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Verne Prison Officers Redeployed In Staff Shortage

The Verne 1

8:29am 24th December 2014

15 former prison officers at the Verne on Portland at what's now an immigration holding centre are going back to jail.

They're being redeployed in the run up to and over Christmas because of what the Howard League for Penal Reforms calling a 'staffing crisis'.

Some officers will have to work on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Struggling prisons due to receive additional officers under the plans include Elmley, where nine prisoners have died so far this year; High Down, the scene of a major disturbance last year; Feltham; Wormwood Scrubs; Nottingham; and Woodhill, which holds maximum-security prisoners.  

2 Verne officers are going to Elmley(Kent), 2 to Wormwood Scrubs(London), 5 to Swaleside(Kent), 3 to Aylesbury(Bucks), 2 to Bullingdon(Oxfordshire) and 1 to Isis(London).

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "This provides evidence for a system under extreme stress. Taxpayers' money is being squandered on shoring up a failing system.
 
"We know that each week a prison officer works in another prison can cost the taxpayer up to an additional £500, which adds up to hundreds of thousands over the months the emergency use of 'detached duty' has been operating.
 
"Prisons holding children are being asked to release staff and drive them up and down motorways to help out at adult jails facing an emergency over the holidays.
 
"Politicians must accept responsibility for the chaos their policies are inflicting on the prison service, on staff and on the public."

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