Staff at Lewes Prison join national protest over safety

Staff gathered outside Lewes Prison
Staff gathered outside Lewes Prison

Lewes Prison staff were staging a ‘walk out’ this morning (Friday, September 14) as part of a national protest.

The action was taken following a damning report warned of a “dangerous lack of control” at HMP Bedford.

Members of the POA, the trade union for prison staff, were asked to demonstrate outside prisons in England and Wales from 7am “until instructed otherwise”.

Lewes staff said they were supporting their colleagues up and down the country.

POA General Secretary Steve Gillan told the Press Association: “We are coming out in protest to bring attention, under health and safety legislation, to the Government, to the general public, about conditions in our prisons for both prisoners and my members, of the rise in violence, the rise in drugs, the self-harm and everything that goes with it.”

A report by Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke raised the alarm over the potential for a “complete breakdown” in order and discipline at the Bedfordshire prison.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said it was “irresponsible” of the POA to encourage its members to take “this illegal action”.