Former Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has spoken out in support of a petition calling for assaulting a prison officer to be made a specific criminal offence.
This comes after a report revealed that prisoners assaulted more than 1,000 prison officers over a two-month period last year – more than 16 a day.
Mr Lloyd said, “I’m supporting our hard-pressed prison service staff – will you join me?
“I recently saw an absolutely shocking piece in the media detailing the number of assaults against prison staff over the last few years, and how it has got significantly worse.
“A female warden was being interviewed and she said, with feeling, that every day she went into work she was in fear of being assaulted.
“This is just not good enough.
“I appreciate we have a serious problem of over-crowding in our prisons – I also believe the Government has cut probation services too far in their cost-cutting exercise which, naturally, is having a negative impact on the number of prisoners re-offending.
“But assaulting staff when they are trying their level best to do a difficult job which, frankly, most of us wouldn’t want to do, is simply not right. And the increase in the number of assaults is also a very worrying trend.”
Mr Lloyd shared a message from a former constituent who now works in London, who wished to remain anonymous.
They said, “I am a prison officer and in the last few years violence and serious assaults on staff and prisoners has shot through the roof.
“Seeing people with bloody faces, stab wounds and all sorts of holes in their body has become the norm for me.
“A lot of staff including myself do often fear for our lives while going to work everyday.”
The petition, which currently has more than 4,300 signatures, is available at www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/177899