Clive Johnson on Labour’s Prison Service Policy

Labour Promises Support for Prison Officers At Breaking Point

Clive Johnson, Labour Candidate for Sittingbourne and Sheppey today expressed his support for the Prison Service and for Prison Officers

Clive said today, ‘I know from my conversations with prison officers how hard their lives have been made by years of Conservative austerity.  7,000 officers have been lost to the service since 2010 and the rate of staff leaving the service is unacceptably high.  The role they perform is vital to society, making a difference to the lives of prisoners and helping to protect us all, but government action over the last nine years has made their lives much more difficult.  Government action to buy out experienced and expensive staff has resulted in a hardworking but inexperienced workforce.  Staffing levels are unacceptably low and the violence that prison officers face in prisons is intolerable.  With 27 assaults on staff per day, our prisons are the most dangerous workplace in Western Europe.  In November, it was revealed that 125 improvised knives had been discovered at Swaleside Prison.  This Conservative record on the prison service is shameful.  Labour has promised to restore prison officer numbers to 2010 levels, end dangerous lone-working, tackle the maintenance backlog and review Conservative plans for the prison officers’ retirement age to be raised to 68, an absurd high age, given the physical and other challenges of the job.  Also, a Labour government will restore public services, in particular, the public and mental health and substance misuse support, which have been cut by the Conservative government.  The loss of those services has fuelled so many social problems, including the rise in the prison population.  It is time to end the assumption that we can dump all our social problems on prison officers and simply expect them to cope.  I’m proud that Labour will show the support prison officers desperately need and I will fight hard as MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey for them and for the vital service they provide.’

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