A project that is trying its hand at new bedding began more than a year ago and has been hailed by the National Audit Office as an example of good procurement practice.
Geoff Sykes of the Ministry of Justice explains that the turn over of cheap mattresses is extremely frequent and while the average domestic bed takes a regular ruff and tumble through regular use the prison bed tends to face more austere circumstances.
Sykes explains "The foam mattress construction is very dense foam, with a high level of fire retardancy," and is not easily incinerated.
"By 2012 we want our mattresses to be zero-waste," Sykes says. "We'd been buying mattresses for years from the same contractor. We thought they should be doing more than taking a great deal of money from the government and not putting an awful lot back,"
The prison population may not rest as easy as the general public during the night but at least now the constant flow of mattresses will be environmentally friendly.