THE body responsible for monitoring a North-East prison is looking for new members.

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for Durham Prison is recruiting to find new people to join its ranks.

Members are responsible for going into the prison to monitor how it is being run and look at a range of areas, from what food prisoners are given to the education programmes they receive and levels of violence and drug use.

The board has eleven members but it would like to have 14 or 15.

Board member Chris Hutchinson said: “Our plan is to expand our board because as the prison’s workload has increased, ours has too.”

The board runs a mentoring scheme to ensure new members feel comfortable and confident in the new environment.

Board chairman John Davidson said: “We want a range of people. We have been trying to change the profile and we now have more younger people and more women.

“We want to bring in different views.”

Board members Michelle Barwick said: “If you have an interest in the penal system and have a desire to make a difference whilst helping others, I would highly recommend this role”.

The board published its annual report of its findings this week.

Applications must be made by March 31. Details are available at