The justice services trade union Community has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons’ Annual Report, published yesterday. Roy Rickhuss, Community’s General Secretary, said:
“This report makes it clear the scale of the challenges that our members face on a daily basis. We welcome the fact it fully acknowledges the dedication, courage and skill of prison officers. It also highlights the dangers and problems that our members must confront, particularly as a result of the proliferation of ‘legal highs’.
“When the Inspector describes prisons as ‘unacceptably violent and dangerous’ then this must be a wake-up call to the government. The report fully supports the existing body of evidence in favour of greater action to improve the safety and well-being of prison officers so that they are protected at work and able to carry out their vital role in helping to rehabilitate offenders. This is why Community is campaigning for a safer justice sector and calling on the government and justice services providers to sign up to our Safe Operating Solutions Charter and why we have written to the new Secretary of State today.
“There is an urgent need for prison reform and this can only be achieved through constructive dialogue between the employers, the government and prison officer representatives. But none of this can realistically be achieved without the necessary funding, including for private prisons, which were overlooked when the previous Secretary of State announced additional money to tackle the prisons crisis.”