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Chief Bakes

BBC: Prison officers in 31 jails set for pay rises of up to £5,000

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Chief Bakes

Prison officers in 31 jails set for pay rises of up to £5,000

  • 19 February 2017
  • From the section UK
Prison officer in jailImage copyright PA

Prison officers at 31 jails in London and south-east England are in line for pay rises of up to £5,000, under a £12m package announced by the government.

The increase means new starters could receive up to £29,500 a year.

Ministers said they wanted to attract the "best talent". Prisons with recruitment issues are being targeted.

Jails have been hit by staff strikes and rising violence in recent months. A union welcomed the rise but said ministers were "papering over cracks".

The Prison Officers Association (POA) added that the government was dealing with "crisis management on a daily basis".

The pay increase applies to "band 3" staff, who make up the majority of front-line officers.

Falling numbers

Prisons in London and the south-east, including Wormwood Scrubs, Pentonville, Belmarsh and Whitemoor, were chosen as they find it harder to recruit.

The Ministry of Justice said "thousands" of employees would benefit. The £12m package is an attempt to boost falling prison officer numbers.

On Thursday, it was revealed that, in 2016, the number of front-line staff in England and Wales fell by 347 (1.9%) to 17,888.

The leaving rate was almost 9% - almost double the level of four years earlier.

'Deathly silence'

Steve Gillan, the general secretary of the POA, said it had been told about the increase on Tuesday, and that "not a lot of thought" had gone into the rise.

"We welcome any new money," he said, "but we're a national service and this only applies to 31 prisons [out of more than 100 in England and Wales].

"It doesn't apply to the operational support grades, so the lowest-paid people in the service are getting nothing.

"We pointed that out and there was a deathly silence."

Mr Gillan also said that pay was not the only concern of his members.

"The violence in prisons is out of control," he said. "The prisoners are in control, not the staff."

In November a government White Paper announced an extra 2,500 prison officers would be in place by the end of 2018.

That was on top of an extra 400 officers, to be in place by March this year.

'Challenging job'

The Ministry of Justice said it was "on track" to meet that target, with 389 job offers made to new recruits.

Justice Secretary Liz Truss said: "Prison officers do a challenging and demanding job day in and day out.

"I want front-line staff to know that their work, experience and loyal service is valued.

"We also want to attract the best new talent into the service, ensuring we recruit and retain the leaders of the future."

The 31 prisons affected are: Aylesbury, Bedford, Bullingdon, Coldingley, Cookham Wood, Downview, Elmley, Feltham, Grendon, High Down, Highpoint, Huntercombe, Medway, Send, Stanford Hill, Swaleside, The Mount, Woodhill, Brixton, Belmarsh, Isis, Pentonville, Rochester, Wandsworth, Wormwood Scrubs, Erlestoke, Lewes, Whitemoor, Chelmsford, Guys Marsh and Littlehey.

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David

Undoubtedly part of it, it's not all about the money is it.  There are any number of reasons our prisons are in crisis: cuts haven't helped for sure.

Never let it be said, that I have said, to criticism, our prisons need to be run more on the lines of a military prison: warm, dry and safe but a strict regime. None of that is any good really without reform such as education (but not degrees funded by the taxpayer) or other practical courses. Essentially though we need to make prisons more disciplined and put prisoners (including Youth Offender Institutes) back into uniform.

 

Quote

Ministers said they wanted to attract the "best talent". Prisons with recruitment issues are being targeted.

Quite. Would you be trying to put back in what you got rid of just  few short years ago?

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Zulu 22

Another headline is asking "How long it will be before a Prison Officer dies" I agree that prison's should be run on military lines with a strict discipline. It would be good to target ex military. Who knows they might even run it on the lines of Colchester military prison.

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bensonby

Colchester has a very well respected regime. Civilian prisons will never be run along those lines though: it's simply too expensive. Colchester is very well staffed and ratios are far better than in HMP.

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Funkywingnut
3 hours ago, Zulu 22 said:

Another headline is asking "How long it will be before a Prison Officer dies" I agree that prison's should be run on military lines with a strict discipline. It would be good to target ex military. Who knows they might even run it on the lines of Colchester military prison.

No such thing as a 'Military Prison' in the UK. It is a correctional training facility. You would be disappointed in the place. 

In reality The Military Correctional Training Facility (MCTC) doesn't house serious criminals long term as those prisoners are put into the HMP system, so MCTC doesn't have the same issues as it's counterparts. BUT I believe (unconfirmed) the HMPI has rated it as the best/most proggressive detention facility in the UK. 

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Funkywingnut
19 minutes ago, bensonby said:

Colchester has a very well respected regime. Civilian prisons will never be run along those lines though: it's simply too expensive. Colchester is very well staffed and ratios are far better than in HMP.

Totally agree, there is the staff and they are paid better than their counterparts. Additionally there are a number of Police and non custody staff working there full time, this rotation of personnel prevents the place falling into complacency.  

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Zulu 22
17 hours ago, bensonby said:

Colchester has a very well respected regime. Civilian prisons will never be run along those lines though: it's simply too expensive. Colchester is very well staffed and ratios are far better than in HMP.

I have never been there but, from what I am told. If you have been there once you do not want to go back. Unlike prisons the inmates/occupants do as they are told, when they are told.

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Indiana Jones

The 'inmates' at Colchester are (generally) in there for offences that wouldn't even get a custodial sentence in the civi world. It deals very well with low level offending. 

As Funky says, the more serious stuff is outside of that system,  and it's unfortunately that stuff which is the issue at most HMPs.

Colchester is very much aimed at getting poor performers back on track - recognising the effort and money that's been spent on them already. 

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Zulu 22

Colchester gets people back on track by punishing them and a very strict routine. People who have been never ever want to go back.  Our civilian prisons hold no fear whatsoever for 95% of the inmates. How come Murderers and other serious offenders are in Cat C prisons?

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Remmy
1 hour ago, Zulu 22 said:

Colchester gets people back on track by punishing them and a very strict routine. People who have been never ever want to go back.  Our civilian prisons hold no fear whatsoever for 95% of the inmates. How come Murderers and other serious offenders are in Cat C prisons?

A little simplistic to be be quite honest. You need to compare the demographic make up for Colchester to an equivalent sized civilian prison. Then as others have pointed out compare funding, facilities and staffing levels. Then perhaps compare re offending rates once they are discharged from the military. Most never go back as they will no longer be in the military but that should not be taken as a success until you can confirm these people have a significant lower reoffending rate compared to those who have of a similar social background who have been detained in a home office prison.

 

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David

For those trying to disassociate a military prison to civilian jails, including costs, I would say this. If we had the political will, then we would be able to do anything.

But until we do, then what's the point of even debating such things? We either take control of jails or we don't; until such time we might all just as well sit here with our hand raised in horror crying 'something needs to be done'.

The answer is there.

Political will.

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Remmy
15 minutes ago, David said:

The answer is there.

Political will.

I won't hold my breath ;) besides political will be expensive.

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David

So, we just give up then.

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Remmy

With the present government yes unfortunately, I just can't see any meaningful improvements just more tweaks to a broken system.

And I still won't hold my breath if the government changes at the next election. Politicians seem to be more concerned with vote winning short term gains as opposed to a substantial review and investment which may take years to show improvements.

I truly hope I'm wrong for all those men and women currently working in the prison service, like the police continuing to do thier best despite recent cuts and lack of support.

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Funkywingnut
21 hours ago, David said:

For those trying to disassociate a military prison to civilian jails, including costs, I would say this. If we had the political will, then we would be able to do anything.

But until we do, then what's the point of even debating such things? We either take control of jails or we don't; until such time we might all just as well sit here with our hand raised in horror crying 'something needs to be done'.

The answer is there.

Political will.

You are trying to associate relatively disciplined members of a military organisation with undisciplined civilians. The 2 are not the same, even a military offender still maintains elements of discipline far in excess of that of a civillian. 

The issue is discipline, society needs more of tat at a young age to reaffirm the right and wrong way to behave. This is something instilled in military personnel daily, that and responsibility.  

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