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'National scandal' in Britain's jails as assaults on staff and prisoners hit record highs

THE TORIES have created a “national scandal” in British prisons, Labour said yesterday after new figures showed jails are more dangerous than ever before.

Ministry of Justice statistics for England and Wales showed a whopping 28,165 recorded assaults on staff, prisoners or both in the year to September 2017 — up 12 per cent from a year ago.

And 3,726 of these were serious assaults, marking a rise of 10 per cent.

Labour shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “The chaos the Tories have created in our prisons is a national scandal.”

The statistics also reveal that, for every 1,000 prisoners, there were 91 incidents of assault against a member of staff. The 7,828 assaults on staff, up 22 per cent on the previous year, also represent a record high.

In the same period there were 20,346 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults, a rate of 238 per 1,000 inmates.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons condemned the “squalid” state of HMP Liverpool last week, describing conditions at the jail as the worst inspectors could remember.

The inspectorate also used a new “urgent notification” system for the first time to demand the government take action at HMP Nottingham, while HMP Peterborough became the first women’s prison in years to be reprimanded over safety.

New Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said there was a need to “get back to basics.”

But prison officers’ union POA general secretary Steve Gillan told the Star the figures “don’t come as a surprise.”

He said there was “no leadership and no direction from the top” of the prison service and the government.

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