Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Prison Staff Concerns 'Vindicated' by Report

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Prison Staff Concerns 'Vindicated' by Report

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Metcalfe Reporter

LABOUR'S Ian Lavery has renewed calls to review the running of HMP Northumberland, following the publication of a damning report.

Earlier this month the MP for Wansbeck, called for private firm Sodexo's contract to run the jail to be reviewed after a catalogue of concerns were raised by prison staff.

And on Tuesday Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons published a report into the prison and said 'few improvements' have been made since 2012.

Following the report's publication, Mr Lavery said staff fears had been 'vindicated',' and called for action to address concerns.

He said: "I am going to write to the secretary of state to ask for a full investigation into the goingson.

"I don't need the report to get this information - I am getting told by the people who work there and prisoners.

"The prisoners are frightened and the officers are concerned about safety - what more can happen? "If there is not some sort of immediate action there will be a tragedy."

Almost a third of inmates said illegal drugs were either easy, or very easy, to get hold of and that illegal alcohol was being brewed in the jail.

The Prison Officers' Association, the trade union for prison staff, said members working at the jail felt disappointed at the findings but were unsurprised.

New director Tony Simpson, who took up the post last week, is believed to see the recommendations as a checklist to ensure the prison is on the road to improvement. …

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