Publication Date : Tuesday 21 October 2014 16:06
UK prison whistleblowers ‘threatened with dismissal’
A report says whistleblowers in the UK’s prison service are being threatened with discharge for raising serious concerns about prisoners’ safety.
The report published by The Guardian on Monday said prison officers are facing dismissal after raising concerns about the high level of violence within the centers and their fears over their own as well as the inmates’ safety.
According to the report, officer Kim Lennon working at the Lewes jail in East Sussex faces dismissal after publicly criticizing authorities over the deteriorating safety at the prison and of staff shortages.
Paul Laxton, a former deputy governor at Lewes, said officials are trying to fire Lennon “to make an example of her in order to show others that they have to keep their mouths shut.”
Gavin Williamson, an MP, commented on the report saying, “It’s a totally disgraceful situation and goes against everything that we want to be seeing within the public sector.”
A spokesperson for the Justice Ministry rejected the accusations, saying it is untrue that any officer raising concerns would face disciplinary actions.
This comes amid reports that Britain’s prison system is in crisis amid recent government cuts of prison staff, while the inmate population has risen. The prison population has risen over the past two decades from 41,000 inmates in 1993 to over 85,000 in June this year.