Taxpayers pay £27MILLION in compensation to prison officers as violence in jails spirals out of control
Thousands of prison officers have got caught up brawls, stabbings and violence
Taxpayers have footed a £27million bill to compensate prison officers as violence in jail surges.
Assaults on prison staff have doubled over the last 10 years, according to the Ministry of Justice figures.
In 2021, prison officers received around 4.3 million in compensation while in 2019, a total of £4.5million was paid out.
Staff say they have to look after entire wings of around 150 inmates with as few as four or five employees, according to the Daily Express.
They say it is “difficult to control violence if staff are grossly outnumbered or very inexperienced.”
Conditions have led to many experienced officers quitting.
Ministry of Justice figures show the number of assaults fell from 31,633 in 2019 to 25,951 in 2020 and 18,283 in 2021.
However, the number of assaults has started to increase again, figures show.
Chair of the Prison Officers' Association Mark Fairhurst has warned of a “Summer of discontent” behind bars unless officers are allowed to police smaller groups of inmates.
He said: “If we are to regain control in our prisons, we need a major investment in staffing and activity spaces for prisoners.
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“The days of mass unlocks of prisoners and pointless association periods must end before we witness a Summer of discontent.
“Mass unlocks mean unlocking a full wing of prisoners with say 150 inmates with only four staff to supervise.
“We advocate small unlock numbers so everyone is safer. Just 40 or 50 with those staffing numbers. Association periods are the locking of prisoners so they can play pool or table tennis.
“That’s pointless and only breeds violence. We want that replaced with more purposeful activities that address offending behaviour.”
Figures uncovered by the Labour Party show there have been more than 242,000 assaults in prisons since 2012, which includes almost 70,000 assaults on staff.
Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed said: “This soft-on-crime Conservative Government has lost control of prisons.
“The Conservatives’ dangerous mismanagement of our prisons under bullying Dominic Raab has led to a spiral of violence, breeding more violent criminals and exacerbating violent crime.
“The country needs a government that is serious about law and order. A Labour government will lock up criminals safely and make prisons work to drive down reoffending rates so we can protect victims and reduce crime.”
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