The availability of ‘legal highs’ has been linked to rising levels of violence in prisons
Two prison officers have been seriously injured at Wormwood Scrubs Prison in Hammersmith, days after a staff walk-out over safety fears.
The two Wormwood Scrubs staff members were assaulted by prisoners on Monday 8 May and taken to hospital for treatment. HMP Wormwood Scrubs said that the inmate responsible for the attacks will face a police investigation.
The incident follows a staff protest outside the prison on Friday 06 May over concerns about the use of legal highs by inmates and assaults on staff members at work.
Mike Rolfe of the Prison Officers Association (POA) said that the prison is “flooded with drugs, mobile phones and weapons”. In 2015, former chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick described the new legal highs as the biggest threat to health and safety in prison.
According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) prison officer assaults rose by 30 per cent last year.
Gerard Stilliard, head of personal injury strategy at Thompsons Solicitors said: “Last week’s staff protest at Wormwood Scrubs, which was followed so closely by a serious assault on prison staff this week, show how big a problem there is with the safety of staff and inmates at the prison.
“Prison staff should feel safe in the environment they work in, yet rising levels of assaults on staff present anything but and raise fundamental questions about health and safety standards in prisons.
“We work closely with the POA to support members who are injured at work, but without urgent action from central government, violent attacks such as the incidents at Wormwood Scrubs this week will continue to occur in prisons UK-wide.”
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