Press Contacts

Mark Fairhurst - National Chair:
Mobile 07968 108284

Steve Gillan – General Secretary:
Mobile 07971 838590

Glyn Travis - Press Officer:
Mobile 07968 324045

POA Press Office:
020 8803 0255 Option 7

POA Press Releases

123 28 Apr 2016

POA are NOT surprised at Latest Prison Statistics

The latest Safety in Custody statistics published by the Ministry of Justice provides further evidence that the state of our prisons has descended further into crisis. The POA have been warning both NOMS and the Secretary of State for Justice that the prison system is in meltdown due to the cuts imposed on the number of frontline staff. The POA takes no pleasure in saying to them: “we told you so”.

The statistics show record levels of assaults, self-harm and deaths in custody.

For the first time, the number of assaults within our prisons has exceeded 20,000, a 27% increase on the previous year.  These include a 31% increase in the number of serious prisoner on prisoner assaults.

Prisoner on staff assaults have seen an even more substantial increase, from 3,640 in 2014 to 4,963 in 2015 (36%). This is equivalent to 14 members of staff being assaulted by prisoners every day of the year within our prisons. These figures also show an increase of over 31% in what are classed as serious assaults on staff, which have required hospital treatment.

The data on self-harm is unfortunately equally depressing with the number of self-harming individuals up from 7,793 to 9,458. There were over 32,300 incidents of self-harm recorded, with over 2,250 of these resulting in offenders requiring transfers to hospital for treatment for their injuries.

The most unfortunate statistics revealed that 2015 saw a record number of deaths in custody, with 290 offenders losing their lives. The data shows that over 167 of these were from natural causes but with 100 being classed as self-inflicted, most worryingly six being from prisoner on prisoner homicides.

Steve Gillan, POA General Secretary said:
“These figures show that NOMS are failing in their duty of care not only to their employees but also those individuals who the courts have sent into their care. The Union cannot lay all of the blame at the door of NOMS! The Ministry of Justice and Treasury are equally to blame, as the savage cuts imposed on the Service are the prime catalyst that have led to the deterioration in service delivery.”  
“The data clearly shows both the MoJ and NOMS are running our prisons on a wing and a prayer. We fear the Service is rapidly approaching a precipice from which it will be unable to recover from unless urgent action is taken to address the crisis they now find themselves in.”

The POA National Chairman, Peter McParlin stated:
“Statistics are a very cold medium through which to view the success or failure of our prisons. We must remember that each assault has a victim and each incident of self-harm has a demoralising effect, not just on the self-harming individual but on the offenders they live with and the staff charged with caring for them before, during and after each of these incidents.”

“The true effects of the incidents covered by this publication are bringing the Prison Service to its knees! Surly, it is now time for Government and NOMS to get their head out of the sand and deal with the crisis of their own making.




For further information contact:

POA Press Office                                                                                        020 8803 0255 Option 7