More staff employed at Full Sutton Prison

Figures show that there were the equivalent of 611 full-time members of staff at Full Sutton Prison in December.
Figures show that there were the equivalent of 611 full-time members of staff at Full Sutton Prison in December.

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

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 611 full-time members of staff at Full Sutton Prison in December.

It was 51 more than the previous year, an increase of 9% – but still nine fewer than in 2013.

Figures released earlier this year show that levels of violence have been rising in the prison.

In the first nine months of last year, 42 assaults were recorded, 35% more than during the same period in 2013.

In addition, 371 incidents of self-harm were recorded during the same period, and four people 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. The overall size of the workforce in the prison service increased by 12%, from 35,700 staff in December 2017 to 39,900 a year later.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League, said: “Ministers have rightly identified that we must ease pressure on the prison system, and the rising levels of violence and self-injury behind bars show why change is so urgently needed.

“A larger, and refreshed, workforce ought to have a positive impact in the long run but, ultimately, reducing the number of prisoners is the key to protecting staff, saving lives and making the public safer.

“Legislation to abolish short prison sentences would be an important first step.”

A further 11 future staff members were due to begin Prison Officer Entry Level Training for Full Sutton Prison between January and April.

Of the staff in the prison at the end of 2018, 70% were operational prison officers – a total of 426, an increase of 33 compared to a year earlier.

Altogether, 525 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.”