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Prisons Minister accused of living in ‘dream world’ after claiming prison violence is decreasing

PRISONS Minister Rory Stewart has angered staff by claiming that the level of violence in Britain’s jails is “looking reasonably positive.”

Mr Stewart has promised to resign in August if violence in 10 prisons across England and Wales has not fallen by then.

He stood by his pledge in Parliament today but claimed that, in the “majority of these prisons, it looks as though violence is coming down, so you may be in the unfortunate position of still having me at this despatch box in a few months’ time.”

Prison Officers Association general secretary Steve Gillan told the Morning Star that Mr Stewart was living in a “dream world” and “cherry-picking statistics that suit him.”

Mr Gillan said the 10 prisons had been “handpicked” and were “not necessarily the worst in the country.”

He said staff have suffered “horrendous assaults all round the country in recent weeks, including smashed eye sockets.”

Mr Gillan warned that the violence was due to “Tory austerity measures” and would continue “until we get pre-2012 staffing levels.”

Last week, a young guard at HMP Nottingham – one of the 10 prisons that Mr Stewart has vowed to improve – had his throat slashed by a prisoner and required 17 stitches.

The minister told the Commons: “I'm sure the whole house will join with me in expressing our deep horror at the recent attack against a prison officer in Nottingham prison. 

“It is completely horrifying to see this happen. It must not happen again.”

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