assaults on prison officers

high profile stories and issues for Prison Officers

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each prison officer is assaulted on average

once a day
41
8%
once a week
43
9%
once a month
63
13%
every couple of months
58
12%
3 or 4 times a year
54
11%
twice a year
67
13%
once a year
172
35%
 
Total votes: 498

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assaults on prison officers

Post by falkor » Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:48 am

PRISON OFFICER 'A VICTIM OF OVERCROWDING'
ANDY GREENWOOD CHIEF REPORTER

06:00 - 25 July 2007

A prison officer who needed 16 stitches in his mouth after being head-butted by an inmate is the victim of the overcrowding crisis in Britain's jails, it was claimed yesterday.

The officer was attacked at Dartmoor Prison after confiscating an "unauthorised item" from a prisoner, according to the Prison Officers' Association.


He had to be taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth for the stitches.

Don Wood, the POA's South West representative, said the assault would not have happened if the prison population was not at an all-time high.

"I don't believe that prisoner would be in Dartmoor if it was not for the overcrowding problem," said Mr Wood. "That is the type of prisoner we are getting at category C prisons these days.

"All the pressure is on the category B prisons, like Exeter, and they are being forced to relieve that pressure quicker than they should do."

He believed there were more and more "inappropriate" prisoners being transferred to prisons such as Dartmoor and Channings Wood, near Newton Abbot, category C training prisons for lower-risk offenders.

"Officers are quite angry at the moment. Their safety is the most important thing and when prisoners go off like this, they don't feel they can be safe at work."

HMP Dartmoor was downgraded from a category B jail to a category C training prison in 2002. Mr Wood said the only assessment before transferring prisoners to Dartmoor and Channings Wood was on their "means and wherewithal to escape" - not the seriousness of their crime or behaviour in the penal system.

"There are 65 less prison officers now than there were when Dartmoor was a category B prison but they are still looking after 600 prisoners. Now they are getting prisoners who are being downgraded from category B too fast.

"A robber may be serving seven to eight years, but within 18 months, they'll have been recategorised and sent down to Dartmoor or Channings Wood because that is where the spaces are in the system.

"Staffing levels are inappropriate and it is not coincidence that prison officers are getting assaulted as a result."

Ministers have been accused of "incompetence" over the prisons crisis, introducing waves of new offences but not providing any new prisons to house those convicted. Over the last decade, the prison population has rocketed from 61,467 to more than 81,016 and breaking point came late last year when the Government was forced to use police and court cells to accommodate offenders.

Then the Ministry of Justice freed 1,701 prisoners - including 344 convicted of violence against the person - from jail early last month.

Prisons Minister David Hanson later admitted that 30 of those freed had been recalled to jail.

> more

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Post by UKmember » Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:03 pm

Its only happened twice at whatton in 2 years but this is a Cat C Sex Offenders Prison :shock:
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Prison Officer Attacked In Smoking Row

Post by ANT » Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:04 pm

PRISON OFFICER ATTACKED IN SMOKING ROW

ANDY GREENWOOD HERALD REPORTER

06:50 - 07 August 2007


A prison officer has been taken to hospital after being allegedly attacked by an inmate at Dartmoor - the second such incident in as many weeks.

The officer was repeatedly punched by the prisoner in a dispute over smoking, according to the Prison Officers' Association.

POA spokesman Don Wood said: "A senior officer told the prisoner that he was not allowed to smoke in that area and either to go to his cell or to another area where it was permitted.

"The prisoner just lost his rag.

"It wasn't just one punch; the officer was punched a number of times."

The injured man was taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth with a suspected broken jaw.

Mr Wood said although doctors had established there was no fracture, the officer was still seriously hurt.

"This is a really special officer: one who's quite popular with prisoners," Mr Wood said. "The incident has come as quite a shock to all staff at Dartmoor."

The incident, on Sunday, happened exactly two weeks after another officer was butted by another inmate. He had to have 16 stitches in a mouth wound after confiscating an unauthorised item from a prisoner, and is still recovering.

At the time Mr Wood said it would not have happened had the prison population not been at record levels, forcing the service to transfer 'inappropriate' prisoners to jails such as Dartmoor and Channings Wood, near Newton Abbot, which are Category C training prisons designed for lower-risk offenders.

The Ministry of Justice yesterday confirmed the latest incident, adding: "This is now a matter for the police."

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said the alleged assault, which occurred at about 10.30am, was being investigated.

The incident occurred as new figures showed 'prisoner-on-prisoner' assaults at Dartmoor more than doubled between 1996 and 2006. Last year, on average, an inmate attacked another every two weeks.

A Prison Service spokesman said changes in the documenting of prison violence had led to more events being recorded.

"The actual level of violence has remained broadly the same for five years," he said. "The information contained within the Prison Service annual report 2006-07 makes clear that the rate of successful adjudications of prisoners for assaults on other prisoners has remained fairly static for 10 years and has dropped slightly in the reporting year."

>>STORY HERE<<
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Post by Guest » Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:15 pm

Your poll is flawed - even taking the lowest possible figure "each prison officer is assaulted on average" "once a year" means an average of 24000 assaults on Prison Officers a year - it is nowhere near even a 10th of that figure.

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Re: assaults on prison officers

Post by Guest » Sat Aug 18, 2007 2:59 pm

Sorry, what was that?

".... Mr Wood said the only assessment before transferring prisoners to Dartmoor and Channings Wood was on their "means and wherewithal to escape" - not the seriousness of their crime or behaviour in the penal system."


You really would expect those POA officials who speak for prison officers to know their subject - otherwise it just demeans their argument and those who they represent.

Mr Wood, is completely wrong.

Para 1.2.1 of PSO 0900 on Categorisation and Allocation makes it abundantly clear that in addition to the risk of escape and the threat posed if that escape succeeds staff must also take account of the risk of control - and to that extent consideration of custodial behaviour is vital:

1.2.1 Prisoners must be categorised objectively according to the likelihood that they will seek to escape and the risk that they would pose should they do so. In the majority of cases, consideration of these two factors alone will be sufficient to determine the prisoner’s security category. However, a small number of prisoners while presenting little risk of escape or risk to the public, and who would ordinarily be assigned to a low security category will, because of their custodial behaviour, require a higher category so that they may be sent to a prison with levels of supervision commensurate with the risk they pose to control. The categorisation Forms therefore permit consideration of control to influence the final security category. The security category must take account of the above considerations alone. emphasis added.

The reason why this officer was assaulted at Dartmoor has nothing to do with staff at Exeter not doing their OCA jobs properly, but because the prisoner was caught with an unauthorised article and responded with violence; it could have happened anywhere, and it does much too frequently.

For POA officials to make redundant points like this in the media, points which are easily shown to be wrong, does nothing to reduce staff being assaulted nor does it increase the Union's already tarnished reputation for making serious penal comment.

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Post by Crumbling Victorian Cat B » Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:39 pm

custodial behaviour taken into consideration
You’re totally right it is taken into consideration, and then they are still moved?

In a busy Cat B local we could and do most nights wait for up to 40 prisoners to come from courts, and this is still as late as 20.00,most nights staff have broken off and the night staff are locating, the bottom line is you need those cells and there is only one way to get them.
Like I say there behaviour is taken into consideration, and then re-categorised

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Post by Eggman » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:37 pm

Assaults in my establishment have risen in the comparatively short time that I have been there!

Pressure from over crowding is causing the system to buckle. I work in a CAT C establishment, but we have a very large number of prisoners who simply should not be there, but the CAT Bs that they have come from have had no choice but to send them our way. These prisoners are volatile and aggressive individuals who need a lot more staff to keep an eye on them than a CAT C prison has available.

And bare in mind people, than not all assaults are reported. Take all published statistics with a pinch of salt.

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Post by Carbon » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:07 pm

I believe on average this year 8 staff a day have been assaulted whilst on duty.

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Assaults on female prison officers rise by 121%

Post by ANT » Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:44 am

Assaults on female prison officers rise by 121%

Ed Hancox
Friday August 31, 2007
>>Guardian Unlimited<<

Attacks on female prison officers have more than doubled in the past seven years, official figures obtained by Guardian Unlimited revealed today.

Assaults on male prison officers have risen by more than 50% over the same period, the figures showed.

The attacks, including stabbings and scalding by boiling water, are directly linked to the surge in the prison population since Labour came to power, experts have said.

Prison workers said overcrowding was impacting on rehabilitation programmes and leading to increased levels of reoffending.

They said there was an urgent need for thousands of specialist beds for mentally ill inmates who posed a danger to themselves and those who supervise them.
The Prison Officers' Association, which wrongfooted the government by abruptly calling a 24 hour-strike on Wednesday, today said the rise in assaults had made life "miserable" for Britain's 27,000 prison officers.

The Ministry of Justice figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed a 121% increase in assaults on female prison officers since 2000, with the number rising from 232 to 513.

Male prisons saw a 58% increase in attacks on officers, up from 1,767 in 2000 to 2,804 in 2006. Over the same period, the prison population rose by 24% to the record number of almost 81,000 this summer.

>>MORE ON STORY HERE<<
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Post by falkor » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:46 am

reading that story ANT you can't help but realise that there are a lot of assaults going on here

with Prison Officers starting on £17,000 it does seem a bit poor :x

Islington Tribune - by PETER GRUNER
Published: 14 September 2007 Image
Inside Holloway: ‘violent women inmates attack staff once a week’

Prison officers claim that gang culture among young offenders is fuelling disorder

PRISON officers at Holloway have revealed how they have to deal with increasingly aggress­­ive women inmates, in an exclusive interview with the Tribune this week.

And on a lighter note, the officers admitted enjoying ITV’s Bad Girls, which they think occasionally presents an authentic message about life in a women’s prison.

The officers maintain that, with an average of one attack a week on staff at Holloway, many women today are becoming as aggressive as men and need to be locked up for society’s good.

Bill Banham, 55, local branch secretary of the Prison Officers Association (POA), believes that the inmates now in Holloway Prison reflect an increasingly violent society.


However, although he described conditions at the women’s prison as difficult, with one officer to 15 inmates, he praised the new governor, Sue Saunders, who was working well with the unions.

Last Thursday – the day of the interview – an officer was assaulted after trying to break up a fight between two prisoners. “One of the officers tried to intervene and unfortunately she got struck with a broom handle across her neck,” Mr Banham said.

The officer, who was not seriously hurt, was sent to Whittington Hospital in Archway for a check-up.

But Mr Banham said he did not expect the assault to be investigated by prison authorities.

“Police and nurses have a zero tolerance on assaults but we are treated like third-class citizens,” he said. “When a prison officer is attacked no one is interested.”

On the other hand, he added, when a prisoner alleges assault by an officer that is usually thoroughly investigated.
“That is entirely fair,” he said. “We don’t want officers attacking inmates. But it should work both ways.”

TV presenter Joan Bakewell caused a nationwide debate last year when she called for women’s prisons such as Holloway to be closed and the inmates freed.

She argued that the majority of women prisoners are not violent criminals but inside because of unfortunate domestic circumstances or drug abuse.
Mr Banham said: “Unfortunately, these days more and more, particularly young, women are quite capable of committing violent crimes.
“We’ve noticed that with our young offenders there is a gang culture and they are very prone to violence.

“Women generally are becoming more violent but in prison it becomes more pronounced. There are women who kill and they have to go somewhere.”

POA branch chairman Simon Peters, 33, said that the layout of the 150-year-old prison, partly rebuilt in 1976, makes it difficult to patrol.
“We don’t have CCTV,” he added. “The cost would be prohibitive, and there are so many nooks and crannies that it would make a system difficult to work.”

With an average salary of about £25,000 a year, the majority of officers cannot afford to live locally and have to commute long distances.
Mr Peters added: “It means we have a big recruitment problem.”

On average there is a suicide every two years in Holloway Prison.
Mr Peters said: “But we will have possibly two or three episodes of self-harm a day. We may lose one woman every two years but we have probably saved the lives of thousands over that period.”

Despite the problems, the officers are proud of Holloway’s many achieve­ments. “Many prisoners are able to kick drugs and learn to lead a more civilised life while inside,” Mr Peters said. “Our staff don’t just supervise prisoners, they invest time and energy in counselling, talking and encouraging those who want to lead a normal life.
“The tragedy is that when they return to society there is no support or care for ex-offenders. It is something that the probation service should provide, but they too are increasingly having their staff and funds reduced.”

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Post by SolCare » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:09 pm

It is all very true about Holloway, and it is getting much worse!

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Post by sidney » Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:27 pm

Every assault should be repoorted and if you can get police involvement.

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Post by falkor » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:41 am

how would you get police involvement though?

Don't all assaults end up as prison discipline? Does a Prison Officer have a choice as to whether Police investigate the assault?

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Post by sidney » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:45 am

Yes they do and you can ask for it,it is then remanded till police decide if their is enough evidence if not it then proceeds.It does not look good on Stats if you involve police.

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Post by Crumbling Victorian Cat B » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:58 am

falkor wrote:how would you get police involvement though?

Don't all assaults end up as prison discipline? Does a Prison Officer have a choice as to whether Police investigate the assault?
I believe the prison discipline system is very much geared up and more fit for purpose then the police and CPS when it comes to assaults on prison officer's , also the perpetrator is going to be weighed off with a much heavier sentence IE day's added.

The police will take ages before it reaches the CPS, they in turn we say it's not in the public interest or if they do end up in court with a sentence it will be concurrent.
That's if by then they have not been nutted off, deported or released and not answered bail.

Obviously this all depends on the nature of the crime ABH GBH or common assault

Of course there is nothing wrong in reporting a crime yourself , which no one can stop you , but you still must inform the prison , I should imagine there’s nothing worse for the Governor to have police turn up to the prison to investigate a crime or assault in which he knows nothing about.

Depending on the nature and degree of the assault, I would go down the prison discipline route, get a very quick result, and report all the details to the police for statistics and future intelligence and possibly compensation

Please do not use the above as a reference in proceedings, I cannot be held liable for the accuracy or otherwise of the above information. Always consult your union / solicitor in assault case’s
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