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Increase in staff at Whitemoor Prison in March to help stem rise in violence

Whitemoor Prison has strengthened its workforce over the last year, as it aims to tackle rising levels of violence.

Whitemoor Prison in March has increased its number of officers.
Whitemoor Prison in March has increased its number of officers.

The Howard League for Penal Reform has welcomed the boost to prison workforces, saying the Government has recognised the need to "ease the pressure on the prison system".

Home Office figures show that there were the equivalent of 543 full-time members of staff at Whitemoor Prison in December.

It was 20 more than the previous year, an increase of 4 per cent – but still 77 fewer than in 2013.

Figures released earlier this year show that levels of violence have been rising in the prison and only this week there was a minor riot on Monday involving 40 inmates which saw six officers injured.

Whitemoor Prison in March has increased its number of officers.
Whitemoor Prison in March has increased its number of officers.

In the first nine months of last year, 69 assaults were recorded, 77 per more than during the same period in 2013.

In addition, 155 incidents of self-harm were recorded during the same period, and one person died in the prison across the whole of 2018.

Deaths, violence and self-harm cases hit record levels in England and Wales's prisons during the first nine months of 2018.

A further four future staff members were due to begin Prison Officer Entry Level Training for Whitemoor Prison between January and April.

Of the staff in the prison at the end of 2018, 66 per cent were operational prison officers – a total of 356.

Altogether, 459 were considered operational staff, including management and other operational support.

The Ministry of Justice said that they are investing £70 million to improve safety and security across prisons, and that they had recruited 4,300 additional prison officers since October 2016.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: "Violence and self-harm in our prisons is unacceptably high and these figures underline why we are spending an extra £70 million to fight the drugs plaguing prisons and boost security, while also training over 4,000 new prison officers in handling the complex offender population.

"Clearly there is huge amount yet to be done but I am determined to cut the violence so prisons can focus on rehabilitating the offenders who will be back out at some point.

"I am optimistic that the measures we have been putting in place will help us to reduce violence and ultimately better protect the public."

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