No showers, 23 and a half hour lock-ups and bad food, says prisoner at Doncaster jail

A prisoner at a Doncaster jail says inmates are being locked in their cells for 23 and a half hours a day, are not allowed to shower and are being subjected to ‘bad food.’
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The prisoner claims that inmates at HMP Doncaster in Marshgate are only allowed out of their cells for half an hour each day due to staffing issues in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Richard Benn, who is serving a four year sentence for arson and endangering life as well as damage to property, says that some innmates are turning to drugs as a result of the restrictions.

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In a message sent to the Free Press he said: “During Covid, the prison brought in what is known as red regime.

HMP DoncasterHMP Doncaster
HMP Doncaster

"This was to stop prisoners being out to stop Covid spreading.

“All Covid restrictions are now lifted, however they are still using red regime to minimise the number of staff needed.

"On a red regime you are locked up for 23.5 hours a day with just 30 minutes exercise.

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"To give you an example, in the last seven days we have had five red regimes - they are becoming that common they are telling the staff the day before that tomorrow we will run a red because we don’t have enough staff.

"Prisoners being locked in their cell day after day with no showers is really playing with their mental health and pushing them to take drugs,

"Some of the cells have been converted them into doubles by adding an extra bed so sometimes you have two prisoners in a confined space for four days on the trot with just 30 minutes out. This prison is a remand prison but it’s been run like a double cat A.”

He also says prisoners have to eat in their cells and are being served up ‘bad food.’

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The privately run jail is managed by security firm Serco, who we have contacted for comment regarding the allegations.

Caroline Smith, 48, escaped injury but was left shaken by the crash at her home in Market Street, Highfields in Doncaster on November 20.

He was one of three men sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court in connection with the incident.

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Kelzie Foulkes was charged with damaging property and endangering life, possessing an offensive weapon, common assault and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Richard Benn was charged with arson and endangering life as well as damage to property and was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment, concurrent to a sentence already being served.

Benjamin Cahill was charged with affray and damaging propety and sentenced to 12 months, consecutive to a current sentence

Nicknamed ‘Doncatraz’ for its island location, the jail was built on the former Doncaster Power Station site and first opened to inmates in 1994.

Currently a Category B jail, it has room for 1,145 inmates and has previously come under fire for having the highest suicide rate among the UK’s prisons.

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