In his annual report, chief prisons inspector, Nick Hardwick is expected to reveal a rise in attacks on prison staff during the past year.

The report is also expected to reveal that there has been a substantial increase in prison violence in England and Wales.

According to data from the National Offenders Management Service there were more than 15,000 assaults in men’s prisons in England and Wales last year – the highest annual figure in the last decade.

The report from Mr Hardwick has been described as ‘his most damning yet’ by the BBC’s Sima Kotecha.

Richard Cartwright, a senior solicitor based in Thompsons’ Stoke-on-Trent office said: “At Thompsons we work closely with the Prison Officers Association (POA) supporting prison workers who have been injured.

“In the last twelve months we have helped two prison officers who have been violently attacked at work. The effects are both physical and psychological, and can often lead to experienced officers being forced to prematurely end their careers.

“The report confirms everything that we have been seeing and, with the POA, saying - prison officers are increasingly vulnerable at work. If the government fails to accept these independent findings and act on them prison officers will continue to suffer serious injury at work which could have been avoided.”

Steve Gillan, the general secretary of the POA, said: “Cuts have consequences and the consequences of those cuts are affecting prisons and staff across the service. There has been a massive rise in all types of incidents which can quite clearly be linked to the savage cuts set against a record prison population of more than 86,000 offenders that the service has had to endure.”