'I'd make more in Tesco or Lidl': Prison officer claims there's 'no incentive' to remain in 'dangerous' job

5 April 2023, 18:03

Prison officer tells Chief Prison Inspector there's ‘no incentive’ to work in a prison anymore

By Grace Parsons

A prison officer has told the Chief Inspector of Prisons that there is "no incentive" to remain in the job and "retention and staff assaults" are on the rise.

After the Chief Inspector of Prisons found that Lewes Prison inmates are facing "squalid conditions and violence", a caller Joe in Hendon, who has been a prison officer for six years, told Charlie Taylor that "retention and staff assaults", in general, are at an all time high.

The Chief Inspector Charlie Taylor joined Tom Swarbrick for a live phone-in, in which Joe told Mr Taylor that "there is no incentive for anyone to do the job anymore".

Joe revealed: "The fact the prisoners have got a lack of activity and they're banged up behind their doors pretty much 24 hours a day, the moment the doors open that frustration and aggression just lashes out.

"It's too dangerous to do the job. I could make more in Tesco or Lidl, stacking shelves and doing a bit of over time, than I do as an officer."

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The Chief Inspector of Prisons responded: "When the prisons are fully staffed, being a prison officer is an incredibly fulfilling job... a prison called Stocken, in the East Midlands, their staffing situation isn't great, they're getting prisoners out of their cells. We got a real sense that staff morale, at that prison at least, was going in the right direction."

"Anything that can be done to increase the number of good quality prison officers, we would, of course, be very supportive of. But what we want to see is well run wings by experienced, well-trained officers who really know what they're doing, and enjoy the job, and are able to have the interactions with prisoners that help them on their journey out of custody," Mr Taylor said.

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