Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/924/23906

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 November 2016

Action needed to defend workers at the sharp end of prisons crisis

Prison officers and inmates are in danger because of cuts, photo by West Midlands Police (Creative Commons)

Prison officers and inmates are in danger because of cuts, photo by West Midlands Police (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

A prison officer

The latest national statistics on safety in our prison system were released recently. These quarterly figures have been breaking records and setting new "unprecedented highs" systematically since 2010 - a year which 'coincidentally' ties in with the culling of 7,000 prison officers' jobs.

Currently deaths in custody including homicides, incidents of self-harm and assaults among prisoners are all on the increase, including a 43% rise in assaults on staff in the last year. The POA union of prison officers and allied workers has consistently challenged the government and employers' plans on how to tackle this ever-worsening situation but year on year the stats speak for themselves.

Some individual branches like Holme House, Wetherby and Wormwood Scrubs have taken action to protect their members from the ever-increasing risk of violence by staging walkouts on health and safety grounds. This is a legal right of any employee, yet all have been branded as criminals themselves and threatened with legal proceedings for their efforts. Prison officers have been denied their right to strike since 1994.

The true extent of the problem is not known by the general public. Drones flying drugs over prison walls, weapons caches, new psychoactive substance and drug abuse, slashing, stabbings, murder and suicide are all events in an average week for some prison officers. They currently have to work until the age of 68 before they qualify for their now reduced civil service pension.

Action gets results

In response to these latest figures the POA directed its members to hold meetings outside of their establishments on 2 November and mandate local committees to effectively take charge of each prison and its regime unless immediate assurances from local management were given. As always the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) hid behind the courts and cited that this was illegal industrial action.

NOMS and the justice secretary Liz Truss did eventually agree to talks with POA national officials on the condition they suspend their directive. These talks are now underway and will cease on 11 November. Should they not address the fears and concerns of the POA, it will re-issue its directive.

Meanwhile Liz Truss has announced government plans on 'prison reform'. They include an injection of 2,500 prison officers to tackle the issue of violence which has been cautiously welcomed. The reality is that prisons are a 'people industry'.

You cannot mechanise the production line or replace analysts with hi-tech software, you need staff supervising and interacting with prisoners in order for them to be safe - plenty of them! 2,500 will hardly make a dent in the damage that has been caused by the removal of the previous 7,000 and with a starting salary of 19,000 plus a retention rate of virtually zero, the number may as well be 100,000. Log on to the civil service website at any time of day and you will see dozens of jails constantly recruiting but in truth nobody wants to work in prisons now.

As well as the "injection of frontline staff", there are the plans for each prison to become a separate legal entity, like academy schools or NHS foundation trusts. What this will mean for the national collective bargaining powers of the POA, dispute resolution, universal pay structures and HR policies is unclear.

Prison officers and union officials would be irresponsible if they allowed this crisis to continue without taking action so I ask everyone to go out and support your local prisons and POA members when that action takes place.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 9 November 2016:


High Court Brexit bombshell

Bosses' government, bosses' EU...fight for socialism

High Court bombshell on Brexit decision


Socialist Party news and analysis

Stop the 54,000 yearly maternity sackings

Build housing for the kids without homes this Xmas

Unions must act on pay restraint!

Court slams Tory air quality plans

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Build the education fightback

Read the Socialist

Over a thousand march to fight museums and libraries cuts

Library cuts: working class kids suffer most

Momentum left meeting excludes socialists

New Socialist Party pamphlet: Fight racism, fight for socialism

Far-right given short shrift in Darlington

Obituary: Hilary Mooney 1945-2016


Socialist Party workplace news

Action needed to defend workers at the sharp end of prisons crisis

Courts and tribunal services face huge cuts

Newcastle council cuts: opportunity for trade union fightback

Birmingham's Labour council freezes workers' pay

Hackney Picturehouse strike


International socialist news and analysis

Turkey: Erdogan tightens repressive screw

Ireland: Gardai strike threat

South Africa: State victimises #OutsourcingMustFall activists


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Horror of health-wrecking toil for Polish migrants

HyperNormalisation: Arbitrary selection of ideas to confirm feelings of powerlessness

Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 November 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Prisons:

triangleRate of black imprisonment worse than US

trianglePrison deaths scandal

triangleMy time in a detention centre

triangleWould you call G4S for help over discrimination?

Workers:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Prison:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

trianglePalestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest

triangleGagged Jobstown defendants defiantly expose the Irish state

Prison officers:

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleWhy prison officers rejected pay and pensions deal

POA:

triangleNSSN lobby of the TUC 2017: rank-and-file solidarity to smash the pay cap

Civil Service:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Drugs:

triangleTories wreck our NHS

Health and safety:

triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2