The dramatic rise in violent attacks on prison officers (a 23% rise in the last 12 months alone) is undermining the safety of our prisons and we need to see the roll-out of body worn cameras increased to keep our officers safe.
These attacks coincide with the significant rise in the use of drugs such as Spice in prisons – also known as New Psychoactive Substances. The Government needs to get a grip of the situation if not more violent attacks will take place.
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”