On Tuesday, an Urgent Question was granted by Mr. Speaker on the announcement by the Prison Officers union that they will be working to rule following the continued rise in attacks on both themselves and other inmates by prisoners.
As you know, I have been campaigning within the Justice Select Committee and the floor of the House for the Government to tackle the rise in attacks, some of which result in deaths. Our prisons are overcrowded and understaffed. The Government have spent the last 6 years cutting the number of prison officers only to realise that in doing so they have put the effectiveness of prisons at a terrible risk. Read more “Urgent Question: Prison Officers”
On Tuesday, I asked the Secretary of State for Justice, Elizabeth Truss MP, about the shortage of prison officers.
I pointed out that there have been an unprecedented 6 major prison incidents in 8 weeks, something I have not seen occur in the 25 years I’ve been a MP. One of the causes for this is staffing shortages.
I wanted to know if she would confirm that the figures to September 2016 displayed a loss of 417 prison officers last year alone and that when she says that she needs to employ 2,500 new officers she actually needs to employ 4,000 in the next 12 months just to meet that 2,500 new officers she notes.
The Justice Secretary agreed with me, but she was not able to confirm my second question that she will be able to meet that number. The staffing shortage has been caused by the Government’s drastic cuts. It now requires a huge recruitment drive to solve it. But it remains my concern that we now have experienced prisoners and inexperienced prison officers. The Government need to ensure that this does not continue and our prison officers get all the support they need.
All too often prison officers are the forgotten public servants and we must all take a moment to thank them for helping keep us safe and giving people the care and support they need to turn their lives around in prison.
On Tuesday, I asked the Secretary of State for Justice, Liz Truss MP, what her department was doing to decrease the number of sick days taken by prison officers.
The number of sicks days have risen to 200,000 days in the past 12 months. This is due in part to the increase attacks on prison officers committed by prisoners. Read more “Justice Questions: Prison Safety”
On Tuesday, I asked the Secretary of State for Justice, Elizabeth Truss MP, about the growing pressures within our prisons.
The Government has continually cut the number of Prison Officers, whilst the number of people inside prisons continues to increase. This has resulted in the situation where we have experienced staff leaving prisons and experienced prisoners now in control of prisons.
We can see the effect this is having on prison safety. The number of attacks on Prison Officers has increased significantly. The number of self-inflicted harm within the prison population has also skyrocketed. This is deeply concerning as if we cannot make our prisons safe places reoffending rates will increase.
The Secretary of State dodged my question. She merely stated that she agreed with me that we must be doing all we can to retain Prison Officers. She also noted that the Government may be making an announcement in the near future regarding recruitment in prisons.
I will continue to monitor this as part of my role on the House of Commons Justice Select Committee.