Grahame Morris MP has pledged his support for the Safe Inside Prisons Charter, which promotes safe working practices and mental wellbeing for staff working in prisons.
The Charter was developed by the Joint Unions in Prisons Alliance (JUPA), a coalition of nine national trades unions representing the majority of staff working in prisons.
Chief Inspectors of Prisons, the Prison and Probation Ombudsman, Independent Monitoring Boards and the Justice Committee have all repeatedly expressed concern about a decline in prison safety since 2012.
The annual number of assaults by prisoners, which includes assaults on staff, more than doubled between 2010 and 2019, and was around 33,000 in the year ending September 2019.
The Charter calls for the implementation of a single reporting system, accessible both internally and externally, which would allow workers to report incidents outside of their working hours or workplace.
It also states that all trade union representatives on site will be allocated paid hours to attend health and safety meetings, and that all workers will receive regular updates from the employer on matters relating to health and safety, including the minutes of these meetings.
It calls for quick and honest reporting of health and safety issues and promotes a zero-tolerance approach towards violence or abuse of workers. As well as support offered by employers, specialist support will be available to victims of abuse where needed. The Charter emphasises that all incidents of violence or abuse will be dealt with either by the judicial process or internal procedures, and workers will receive regular feedback on outcomes.
Grahame Morris MP said, “I am delighted to support the Charter. I urge the Government to adopt it, and to work with JUPA in order to ensure the safety and working conditions of prison staff.”
A Westminster Hall Debate on the health and safety of prison staff was held on Wednesday morning. Grahame Morris MP also endorsed an Early Day Motion (#215) tabled on 25th February 2020, calling for the government to adopt the Charter.