Prisons: Crimes of Violence

Justice written question – answered on 24th June 2014.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson Conservative, South Staffordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) what steps he is taking to ensure that the perpetrators of assaults against prison staff are appropriately punished;

(2) what action he is taking to ensure that incidents of assault against prison staff are being effectively investigated.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) takes assaults on prison staff very seriously. There are systems in place to deal with perpetrators quickly and robustly, with serious incidents referred to the police for prosecution.

Prisoners engaging in violent behaviour will be subject to an immediate review of their Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) level. There is a strong presumption that such incidents will lead to an immediate downgrade to Basic level unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Assaults on staff in prison are a particularly serious matter given the need for staff to be able to maintain control and order in what can be a volatile environment. NOMS is working closely with the police and CPS to develop a new joint protocol for the management, reporting and prosecution of crime in prisons. Part of this work will involve the development of more effective measures to enable successful prosecution of prisoners who assault NOMS staff.

NOMS is committed to exploring options to continue to improve how violence is managed in prisons to keep both staff and prisoners safe. It is currently reviewing the policy and practice of the management of violence.

Prison Service Instructions set-out the range of options available to Governors to investigate serious assaults. The Governor must ensure that an appropriate level of investigation is commissioned. They must also ensure that any lessons are learned from the incident and disseminated appropriately, those harmed are supported and perpetrators of harm are sanctioned.

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