Press Contacts

Mark Fairhurst - Acting 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

125 18 May 2016

PRISONS BILL

The POA today cautiously welcomes the announcement from the Secretary of State for Justice on Prison Reform.

According to the Government this will be the biggest shakeup of prisons since Victorian times.

The country’s first six autonomous Reform Prisons are HMP Wandsworth, Holme House, Kirklevington Grange, Coldingley, High Down and Ranby will deliver more than 5,000 prison places where offenders will be housed in Reform Prisons by the end of this year.

The POA has recently confirmed at its Annual Conference in May that it will engage with NOMS and Government in developing this reform agenda. An agenda which will realise early freedoms for Governors extended to all key aspects of prison management.

The Ministry of Justice has also published its intention to review and overhaul prison education, with the Prisons Bill a centrepiece of new Government legislative programme, which is focused on big social reform to extend life chances and opportunity for all.
 
The POA are still questioning what these freedoms to Prison Governors really mean, although early indications are that it will include financial and legal freedoms, such as how the prison budget is spent and whether to opt-out of national contracts; and operational freedoms over education, the prison regime, family visits, and partnerships to provide prison work and rehabilitation services.
 
The POA has made it clear that whilst it will engage any new freedoms and regimes must address the real problems within our prisons today. The unprecedented rise in violence, self-inflicted injuries and deaths in our prisons must not go unchecked.


Mike Rolfe POA National Chairman said,
“The POA is committed to engage on Prison reform, however on average 14 POA members are assaulted every day, mobile phones, drugs and the use of NPS (Lethal Highs) are freely available, the only way to protect staff, prisoners and the public is to resource prisons properly.

The last 5 years has seen an increase in the prison population and a reduction in front line operational staff of approximately 28%. This is unsustainable”

Steve Gillan General Secretary of the POA said,
“At present the announcement says very little and promises nothing to address the real problems of violence, drug use, deaths in our prisons and the staffing crisis. We are committed to engage, but seek answers to lots of questions to ensure this is about prison reform and not another political sound bite.”

 

 

End.

 

For further information contact:

POA Press Office                                                                                        020 8803 0255 Option 7