Lichfield young offenders institution officer stabbing sparks review

Written by on September 3, 2019

The stabbing of a prison officer at a young offenders institution has led to security being stepped up.

The staff member at HMP/YOI Swinfen Hall near Lichfield was attacked on Friday, but it is understood their injuries were not serious.

More searches are being carried out and police are investigating the stabbing.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said “the strongest possible punishment” was going to be sought for those convicted of the attack.

The stabbing came as a report published earlier by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIC) revealed the institution had “made progress” on safety but still needed to make improvements, after concerns were identified in a 2018 inspection.

The site houses 570 young male long-term inmates and was inspected across three days, in July.

Carrying out an interim independent review at the jail, the chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke said the varying levels of progress in different areas painted “a mixed picture” and “masks the important work to improve safety and purposeful activity that had taken place”.

Responding to the stabbing, a Prison Service spokeswoman said: “A prison officer received hospital treatment after an incident at HMP Swinfen Hall and was discharged the same day.

“The police are investigating and we will push for the strongest possible punishment.

“This government has doubled the maximum sentence for those who assault prison officers and last month committed an extra £100 million on airport-style security to crack down on crime in prisons.”

As well as equipping prison officers with body-worn cameras, Pava spray and police-type restraints, tougher sentences for those assaulting staff have been brought in.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers Act doubled the maximum jail term for assaults on prison officers from six to 12 months.

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