Prison Officers: Labour Turnover

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 6th February 2017.

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Photo of Karen Lumley Karen Lumley Conservative, Redditch

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps her Department plans to take to (a) improve retention of and (b) reduce staff turnover among prison officers.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

A core part of our prison safety and reform plan is the recruitment of an additional 2,500 prison officers. In 10 of our most challenging prisons we have already started a recruitment programme, and I am pleased to say that we have already made 348 job offers for those 400 jobs, on top of 1,400 new officer appointed in the last 12 months.

To address the relatively higher numbers of new officers who leave in the first year, we are improving the support that applicants and new prison officers receive, so that they have the opportunity to explore and understand the role of the prison officer before applying and supporting them through to the completion of their training and probation. At 30 of our most challenging recruitment sites we will be giving prison governors greater freedoms to hire the staff right for them, with the expertise and skills they need.

In respect of established staff, higher staffing levels are set to improve the supervision of prisoners, operational resilience and staff engagement with prisoners; all of which will improve prison safety and encourage experienced staff to stay. The percentage of experienced staff is higher now than it was in 2010.

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