According to Freedom of Information figures published by the ‘Byline Times’ (motto: what the papers don’t say):
Thousands of prison officers have been referred for mental health-related assessments in the past year-and-a-half – almost one in eight (12%) of the total number in the role…….
….The figures come at a time when violence in prisons continues to escalate. The Government’s latest ‘safety in custody’ statistics, published today, reveal that assaults between prisoners and on staff, suicides and self-harm incidents all continued to increase in 2018, with some at ‘record highs’. Assaults on staff rose by 29% on the previous year.
According to Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, “There now needs to be a study by the Government into the effects on the health and safety of prison staff and decent packages in place where prison officers can seek help.”
There I fear is a man with a poverty of aspiration. There is no earthly need for any government study.
It is blindingly obvious that inadequately staffed prisons do not serve society’s purpose in sending criminals there, which given that almost all inmates will be released into our society at the end of their sentence, has to be rehabilitation, so they can all be happier and do not feel the need to offend again. If prisons are simply warehouses and training academies for a top up supply of more and more skilful criminals then, as servants to society, prisons are pointless.
In fact, as currently run they are positively harmful, both to prisoners and prison officers – as well as society itself.
Happy people will be good.
And we see here the lie of the idea that ‘The tears of the world are a constant quantity, as arch capitalist Pozzo, maintains (as he would) in ‘Waiting for Godot’. By starving services of resources you can quite successfully make absolutely everyone unhappy.
When this deprivation is a conscious government decision the only conclusion to be drawn is that the government holds the people it is supposed to serve in utter contempt.
However misguided, I expect the right in politics to hold this view of prisoners, but not, till now, to show the self same attitude towards prison officers.