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Extra officers needed for jail expansion

PUBLISHED: 22:00 01 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:50 03 March 2010

MORE than 30 extra uniformed officers are required to cope with a major expansion plan and other commitments at a Suffolk jail.

The overcrowding crisis in Britain's jails has led to Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge, being selected for the erection of two ''quick build'' 40-bed units.

MORE than 30 extra uniformed officers are required to cope with a major expansion plan and other commitments at a Suffolk jail.

The overcrowding crisis in Britain's jails has led to Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge, being selected for the erection of two ''quick build'' 40-bed units.

During the summer 80 new inmates will arrive, increasing the prison's capacity by nearly a fifth and as a result extra staff will be required to look after the inmates.

They will be category D prisoners in the open section of the prison who are nearing the end of their sentences and are being prepared for a release into the community.

The Prison Officers' Association has been holding a meeting with management to discuss the staffing implications from the expansion and other changes taking place at the prison.

Chris Place, POA secretary at Hollesley, said: ''We are concerned about how we are going to staff these new units and we will be discussing that at length. Staff at the moment are working for ex gratia payments to facilitate other bits and pieces. They want these units open in the summer when people will be on annual leave and it will be very, very difficult for them to be manned.

''They are looking to recruit more than 30 uniformed grades to fulfil commitments including the housing of juveniles on remand and the new units.''

There is a staff transfer system within the Prison Service but Mr Place said other prisons could be reluctant to let officers come to Hollesley if they have their own staffing problems.

The influx of prisoners will increase pressure for more community-based work placements to give them the necessary skills to cope with a life outside prison.

Stuart Robinson, one of the prison governors, said the design of both the two-storey buildings was being finalised and they could be built in 10 weeks.

Home Secretary David Blunkett announced in the Budget that an extra £280million was available to ease the overcrowding in prisons and carry on the war against terrorism and street crime.

Up to 2,300 new prison places and new secure accommodation for persistent child offenders would be financed by the additional money.

Ministers hope the building programme will ease the headache of housing a rapidly escalating prison population. It has reached a crisis point of more than 70,200 and is just a few hundred from ''bust point''.

Mr Blunkett said: ''When the courts decide criminals need to be locked away – adults or persistent juvenile offenders – we have appropriate accommodation capacity to provide security, treatment and rehabilitation needed.''


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