Wednesday 2 June 2021 / 11:58 AM David Lammy / Prisons

Prison safety at risk as 85 per cent of prison staff report ‘burn out’

A confidential survey has revealed the shocking state of mental health among prison officers and other staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than four out of 10 staff in UK prisons and secure hospitals reported suffering moderate or severe anxiety symptoms, while more than eight in 10 felt their mental and physical health had worsened during the pandemic.

It comes just months after the Prison Officers Association accused the Government of ‘betraying’ prison staff as it rejected the recent Pay Review Body recommendations to give Band 3 prison officers a pay rise.

The report found:

  • 43 per cent of respondents suffered moderate or severe anxiety symptoms.
  • 81 per cent felt their mental and physical health had got worse over the pandemic.
  • 85 per cent of respondents reported feeling burnt out on several days, more than half the days or on every single day.
  • 35 per cent thought the effectiveness of Covid-19 workplace safety measures were poor or very poor.
  • 80 per cent of the sample reported receiving no emotional support to relieve the pressures of the job.

David Lammy MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, responding to the findings, said:

“Conservative mismanagement has left our prisons overcrowded and understaffed, making them hotbeds for reoffending.

“The Government’s insulting treatment of prison workers is now impacting their mental health. This is putting public safety further at risk.

“It is time for ministers to treat prison staff and other key workers in the justice system with the respect they deserve.”