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Razor attack on young prison guard should have been treated as attempted murder, POA says

AN ATTACK on a young prison officer that left him needing 17 stitches to his neck should be treated as attempted murder, the Prison Officers’ Association said today.

A 25-year-old prisoner, Michael McKenna, has been charged with grievous bodily harm, attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm and a racially aggravated public order offence.

He was accused of slashing a 23-year-old guard’s throat yesterday with a razor. He was due to appear at Nottingham magistrates’ court today.

The victim, who was new to the job and still in his probationary period, has since been released from hospital and is recovering at home, the POA said.

In a statement, POA national chairman Mark Fairhurst and general secretary Steve Gillan said: “The health and safety of our members and indeed those in our care is paramount.

“Government ministers must now act swiftly before we are talking about a death of a serving prison officer.

“The violence in our jails as identified by this horrendous attack is at epidemic level, and the union will not stand by and allow such attacks on our members.”

Reduced numbers of prison staff have caused a “serious emergency,” Labour’s shadow justice minister warned.

Imran Hussain MP told the Morning Star: “This is a deeply disturbing and violent attack that has left a new member of Nottingham prison’s staff badly — almost fatally — wounded and my thoughts are with him, his family and his colleagues as he recovers.

“This attack is sadly not an isolated incident, and it is clear there is a serious emergency across the whole prison estate after years of ideological cuts to staff and budgets by this Tory government which have created a huge shortage of experienced prison officers and a surge in violence against both staff and prisoners.

“There is no substitute for experienced officers on the balconies in our prisons, and the government must set out an immediate national plan to retain experienced prison officers and treat officers with the respect that they deserve.”

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart has said he will resign by mid-August if violence does not fall inside 10 target prisons, including HMP Nottingham.

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