order for £3.59 burger meals. He said: "I remember prison officers turning up and ordering around 100 Big Mac meals with fries and fizzy drinks. For a couple of hours they kept turning up with big bags, filling them up with meals and then ferrying them off in Securicor vans and then they'd return for more." The Home Office was last night unable to provide details of the cost of the emergency supplies. The cost of dealing with the riot and rebuilding large parts of Harmondsworth is expected to top £65million. Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green said: "This situation required a fast response, and all they got was fast food. "We now know that this dangerous incident happened because the Government was forced to mix foreign prisoners with failed asylum seekers. Because of prison overcrowding, this is still going on."

May 20, 2007 Observer
Hunger strikes, rioting and self-harm are now endemic in Britain's biggest detention centres as detainees become increasingly desperate about living in what they claim are deteriorating conditions. At Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, more than 100 women are refusing to eat, and there have been recent reports of major disturbances at Lindholme, South Yorkshire, and at Colnbrook in Middlesex. Self-harm is particularly acute at Yarl's Wood, which reopened in September 2003 after half of it was gutted by fire during rioting in February 2002. It now houses hundreds of women, many of whom have attempted to claim asylum in Britain after fleeing war zones. Amid growing concern over Britain's overstretched asylum system, the campaign group Liberty will call tomorrow for the Home Secretary, John Reid, to order a public inquiry into the large-scale riot at Harmondsworth detention centre in west London last November. If Reid refuses, the group says that it intends to seek a judicial review of his decision on behalf of seven detainees it is representing - an unprecedented move that would see Britain's immigration system placed under scrutiny in the courts. 'Well-documented abuses at Harmondsworth detention centre sparked the disturbance in November,' said Liberty's legal officer, Alex Gask. 'These men deserve a public inquiry into the ill-treatment they faced; anything less could result in legal action.' The deteriorating situation in the detention centres has sparked a surge in self-harm, according to campaigners. Every other day detainees harm themselves to such a serious degree that they require medical treatment, according to the National Coalition of Anti Deportation Campaigns. Between April 2006 and March 2007 there were 199 attempts to self-harm that required medical treatment. An investigation last year into conditions at Yarl's Wood found 70 per cent of women at the centre had reported rape, nearly half had been detained for more than three months and 57 per cent had no legal representation. Conditions have not improved, according to campaigners. Assaults are said to be commonplace. One woman was stripped and thrown naked into a van taking her to the airport for deportation only for the pilot to refuse to allow her to fly as she had no clothes. The women also allege staff regularly refer to them as 'black monkey', 'nigger' and 'bitch'. They claim vital faxes from solicitors are going missing and information on basic legal rights is being withheld. Detainees also complain they are given days-old reheated food in which they have found hair, dirt and maggots. Campaigners are also concerned about conditions at Harmondsworth, where detainees rioted after being banned from watching news coverage of a damning report on the centre. The Liberty report, to be published tomorrow, contains a clutch of testimonies from detainees about the conditions in Harmondsworth before the riots. One man interviewed for the study told how he was taken to the centre's medical clinic suffering from a bad back. 'They just abandoned me,' the man said. 'There was no doctor and, when I asked where the doctor was, the detention officers laughed at me ... One of them stepped on the hem of my trousers to make me fall over. He then started laughing and called me a "fucking negro".' Solitary confinement as a punishment for speaking out at Harmondsworth is common, according to Liberty. 'If we made a complaint we would be given a warning,' one man known as 'K' told Liberty. 'If we were given three warnings, we would be put in an isolated cell. We were scared of making complaints against officers because we expected to be treated badly if we did. We were treated like pigs and very unfairly, as if we were serious criminals.' A spokesman for Kalyx, which runs Harmondsworth, declined to comment. Serco, which took over Yarl's Wood on 26 April, denied conditions had deteriorated and said that many of the detainees' original concerns had been addressed. A Serco spokesman said staff had been praised by the prisons inspector for their good relationship with detainees. 'We take any complaints seriously,' he said.

December 10, 2006 The Guardian
The company running the detention centre at which hundreds of asylum seekers rioted last month is to be forced to pay the government more than £5m for a series of performance failures. The huge amount, believed to be a record sum for a private contractor to have to return to the public coffers, is likely to be seized upon by critics of Britain's asylum system, who have long campaigned for better conditions at the Harmondsworth detention centre, near Heathrow. The payout comes soon after a damning report by the chief inspector of prisons slated conditions at the detention centre. Anne Owers said her report was the 'poorest' she had ever delivered on an immigration centre. It highlighted a number of areas where there were causes for concern, including the poor relations between staff and detainees and the fact that staff were unable to recognise torture victims. Over 60 per cent of detainees said they had felt unsafe, while 44 per cent said they had been victimised by staff. The news that Kalyx, the US security and services giant that runs a number of private prisons in the UK, is to return £5,096,000 to the government was revealed in a House of Lords debate last week by the Home Office minister, Baroness Scotland. Neither Kalyx nor the Home Office would be drawn on why the company has had to pay such a sizeable sum. But Scotland suggested it was at least partly to do with the company's failure to manage the centre properly. She told the Lords that 'rigorous attempts to manage the situation in Harmondsworth' had now been put in place. 'That was the basis of the concerns expressed and of the disagreement... between management,' Scotland said. The payout is a significant blow to the reputation of Kalyx. Last month, in an attempt to improve its image, the controversial company changed its name from UK Detention Services. The company claims on its website that it provides 'nationally recognised standards of service, delivered by high-calibre staff' and provides 'protection and care associated with the growth of the individual and strength'. It makes no reference to the recent Owers report. There have been three suicides at Harmondsworth. The latest was Bereket Yohannes, 26, who was found hanging in January. Since Owers' damning report, a new centre manager has been introduced and the government has pledged to act on its recommendations. Nicholas Hopkins, a spokesman for Kalyx, said he would 'not be drawn' into commenting on the matter. A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed Kalyx would soon be paying out. 'The Immigration and Nationality Directorate has been in dispute with HDSL (a subsidiary of Kalyx) over its contractual performance at Harmondsworth,' the spokeswoman said. 'The dispute reached mediation point in summer 2006 and reached an agreed settlement; the details of this are being finalised by lawyers with full completion anticipated by the end of this month.' The impending payout comes as the government fears it could lose a crucial Commons vote tomorrow over plans to introduce more competition into the prisons and probation sector. Prisons Minister Gerry Sutcliffe is so worried he has taken the highly unusual step of emailing Conservative MPs offering them a private briefing in a last-ditch attempt to get them onside. The move has inflamed Labour MPs, between 25 and 30 of whom have signalled that they will vote against the bill.

November 29, 2006 BBC
A mutiny inside the UK's largest immigration centre has been contained, the Home Office has said. Detainees at the 500-capacity Harmondsworth centre in west London staged a protest about living conditions in the early hours. Fires were started and about 50 asylum seekers spelt out "help" and "SOS" with bed sheets in the courtyard. The Home office said the situation was contained but some of the detainees would be moved from Harmondsworth. Lin Homer, head of the immigration and nationality directorate, said: "The perimeter remains secure, and no-one has escaped. There has been no risk to the public. No injuries to staff or detainees have been reported." Repeated disturbances: She said 150 immigration offenders at centres across the UK would be bailed to make space for the detainees that were moved from Harmondsworth. "These are people who have been detained in order to better enforce their removal. We will priorities the cases according to risk. No foreign national prisoners will be released," Ms Homer added. The disturbance erupted following the publication of a prisons' watchdog report which criticised the centre's regime after repeated disturbances there.

November 28, 2006 BBC
An immigration detention centre with a violent history including a death and repeated disturbances is getting worse, the prisons watchdog has warned. Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers said Harmondsworth in west London was hard to run - but her report was the poorest ever on a removal centre. Detainees said they feared bullying, and staff were unaware of a special plan to prevent suicides. The Home Office said it would draw up a plan to improve the centre. The centre near Heathrow Airport is the largest in the country, handling thousands of people facing deportation every year. In 2004 a detainee committed suicide, sparking a major disturbance that led to its temporary closure. Since then, Harmondsworth has been at the centre of ongoing campaigns against detention of failed asylum seekers. In 2005, some 50 Zimbabweans held at the centre launched a hunger strike to try to force their cases back into the courts, saying they had been unfairly treated. In their July inspection, inspectors found: More than 60% of detainees felt unsafe Almost half (44%) said they had been victimised by staff Detainees described custody officers as aggressive, intimidating and unhelpful The report also criticised the management's over-emphasis on physical security and their strict control of all movements. These measures went as far as banning detainees from keeping nail clippers. At the same time, actions to prevent self-harm and suicide were weak, despite the commitment of one co-ordinator.

Campaigners against the detention of asylum seekers have begun a series of protests around the country.  The demonstrations came after two apparent suicides in removal centres, one of which led to disturbances.  Organisations backing the protests say they want to see an end to detention of people who have not been convicted of any crimes.  The demonstrations are taking place outside five institutions which have been used to hold asylum seekers.  On Monday 19 July, a Ukrainian asylum seeker was found hanged at Harmondsworth Removal centre, near Heathrow Airport. The man had been waiting a date for deportation.  The death sparked significant disturbances in the centre which detainees protesting against conditions.  (BBC, July 31, 2004)

The authorities finally regained full control of a detention centre today where a “significant disturbance” was sparked by the death of a detainee.  Up to 100 asylum seekers at Harmondsworth, near Heathrow, surrendered rather than face the power of specialist “tornado” teams of trained prison officers.  Fires were set and windows broken as trouble erupted at 11pm yesterday, just hours after a 31-year-old detainee was found hanged.  Harmondsworth was expected to be empty by later this evening as the detainees were moved to other immigration sites and prisons.  In a report last September, Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said it was “failing to provide a safe and stable environment” for detainees.  (Scotsman, July 21, 2004)

Hundreds of detainees at an asylum centre, where a man's death sparked a serious disturbance are to be moved.  The trouble at Harmondsworth Detention Centre, which included fires being lit, started after the man was found hanging at 2000 BST on Monday.  The situation has "quietened right down" but a number of detainees are yet to be brought under control. Earlier, staff had to leave for their own safety.  In September last year Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said the centre was an unsafe place for staff and detainees, despite hard work by staff.  And in May, at least 20 detainees staged a five-day hunger strike in protest against alleged abuses, including the physical treatment of those facing deportation, according to BBC sources.  (BBC, July 19, 2004)

HMP Addiewell
Aug 23, 2017 mirror.co.uk
Three prison officers hospitalised after inhaling second-hand smoke from 'zombie' drug Spice
HMP Addiewell in Scotland 'was put into lock down' after the guards became unwell when they entered the cell where the inmate had been smoking it. According to one convict's family member the top-security private jail in West Lothian is "awash" with the strong hallucinogenic drug. The incident is just the latest involving Spice, which has been flooding into prisons across the country, reports Daily Record. A prison spokesman said: “We can confirm three staff were taken unwell while on duty on Saturday and taken to hospital by ambulance. “We work closely with the police and NHS to tackle drugs, which are a challenge across the whole prison estate.” One convict revealed the extent of the problem to a family member during a visit this week. The woman said: “He is serving a short sentence at Addiewell and realises he has done wrong. “But he does not want to be exposed to this drug while serving his sentence. “It is going to cause a death before long – the prison is awash with it. “At Addiewell, Spice is everywhere – and it is dangerous to other inmates and the staff. “The officers were taken to hospital on Saturday due to the effects of Spice after they walked into a cell where it was being smoked. “The fumes are so strong they leave people seriously ill. “We’ve been told an inmate smoking the drug was hospitalised as well. I believe they all had to be kept in for observation at hospital. “I don’t know how the prisoners are getting the stuff into the jail. There’s a rumour that the drug sniffer dogs they use at some prisons can’t detect Spice as they haven’t been trained to detect it. “I don’t know if that’s true but it seems to be getting into prisons with ease. “The other problem is that the prison authorities have pretty much put the place on lockdown because of this problem. “That means inmates doing the right thing and serving their time are having their activities curtailed and are locked up more than they should be.” Spice is synthetic cannabis – a mixture of smokeable herbs and man-made chemicals – which can spark hallucinations and severe psychotic episodes. It is now known widely as a "zombie" drug because of the way it makes people act when they are on it - often slumped over and completely unaware of their surroundings. It can make users aggressive and paranoid or leave them slumped on the ground, unable to move. Trade union Community, who represent staff at the prison, last night demanded action to make sure warders are not put in danger again. Scottish secretary Steve Farrell said: “We have been warning prison management and the Scottish Government that ‘legal highs’ pose a real danger to prison officers. “Our members have just as much right to feel safe at work as anyone else.” Spice has been linked to deaths in the UK and abroad and was on a list of legal highs outlawed in 2016. The Scottish Public Health Observatory say over half of Addiewell’s inmates had drugs in their system during a one-month period last year. The prison is run by Sodexo.

HMP Peterborough
Apr 20, 2021 morningstaronline.co.uk

HMP Peterborough locking up women prisoners for about 23 hours a day, inspectors reveal
Morning Star

WOMEN at HMP Peterborough are being locked up for about 23 hours a day with some considering suicide as a result, inspectors have revealed. The prison, run by outsourcing giant Sodexo, holds about 300 women and female young offenders, ranging from inmates on remand to those serving life sentences. Chief inspector of prisons Charlie Taylor found that the site had several areas of good practice, but raised concerns over the impact that coronavirus restrictions were having on inmates. “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,” Mr Taylor said. “Some even told us they had considered suicide, although what we found was a prison that was safe, calm and well-ordered.” Levels of self-harm had slightly increased since the prison had returned to a more restricted regime in January, but remained lower than before the pandemic hit. Mr Taylor also warned that many women reported difficulties in ordering menstrual care products and delays in receiving them, which he said was “unacceptable and needed to be resolved as a matter of urgency.” His report adds that inmates had repeatedly told inspectors about such problems. It states that “women should have ready access to menstrual care products, soap and hand sanitiser” — a legal requirement under a law introduced in 2019. The report says that quality and diversity needed to be better promoted and that some women with disabilities required better support. Howard League for Penal Reform chief executive Frances Crook said: “It is almost impossible to imagine the immense scale of mental distress to be found in a private prison where hundreds of women have been held in solitary confinement for months on end. “This report reveals the urgent need for restrictions in Peterborough to be lifted safely and swiftly, and it underlines why the current inquiry by the all-party parliamentary group on women in the penal system, into women’s health and wellbeing in prison, is so timely and important.” The prison’s director Damian Evans said: “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.”

Feb 23, 2019 hulldailymail.co.uk
Inmates were illegally strip searched in private prison, High Court rules
Inmates have had their human rights breached at a private prison. The Ministry of Justice failed to ensure adequate and effective safeguards were in place to protect four inmates' right to privacy. HMP Peterborough is run by Sodexo. It's admitted it was responsible for a "systematic failure" to follow the ministry's rules on strip searches as it had failed to properly train its staff. The four claimants - three women and a transgender prisoner, who is transitioning from female to male - also sought a declaration from the High Court that the MoJ had failed in its responsibility to ensure Sodexo was not violating their human rights. Giving his judgment in London, Mr Justice Julian Knowles found there were "numerous serious, systemic and widespread failures at HMP Peterborough ... which led to a number of strip searches being carried unlawfully".The judge ruled: "The measures put in place by the Secretary of State (for Justice) to ensure that Sodexo had procedures in place to train its staff properly so that there were not systemic or widespread mistakes - which is an aspect of his duty to monitor and supervise - therefore failed. "Those measures cannot therefore be described as having been effective, if they had been effective then staff would have been properly trained and the breaches would not have occurred in a way properly described as systemic." The claimants' case that there had also been a breach of their right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment was dismissed. Their legal action followed five unlawful strip searches carried out in July and September 2017. All four inmates were unlawfully strip searched on the first occasion but only the transgender prisoner, known as LW, was strip searched on the second occasion. Sodexo admitted all five searches were unlawful because its officers conducted a "level two" strip search without first carrying out a less intrusive "level one" search, as required by prison rules. A level one search involves the removal of the woman's clothing apart from her underwear, whereas a level two search involves the removal of all of the woman's clothing including her underwear. Mr Justice Julian Knowles said in his judgment: "The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the infringement of human dignity that is inherent in a level two search only occurs where absolutely necessary." He added "the need for that restraint is amply demonstrated here, where one of the claimants was menstruating, and the level two search in her case involving the removal of her underwear and also the removal and disposal of her sanitary towel", which he said "must plainly have been humiliating and embarrassing for the woman concerned". The judge also found officers "defaulted to the most intrusive form of search", which he said "exacerbates the seriousness of the systemic failures and what I have concluded was the Secretary of State's failure to implement effective systems for the monitoring and supervision of Sodexo's operation of HMP Peterborough". He noted "a significant proportion of (female and transgender prisoners) have previously experienced sexual, physical or psychological abuse, giving rise to particular concerns about their vulnerability". That vulnerability, the judge found, meant there was "a particular need for care by Sodexo to ensure that staff were adequately trained in this field and, on the part of the Secretary of State, a heightened need to ensure that the overall framework for which he was responsible operated so as to ensure that Sodexo was training its staff properly".In its evidence to the court, Sodexo said it had conducted a review of its strip searching procedures at HMP Peterborough and introduced a number of new safeguarding measures, which had resulted in a "significant reduction in the number of full (strip) searches" at the prison. Samuel Genen, a solicitor with Steel and Shamash who acted for the four claimants, said in a statement: "This judgment highlights the stark failures of both defendants to protect the most basic rights of vulnerable women in their care. "The entire system failed, and importantly the framework relied on continues to be of real concern." He added: "The judgment has enormous implications for companies that continuously fail to meet the minimum standards for basic dignity of people in their care, such as private care homes, immigration detention centres and general contracting out of public services. "The precedent set is important for accountability of both private and public bodies where human rights are potentially violated."

Dec 10, 2015 theguardian.com
Suspected prison murders at highest since records began after latest death
The number of suspected murders recorded in UK prisons is at its highest in at least 37 years after another alleged homicide at a privately run jail. Prison reform campaigners said violence in jails was out of control after a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder at HMP Peterborough in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The victim was severely beaten to death and was found in his cell, which he shared with one other prisoner, sources told the Guardian. There have been eight suspected murders at UK prisons this year, the highest since records began in 1978, when the previous record was set at five. There are on average one or two murders in prisons each year, according to official Ministry of Justice figures, whereas in 2015 there have been as many suspected murders as in the previous five years combined. There have been two other suspected murders in UK prisons in the last two weeks alone: a 24-year-old inmate was arrested on suspicion of murder after an 80-year-old man died on 3 December at Nottingham prison, and another prisoner was arrested on suspicion of murder after a fellow inmate was stabbed to death at HMP
Dartmoor on 26 November. Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the spate of suspected homicides behind bars had raised the possibility of the highest recorded murder rate in at least 37 years. “Levels of violence are now out of control, putting both prisoners and staff in danger,” she said. “Whilst we welcome the concentration by the government on solving the long-term problems within the system, immediate action must be taken to cut the number of people in prison and to support staff.” Peterborough prison, which is run by Sodexo Justice Services, is a category B prison that holds about 500 men. Glyn Travis, a spokesman for the Prison Officers Association union, asked what the justice secretary, Michael Gove, and Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, which runs prisons in England and Wales, were doing to address the high levels of violence. “The silence on this issue is ridiculous,” he said. “They just say ‘the police are dealing with it’, but what’s the underlying cause to this? We firmly believe it’s down to lack of staff and staff cuts. You reap what you sow.” A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman said: “We were called at about 1.45 this morning with reports of violence at HMP Peterborough. Sadly one prisoner has died. Another, a 25-year-old man, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody at Thorpe Wood police station in Peterborough.” Peterborough prison was the site of a pilot payment-by-results scheme, under which released prisoners received through-the-gate support in an effort to reduce reoffending. A Sodexo spokesman said: “We can confirm there was a death in custody at HMP Peterborough this morning. Police were called at 1.45am. “The next of kin have been informed and our thoughts are with the family. It would be inappropriate to comment further while the police investigation is under way.” A Prison Service spokesperson said: “We take a zero tolerance approach to violence in our prisons. Offenders who take part in violent incidents can be referred to the police for prosecution and face additional time on their sentences. We have also established a violence reduction project to gain a better understanding of the current levels of violence in our prisons. “In addition, we have responded to recent staffing pressures by recruiting 2,340 prison officers over the last year, with 540 more full-time prison officers in our prisons than there were twelve months ago.”

McGill University
, Montreal, Canada
November 26, 2007 The McGill Daily
At Macdonald campus’s Centennial Centre cafeteria, students can purchase a classic two-egg breakfast all day for just $4.20, taxes included. Though the cafeteria is a relatively small operation, it is run by Sodexho Inc., a massive multinational food services company that also operates private, for-profit prisons and detention centres. Sodexho’s presence at McGill is minimal compared to that of well-known food-service giant Chartwells, but with revenues exceeding $17.6-billion in 2005-2006, Sodexho is one of the largest food-provision companies in the world. Last year, “Correctional Services” accounted for two per cent of its total revenue. In an interview with Vancouver-based Stark Raven radio last month, Alex Friedmann, Associate Editor of the magazine Prison Legal News, explained that the nature of for-profit detention centres facilitates poor-quality meals and services for inmates. “[Companies’ that run private prisons] sole interest is to bolster their bottom line and to make profit for their shareholders,” Friedmann said. “If you have to do that by cutting corners, or by reducing benefits and wages paid to your staff…or by skimping on food portions or quality, then that’s what you do.” Sodexho has faced student boycotts since 2000, and recent reports reveal overcrowding and hunger strikes at its Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in London, England. Friedmann said that professional corrections officials, like guards and wardens, understand the importance of food in prisons and the consequences it has on prison life, but that food-service companies like Sodexho – which make huge profits from corrections facilities – are not interested in the public good. “Their interest is not in the welfare or benefit of the public, the prisoners, or even their employees, really,” he said. Incidentally, the 2006 Corporate Responsibility Report from Sodexho’s U.K. and Ireland faction stated that just 54 per cent of its employees actually enjoy going to work. Similar reports from the last two years are filled with idyllic pictures, quotes from various executives championing Sodexho’s efforts toward sustainability and a greater diversity of employees, including affirmative actions plans. In April of 2005, however, Sodexho paid out an $80-million settlement after thousands of its African-American employees sued the company on charges of racial discrimination, citing the company’s utter lack of African Americans in high-ranking management positions. Boycott Sodexho -- Two years ago, students at Laval University started a “Boycott Sodexho” campaign in protest of the school’s decision to award a large food contract to the company instead of accepting the student union’s offer. Boycott Sodexho is still active, although according to member Fadi Maalouf, it now focuses on encouraging students to frequent the 14 student-run coffee shops as opposed to one of the eight larger Sodexho-run cafeterias. Maalouf explained that students were against the multinational corporation for reasons ranging from its high prices for mediocre food to its involvement in the U.S. military. “When the campaign was on campus, we were just giving information about Sodexho’s involvement in the [Iraq] warzone, and that was frustrating for students to learn,” Maalouf said. “They make millions of dollars and they cannot offer a good service to students?” In 2000-2002, students from 60 campuses across the United States and Canada formed the “Not With Our Money” campaign. They succeeded in prompting Sodexho to divest its eight per cent stock holdings from Correctional Corporations of America, which runs private prisons in the U.S. But Sodexho still owns private for-profit prisons, primarily in the U.K. – recent announcements on its web site boasts 20 and 25-year contracts to run prisons in Chile and Scotland, respectively – and it provides food and ancillary services for prisons around the world, including more than 450 in the United States alone, according to Friedmann. Prison atmosphere -- Rebecca Godderis, a PhD student at the University of Calgary who interviewed 16 prisoners as part of her research on food in prisons, echoed Friedmann’s comment about the significance of food, which can calm or excite inmates. She explained that food has a large impact on a prison’s atmosphere. “Food is a constant reminder of the lack of control that these prisoners have over their lives,” Godderis said, adding that one participant told her simply, “If the guys are well-fed, they’re more manageable.” Godderis did not comment about any specific corporations who run private prisons, but she maintained that because prisoners have very little recourse to take on mechanisms that control them, the general public should be concerned about what goes on inside the institutions. “[Prisoners] are very marginalized, very controlled, and that means we should be more attentive to them,” Godderis said. Representatives from Sodexho Inc. declined to comment for this piece.

Melaleuca women's jail
Canning Vale, Western Australia
May 12, 2017 skynews.com.au
Australia: Sodexo put on notice
Private prison operator Sodexo has been put on notice over poor management and repeated contract breaches. Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan says he has put private prison operator Sodexo on notice over repeated contract breaches and claims the Melaleuca women's jail is so poorly run that lawyers visiting inmates feel unsafe there. Legal Aid WA has stopped its lawyers from visiting the prison less than five months after it was opened because of safety fears. The $24 million prison was opened by the previous Liberal National government last December, with French company Sodexo offered $15,000 bonuses for every inmate who stays out of jail for two years after being released. Legal Aid's issues relate to what it sees as poor standards and discipline at the 254-bed Melaleuca Women's Remand and Reintegration Facility. It claims its lawyers were not being given duress alarms and put in dangerous situations, with other inmates standing around and guards not present when they have been meeting with prisoners and they have also had trouble contacting clients to prepare legal defences. AAP has been told of serious problems with violence and drugs at the prison but Legal Aid is yet to comment. Sodexo denies the 'unsubstantiated allegations in relation to security practices'. Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan, Criminal Lawyers Association of WA president Genevieve Cleary and Community and Public Sector Union WA secretary Toni Walkington came out to strongly criticise Sodexo and the way it is running the prison. Mr Logan said Sodexo had already been fined $25,000 three times for contract breaches, he had put the company 'on notice' and ordered that it's generous contract be examined. 'There are KPIs within the contract that they have to comply with ... in exchange for a generous payment from the taxpayers of Western Australia and I am going to make sure they comply with that contract,' he said. Sodexo said in a statement that it met with Legal Aid on Thursday and it would continue to work with stakeholders to assess performance and implement any improvements at Melaleuca. 'The meeting was extremely positive and it is anticipated that the visits will resume shortly,' it said.

Northumberland Prison Morpeth, UK
Oct 19, 2020 thejusticegap.com

Prisoner goes seven months without shower at HMP Northumberland

A prisoner with mobility issues had not showered for seven months as a result of coronavirus restrictions imposed at a Sodexo private prison. Prison inspectors reported prisoners with symptoms of coronavirus at HMP Northumberland were locked up for 24 hours a day for up to eight days without access to a shower or the open air until a test result became available. According to prison inspectors, HMP Northumberland had ‘risen to the challenges of the pandemic situation well’; however prisoners who displayed symptoms were ‘exclusively confined to their cells for up to eight days whilst awaiting a test result’. This was compounded by inaccessible showers for prisoners with mobility difficulties, with one prisoner being unable to shower since March. Inspectors noted that prisoners who were considered to have behaved inappropriately ‘for example, taking too long in the shower’ were wrongly subjected to informal punishment by not being allowed out of their cells for the regime on the following day. More than half of prisoners with disabilities (54%) also reported feeling intimidated from staff, compared to 30% of prisoners without disabilities. Perhaps most worrying was a trend amongst staff in some house blocks to keep prisoners in cells for a full 24 hour period as an informal punishment for poor behaviour. There was no proper authorisation or oversight of this regime and it was not in accordance with normal prison disciplinary procedures. Prisoners were generally permitted only one hour out of their cells each day, with some spending up to 27 hours in cells. Prisoners had to complete all domestic tasks within this very short time period, including exercise and using the electronic kiosk. This was below several other comparable prisons and, for prisoners in the induction units, time was restricted further to only 30 minutes. ‘[Most] prisoners had only one hour a day out of their cell, in addition to collecting meals,’ said chief inspector Peter Clarke. ‘This gave more limited time than at most similar prisons for basic activities, such as showering, exercising and using the electronic kiosks to make requests. Those on the induction units often had only 30 minutes rather than an hour a day out of their cell.’ Inspectors reported on the ‘longstanding problem’ of drugs in the jail and found that a quarter of prisoners said that they had access to drugs.

Jun 27, 2018 gazettelive.co.uk
Distressing video shows naked inmates 'made to fight like dogs' after allegedly taking Spice
This distressing video allegedly shows the dehumanising effects of the super-strength drug Spice. Filmed in Northumberland Prison on a smuggled mobile phone, two men can be seen stripped naked and restrained with dog leads inside a cell. The inmates - said to be from Teesside - are believed to be under the influence of the psychoactive drug Spice, which can bring on frightening hallucinations. The two men can then be seen headbutting, biting and clawing at each other as two clothed men laugh and cheer as they let them off the leash. The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) has described the clip as a “sad example of how Spice has taken over local prisons”. A second video shows a separate inmate rolling around on the floor, clearly under the influence. Glyn Travis, for the POA, said: “It is unfortunately a very, very serious but common problem and not just in private prisons like Northumberland, but in jails up and down the country. “As sad as it is, this is the reality of life in prison. “These shocking videos that people in normal society will find grossly offensive, are all too common in prisons although to hear that two men are being made to fight like dogs is very unusual.” Spice is a synthetic former legal high, which is smoked in a similar way to cannabis. But its effects can be much more severe, and can make users behave like "zombies". Teesside Live has told how the drug has wreaked havoc in local prisons. The wives of two Holme House prison officers spoke to Teesside Live last year of their fears for their husbands over the effects of second hand smoke. A prisoner found hanged in his cell was the first Holme House inmate whose death was linked to Spice, in July 2015. This piece breaks down what Spice is, how it is smuggled into prison and how harmful it has become. Mum-of-four Nicola Gallagher was jailed for 16 months for trying to smuggle the drug in Holme House. But the Prison Officers' Association hit out at a judge's decision to not jail a man who smuggled Spice into prison, calling it 'deeply unhelpful'. It has been claimed five workers at Kirklevington Prison needed medical help in a single day for the effect of Spice. An HMP Northumberland spokesperson said: “Prisons are a challenging environment to manage and the safety of staff, prisoners and visitors remains a top priority. “The use of mobile phones and drugs is a challenge across the whole prison estate and staff at HMP Northumberland work very hard to prevent these items getting into the prison. “We have taken appropriate action in the prison in relation to both these incidents, and notified the police.” Northumberland Prison is a private jail which houses inmates from across the North-east and is run by facilities management firm Sodexo, not the Ministry of Justice. A 5.6kg smuggled Spice stash - worth an estimated £200,000 - was smuggled into Stockton’s Holme House cells last August, stuffed in cappuccino, Oats-so-Simple and Weetabix packets. And last week it was claimed five workers at Kirklevington Prison needed medical help in a single day to deal with the effects of breathing in secondhand fumes from Spice. The employees, including a 60-year-old prison officer, needed medical check-ups on Thursday. Concerns have previously been raised about the substance causing prison officers serious health problems including hallucinations, fits and even suicidal thoughts.

Nov 21, 2017 .huffingtonpost.co.uk
The Prison Where Violence More Than Doubled And Officer Numbers Halved Since Privatisation
A new report into HMP Northumberland, which private firm Sodexo took over in 2013, has underlined how violence has more than doubled while the number of prison officers has halved. Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, found 58% of prisoners felt unsafe at some time and 28% of prisoners felt unsafe when an inspection took place in July - “a very high figure by any standards,” he said. Since the 1,300-inmate jail was taken out of public hands, its frontline staff has shrunk from 441 to 192. Violence has also risen by 202% against an average uplift of 77% in all UK jails over the same period. Almost two thirds (61%) of inmates said that it was “easy or very easy” to get hold of drugs, Clarke found, and 21% said they had picked up a drug habit in the jail. Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the privatisation reforms and austerity were at the heart of the problem. She said: “After a year of riots, drug scandals and prisoners dying by suicide in private prisons, today’s report on Northumberland proves beyond doubt that privatisation has been an abject failure for the public. “Violence has more than doubled. Hundreds of men have acquired drug habits. These are serious problems that will spill out into communities, making everyone less safe.” Clarke said: “In the face of this grim picture, one would have expected there to be detailed analysis of the violence, leading to a comprehensive violence reduction plan. This was not what we found. There were plans for the future, but these had not yet come to fruition.” Inspectors found mismanagement at the jail which posed a “clearly unacceptable” risk to the public, with 59% of prisoners covered by MAPPA (multi-agency public protection arrangements to assess risk and protect the public) were being released without confirmation of their MAPPA level. There have also been six self-inflicted deaths since 2014 and Clarke said few of the shortcomings identified by Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) investigations into these deaths. Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon lays the blame squarely at the door of privatisation. He said: “This report is yet another damning indictment of the Conservative government’s prisons policy. Since the privatisation of HMP Northumberland in 2013, the number of assaults has increased three fold, way above the national average. “Staff numbers were slashed in the run up to privatisation and appear to remain at dangerously low levels.” Clarke did uncover attempts by Sodexo to make improvements at the jail. A residential unit dedicated to older prisoners saw, which included an Age UK activities club, took more mature men away from what they described as “the noise, violence and drugs.” Action was also being taken to reduce drug use. But more needed to be done to reduce risk to prisoners, prison officers and the public, Michael Spurr, Chief Executive of HM Prison and Probation Service, said. “The Director at HMP Northumberland has taken firm action to drive forward progress at the prison,” he said. “Since the report, the prison has set up a team to specifically review the prison’s management of violence and additional safer custody staff will also help improve the prison’s self-harm response.” An HMP Northumberland spokesperson said: “Following the Inspector’s visit in July, we have continued to implement the strategies and plans that we had initiated prior to the inspection and we immediately developed an additional action plan to address the issues raised. “We are pleased the report recognises the on-going commitment from the prison leadership to make improvements, that the majority of prisoners report positive interactions with staff and that prisoners are developing good work skills and high achievement rates in education and vocational training qualifications. “We continue to work hard to tackle drugs and violence, which are a challenge across the whole prison estate, and we have strengthened our violence reduction team, introduced more drug testing and secured funding for additional CCTV equipment. Also as a priority, we have significantly improved our public protection processes and are working more effectively with probation services.”

Apr 18, 2014 chroniclelive.co.uk
Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith is to raise serious concerns over goings on at HMP Northumberland with its bosses. An MP is to meet prison bosses to discuss concerns following a recent disturbance. Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith is to meet managers at Sodexo, which owns HMP Northumberland, where 50 prisoners took over a wing last month. He is to raise “serious” concerns over staff reductions - widely believed to have contributed to the disturbance - and other operational issues at the site. The takeover of the wing happened on Friday March 20. Reports suggest there was a stand-off, with inmates reportedly refusing to go back to their cells and riot officers on standby. It is not believed anyone was injured in the trouble. Concerns over security at the prison were first voiced in December 2013, shortly after it was taken over by Sodexo. The company said it was to cut 200 jobs, prompting Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery to raise the issue in Parliament last month. Sir Alan and Julie Pörksen, who is their party’s candidate to replace him when he retires at the next election, are to meet Sodexo bosses, and representatives from the Prison Officers Association, at HMP Northumberland tomorrow. Sir Alan said: “I have recently met a number of prison officers and former prison officers and I have serious concerns about staff reductions and other operational issues at HMP Northumberland. “Since Sodexo took over running the prison on December 1, I have become increasingly worried about whether the safety of prison staff and prisoners can be maintained.” Mrs Pörksen added: “Some of the prison officers’ families have told me they are worried every time their relatives go to work. “The changes at HMP Northumberland do not seem to be working and we also need to ask whether the prison is able to provide effective rehabilitation in the current circumstances.” A Sodexo spokesperson said: “We look forward to meeting Sir Alan Beith and addressing his concerns in person.” The category C 1,300 inmate jail was formed by the merger of Castington and Acklington jails in 2011.

Mar 31, 2014 thenorthernecho.co.uk

STAFF at a private prison where about 50 inmates took over a wing predicted there would be trouble when the workforce was cut, a union official has said. The disorder at HMP Northumberland, in Morpeth, on Friday night, lasted for about seven hours and required the assistance of specially-trained colleagues from other prisons around the North-East to bring it to an end. Terry Fullerton, who represents the region on the Prison Officers Association national executive committee, said members had raised concerns about staffing levels as far back as December. He said since then around 130 staff had left, leaving fewer than 200 uniformed staff to guard 1,350 inmates. Mr Fullerton said: "Staff were concerned that the reduction would lead to what happened on Friday night. "It doesn't take inmates long to realise that staffing levels have reduced and that there are less of the 'white shirts' that are needed to keep control." Inmates refused to return to their cells and warned staff to leave the area, which they did, allowing them to take over until a specialist squad of officers was assembled. Sodexo Justice Services, a private firm which manages HMP Northumberland, said an investigation was being held into what happened. HMP Northumberland, a category C prison, was formed from a merger of the former Acklington and Castington jails.

, Cambridgeshire
December 12, 2013 leicestermercury.co.uk

A pregnant woman who miscarried while in a cell at a private prison was left to clear up after herself, a court heard. Although remand prisoner Nadine Wright lost her baby in the presence of a nurse, she claims the foetus was not taken away from the cell afterwards. Her barrister, Philip Gibbs, told Leicester Crown Court: “There was blood everywhere and she was made to clean it up. “The baby was not removed from the cell. It was quite appalling. It was very traumatic.” Mr Gibbs, who was representing Wright at a sentencing hearing, said: “She only received health care three days later, after the governor intervened.” The incident is alleged to have taken place at HMP Peterborough on November 23, the day after Wright was taken into custody. The information was revealed when Wright (37) appeared for sentencing for breaching court orders, by committing a shoplifting offence and failing to attend appointments with the probation service. She was sentenced to 10 months’ jail. Mr Gibbs also hit out at the probation service, accusing it of failing to assist Wright in getting any benefit payments during the 11 months she was under its supervision. In desperation, she stole £13.94 worth of food from the Co-op, in Newbold Verdon, because she was hungry, he said. The court heard that Wright, formerly of Sparkenhoe, Newbold Verdon, has been battling heroin addiction since her teens and lived a “chaotic lifestyle”. Her mother died in September and Wright, who has mental health issues, was ill-equipped to deal with the loss, said Mr Gibbs. He said Wright was remanded into custody while pregnant and grieving for her mother. She has previously had a child taken from her for adoption by social services, due to her addiction, he said. Within 24 hours of being locked up in HMP Peterborough, she miscarried. It was not stated in court how many months pregnant she was. Wright pleaded guilty to breaching two community orders imposed – one in November 2012 for a house burglary and theft and another in July for shoplifting. Wright has 26 previous offences on her record. Paul Trotter, for the probation service, said Wright had failed to co-operate and did not attend appointments. Mr Gibbs said Wright’s legal representatives would be investigating her alleged  mistreatment in prison. HMP Peterborough is a category B privately-run prison, opened in 2005 and managed by Sodexo Justice Services. The Mercury contacted the company for a comment about the claims, but a spokesperson said it “cannot comment publicly on individual cases”. The spokesperson refused to say whether any inquiry relating to the alleged incident is being held. The spokesperson said: “A prisoner received medical treatment on the day of her arrival in prison and was seen by a GP the following day. “We have a duty of care to all prisoners that we hold. As part of that, we ensure that all prisoners have access to the same level of NHS services as those in the community.”

December 18, 2010 Peterborough Today
A CITY MP has called for a review of prison procedures following revelations that prisoners were wrongly released from HMP Peterborough. According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), over the last three years six prisoners have been released by mistake from the prison in Saville Road, Westwood, Peterborough. It is not known how many are still at large or whether they have been returned to jail. MP for North West Cambridgeshire Shailesh Vara said: “This is very worrying. “I am writing to the prisons director asking for their procedures to be urgently reviewed to ensure that these errors are not repeated in the future.” Kalyx, which runs the Category B prison, were unavailable to comment about the findings. The FOI also revealed that in the last year 69 inmates were released by mistake from prisons in England, Scotland and Wales.

August 21, 2010 Peterborough Today
A PRISONS watchdog has slammed HMP Peterborough’s staffing levels as “inadequate” and said drugs are being easily smuggled inside during visits as a result. The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB), which is charged with looking at the humane treatment of prisoners and reports annually to the Secretary of State on how well the prison meets standards, said unless the staffing problem was tackled urgently, the illicit drugs trade at the prison, in Saville Road, Westwood, could increase. The hard-hitting report into the Category B mixed prison said: “The board has become increasingly concerned about the apparent ease with which contraband, in particular drugs and mobile phones, enter the prisons. “The staffing levels in the visits departments are often inadequate and this should be addressed as a matter of urgency if the problems are not to continue and even increase. “A culture has arisen that drugs are more easily imported at evening and weekend visits when, due to staffing levels, security is less.” The concern over the “constantly fluctuating” number of officers assigned to male and female visits was one of the issues that the report’s authors have highlighted to the justice minister. They also raised fears about the prison receiving an increasing number of people with severe mental health issues and said the time taken to find them more secure accommodation in appropriate hospitals was too long.

July 11, 2008 The Sun
THE most dangerous prison in Britain was last night revealed as Peterborough jail. There were 115 assaults on its warders and staff last year – more than two a week. The prison is run by private firm Kalyx, with an official capacity of 840 lags but currently housing 983. The Cambridgeshire nick is the country’s only purpose-built jail which holds both men and women. The disclosure came in official figures uncovered by Tories which show attacks on prison staff have rocketed as jails struggle to cope with record overcrowding. Inmates launched 2,916 assaults on warders last year – up 15 per cent in just four years. A total of 312 attacks were so bad they were reported to police. Of the ten jails with the most assaults, seven are seriously overcrowded. They include Birmingham which has a 1,121 capacity yet houses 1,451. Feltham Young Offenders Institution in Middlesex was second most dangerous with 107 assaults on staff. Shadow Justice Minister Edward Garnier said yesterday: “It is significant the highest levels of attacks on officers are in the most overcrowded prisons. “These figures clearly show the Government has both failed to provide enough room for prisoners – and failed to protect their staff.”

January 18, 2008 BBC
Privately-run prisons perform worse than those run by the public sector, a document leaked to the BBC suggests. The Prison Service papers include an internal "league table", which ranks all jails in England and Wales. It shows that most privately-managed prisons score badly on security and maintaining order and control. Prison governors want the government to re-think private management of prisons. But the Prison Service says private and public sector jails cannot be compared. BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the report would re-open the debate about private sector involvement in prisons, at a time when private companies were bidding to fund and operate a series of new jails. A national table, ranking performance in six categories, showed that 10 of the 11 privately-run prisons in England and Wales were in the bottom quarter. Assessments 'subjective' -- Peterborough Prison, managed by a private firm for three years, came last out of 132 prisons and prison clusters, with low marks for reducing re-offending, organisational effectiveness and decency. The Prison Governors Association has called on the government to re-think its policy of involving private firms in the management of prisons. But sources within the private security industry said the findings shown in the documents were based on subjective assessments. The Prison Service said direct comparisons between the private and public sectors were "not appropriate" because some figures were counted differently. Privately-managed prisons, which were introduced to the UK in the 1990s, are assessed by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in the same way as public sector prisons.

January 31, 2007 BBC
A demonstration has taken place outside a privately-run jail in Cambridgeshire over the death of a female inmate. Lucy Wood, 28, died on 15 January 2007 at HMP Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Bouquets of flowers were laid by protest organiser Pauline Campbell whose 18-year-old daughter Sarah died in Styal Prison in January 2003. Ms Campbell said the number of women committing suicide was unacceptable. A prison spokesman said any death in custody was a matter of deep regret. "We naturally offer our commiserations to Lucy Wood's family and friends. Used bedding: "The inquest has yet to take place and we are therefore unable to make any further comment," he said. Lucy Wood, serving two years for threatening to kill, was said to have used bedding to take her own life. "HMP Peterborough prisoner Lucy Wood was found in her cell apparently having attempted self-strangulation," a prison spokeswoman said. The demonstration on Wednesday at Peterborough prison was the 21st demonstration organised by Ms Campbell since protests began in 2004. Ms Campbell said she has been arrested 14 times on previous demonstrations and on Wednesday attempted to stop a prison van. "I am saddened and angry that yet another woman prisoner has died in the 'care' of the State'," she said. "It is of particular concern that Ms Wood lost her life while locked up by a private company, and her death also raises very serious issues about the dubious ethics of making profit out of punishment." "Thirty-four women prisoners have died [self-inflicted deaths] since my daughter's death in January 2003." HMP Peterborough which is run by Kalyx Ltd opened in 2005, and is a private jail accommodating both women and men.

June 1, 2005 BBC
Inmates at a new mixed prison in Cambridgeshire are to be offered massages and relaxation treatments. Operators of the 840-place Category B prison at Peterborough, United Kingdom Detention Services (UKDS), want to recruit two holistic therapists. Reflexology, aromatherapy and Indian head massage would be offered. Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson has accused the prison of pampering inmates and sending out the wrong message to hard-working families. Mr Jackson said: "It is wrong prisoners are treated in this way. Are they using it as a Butlins holiday camp? "Inmates should be taught the basic skills, such as reading and writing, to aid their rehabilitation."

February 20, 2003
Interserve PLC said it has closed a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with the UK prison service to create and operate a new prison in Peterborough ,
Cambridgeshire.  Opening in early 2005, it will be the first purpose-built facility in the UK to accommodate both male and female inmates, it added.  It said Interserve Project Services will be responsible for the design and construction, beginning immediately, while partner United Kingdom Detention Services (UKDS) will operate the prison for 25 years from opening.  Interserve and other consortium members Sodexho Alliance (UKDS's parent company) and Royal Bank of Scotland are taking equity stakes in the project through their respective investment subsidiaries.   (AFX News)

POA: Sodexo Boss Admits Prison Bidding Fails
PRIVATEERS’ race to the bottom in running prisons “doesn’t work,” a top contractor has admitted. Sodexo justice services operations director Mike Conway said government contracts should be awarded with fixed budgets rather than having private bidders undercut one another. “Instead of commoditising the prison market, that’s the path we should be going down,” he said on the fringes of the POA union conference on Wednesday night. “If we end up going down that path in 10 years’ time … we’ll have very different consequences. “We’ve got the challenge of trying to run prisons cheaply, both public and private, and we’ve found to our cost that doesn’t work,” he said. Asked by a prison officer about private and public prisons competing to cut costs, Mr Conway said: “It’s not a costcutting race between the public and private sectors, it’s been a cost-cutting race between the bidders.” The meeting was also addressed by G4S UK security and detention managing director Jerry Petherick. G4S came in for fierce criticism last December after rioting broke out at HMP Birmingham, which has been under its control since 2011. Mr Petherick insisted the riot was not down to a particular failure of his firm or the private sector, pointing to other disturbances in state-run jails last autumn. “Unless we get the staffing profiles fully staffed, we’re always going to be up against it,” he said. But HMP Bedford delegate Martin Field scorned: “Your purpose for being here is to make money. The purpose of us being here is to provide a service.” Mr Petherick replied: “I won’t shy away from the fact that I have to look after my shareholders.” He said the firm considered its investors as “stakeholders” alongside prisoners and staff. “You’re kind of indicating that the only thing we’re worried about is profit,” he added. “That isn’t so.” The bosses were also grilled by POA general secretary Steve Gillan for not recognising his union at a number of private jails, saying they had instead struck a “sweetheart deal” with another union, Community. He challenged them to bring in multi-union recognition. “[Community] don’t understand the criminal justice system,” he said. Mr Conway insisted it was “not a sweetheart deal” and he had been “very impressed” with Community.

April 25, 2012 STV
The company which runs Addiewell prison has been criticised over the way they recorded a prisoner’s medication. Richard McGhie, 41, was found dead at the jail in West Lothian in November 2010, less than a month after beginning a three-month jail term for assault. A fatal accident inquiry heard the private prison's record keeping was "haphazard" and noted that it had failed to make clear notes of what drugs were dispensed to inmates. Mr McGhie suffered from epilepsy and died when he had a fit in his prison cell. Staff tried to revive him but it was too late. On Wednesday, Sheriff Graeme Fleming delivered the findings of a Fatal Accident Inquiry into Mr McGhie’s death. He said all efforts had been made to save the prisoner and placed no blame on the prison or other parties. However, he did tell Sodexo, the company which runs the prison, they need to improve their record keeping.

July 25, 2010 Radio New Zealand News
The parent company of a private firm bidding to run services at Mount Eden prison has been ordered to repay $US20 million it overcharged customers in the United States. International firm Sodexo, which owns Kalyx, the company vying for the Auckland contract, was providing catering services to private schools and a university in New York. Sodexo overcharged for its services over five years and the New York State's Attorney General has ordered it to pay $US20 million. The office of the Corrections Minister, Judith Collins, says the minister cannot comment on whether this will affect Kalyx's bid, because the tender process is still underway. The minister's spokesperson says the privatisation plans have checks and balances set up to avoid these situations. He says observers from the Corrections Department will monitor privately run prisons. Green MP David Clendon says despite New York state monitoring of the private firm, it took a whistleblower to expose the five-year period of overpayment.