The latest government Safety in Custody statistics for England and Wales show a significant increase in the number of assaults on prisoners by prisoners and on staff by prisoners.
The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) says that the figures outline the failures of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Services (HMPPS) to protect prisoners and staff from the unprecedented rise in violence in prisons – adding that the latest report demonstrates that prison officers continue to work in one of the most dangerous and violent environments in today’s modern society.
The figures show that all assault incidents have risen by 20.1% to 26,643, with serious assaults increasing by 21.9% to 3,606.
Prisoner on prisoner assaults have risen by 15.7% to 19,361 – with serious prisoner on prisoner assaults up 21% to 2,825. On average, 53 prisoner on prisoner assaults take place every day.
Assaults on prison staff have risen by one-third (32.4%) to 7,159 every year, with serious assaults on staff up 25% to 805 annually. On average, there are 20 prisoner on staff assaults every day.
The POA says that the level of violence, self-harm and self-inflicted deaths – alongside the continued use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) within the secure custodial prison estate – is unacceptable.
Self-harm incidents among prisoners have risen by 16.6% to 40,414 annually, with the number of self-harm individuals held in jail rising by 9.7% to 11,010.
Hospital attendances among prisoners have risen by 12.6% to 2,771, with 316 deaths, 97 of which were self-inflicted. There were also two homicides in prisons.
The POA is demanding that HMPPS and the government address the crisis in prisons – and take immediate action to reduce the unacceptable levels of violence, self-harm and suicides.
The POA adds that recent reports highlight that more than one-quarter of a ton of drugs were found in prisons in 2016 – the POA says the latest report demonstrates that the Prison Service is being “mismanaged” and “prisons are out of control”.
General Secretary of the POA, Steve Gillan, said:
“My members have lost patience with the employer and government – they are fed up with being treated with disrespect, ignored and used as modern-day slaves, as the management of HMPPS try to paper over the cracks; while government rewards those at the top who have overseen the chronic demise of the Service, with bonuses which outweigh the salary of some of my members.
“We cannot permit to allow the government and the employer to allow these unprecedented increases of violence to continue.
“The abject failure of HMPPS to address these issues and challenge the government’s cuts year on year has again resulted to bring about a Service in crisis.”
On behalf of the union, Mr Gillan called for the resignation of Michael Spurr and other senior members of the board who had “allowed this situation to develop on their watch”.
Duncan Lewis Personal Injury Solicitors
Duncan Lewis Personal Injury Solicitors can advise prisoners and Prison Service staff who have suffered injury as a result of negligence in a prison in England and Wales on how to make a no win no fee claim for compensation.
Claims against the Prison Service have to be made within three years of injury or diagnosis of injury, including claims for accidents caused by negligence, unprovoked prisoner on prisoner or prisoner on staff assaults, negligent medical or mental health care, unnecessary use of force or assault by Prison Service staff, or sexual assaults in prisons.
For expert legal advice on no win no fee Claims Against the Prison Service, call Duncan Lewis personal injury solicitors on 0333 772 0409.