It is unacceptable that within a modern society, serious physical violence in the workplace is deemed as an occupational hazard.

Prison Officers Association

Assaults on prison officers

Assaults on prison officers by prisoners in prison establishments in England & Wales have gone up sharply. 

Prison officers face everyday threats and assaults when carrying out their duties. Prisoners have been increasingly violent not just towards each other but towards the prison staff too. Whilst assaulting a prison officer is covered by the same law (Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018) as police officers or other emergency workers, the law is inadequate as the maximum custodial sentence is up to 12 months. We have to increase the sentences, which need to be applied. Simple caution or fine will not do, as that does not stop the offender to offend again


We must ensure that there are protections and proper punishment in place so that these incidents are not the norm anymore.

Facts & Figures:

  • 31% of all prison assaults are on prison officers. 

  • Last year there was the equivalent of an assault on a prison officer every hour of every day, with almost 3 serious assaults a day.

  • Assaults on prison staff have risen by more than 300% in the last 5 years.

  • Serious assaults on prison staff have risen by 277% in the same period.

  • Assaults on prison staff in female prisons have also gone up by 334% in the last 5 years.

  • These do not result in the withdrawing of automatic release or even always additional prison sentences.

Serious assaults definition: a sexual assault; requires detention in outside hospital as an in-patient; requires medical treatment for concussion or internal injuries; or incurs any of the following injuries: a fracture, scald or burn, stabbing, crushing, extensive or multiple bruising, black eye, broken nose, lost or broken tooth, cuts requiring suturing, bites, temporary or permanent blindness.

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