Two London prisons are facing staffing shortages this Christmas.
Extra officers are having to be sent to HMP Feltham and HMP Wormwood Scrubs over the festive period to make up the shortfall.
In total more than 230 prison officers are being deployed to seven prisons across the country in what campaigners have called a 'major crisis' for the service.
The chief executive of the charity behind the new Brixton Prison restaurant says it will give inmates the skills to help them get back into society.
A three-course meal with coffee will cost around £21 a head.
A restaurant staffed by inmates at Brixton Prison has opened to the public today.
The Clink - run by The Clink Charity, which also has restaurants at HMP High Down in Surrey and HMP Cardiff - aims to train prisoners nearing the end of their sentences.
The serving of alcohol is forbidden on the premises.
A security application form needs to be filled in by diners in advance due to the restaurant being located in the heart of the prison.
Prisoners are not allowed to dine.
In 2012, more than 15,000 people visited The Clink Cymru and The Clink HMP High Down.
The Chair of the prison watchdog says morale among staff and prisoners is so low due to cuts that she fears there could be riots. The watchdog says Wormwood Scrubs prison is on a "knife edge" with inmates being locked up for up to 23-and-a-half hours a day.
The watchdog says there has been a 50% rise in use of force and restraint of prisoners at the Victorian prison.
The report from the Independent Monitoring Board continues:
- Prisoners spend too long in their cells and their frustration regularly spills into aggressive behaviour
- There has been a 48% increase in staff using force or restraining measures to control prisoners
- It comes ahead of cuts by Justice Secretary take effect when the budget will be cut by a further 21%
Source, IMB Wormwood Scrubs
A report claims that Wormwood Scrubs prison is 'on a knife-edge', with staff revealing they have "never felt so fearful". Details have been released in the prison's annual report.
One extract of the report by the Independent Monitoring Board says: "Cuts in staff not only negatively affect the Ministry of Justice's key incentive to rehabilitate prisoners. The absence of one or two prison officers due to illness or holidays can have a huge impact on the prison regime."
Plans to reorganise the prisons system are 'meaningless', the shadow justice secretary said today, after it was unveiled that a network of resettlement jails would introduces as part of a shake-up of the system.
Sadiq Khan MP said:
Too many people are being sent to prison when they could be better dealt with in the community, the former Governor of Brixton Prison said today, after the Justice Secretary unveiled a shake-up of the prison estate.
Paul McDowell said: "Putting communities at the heart of the criminal justice system through the development of resettlement prisons is a step in the right direction.
"We need to make sure that preparing offenders for their release begins at the earliest point of entry into custody. It is critically important to ensure that offenders are given appropriate support by someone in their own community.
"This is the best place for them re-build relationships with families, deal drug or alcohol problems and get the help they need with mental health issues".
A network of 70 resettlement jails that will prepare offenders to be released into the area in which they live has been unveiled by the Justice Secretary.
Here are the prisons in London affected:
- Wormwood Scrubs