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  1. Ronke Phillips: ITV London Correspondent

Watchdog: Morale so low 'there could be riots'

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.

Wormwood Scrubs Prison Credit: Press Association

The watchdog says there has been a 50% rise in use of force and restraint of prisoners at the Victorian prison.

Wormwood Scrubs 'safe regime' amid challenges

Wormwood Scrubs continues to provide an ordered, safe and decent regime, while coping with a number of operational challenges.

I am very conscious of the pressures staff face and we remain absolutely committed to tackling and reducing violence at Wormwood Scrubs and across the prison estate.

Our more efficient national model for running safe and secure prisons is being introduced at Wormwood Scrubs next month.

This will help maximise opportunities for rehabilitation, with more prisoners engaging in full-time work, while staff will be deployed efficiently so a positive regime is routinely and consistently delivered.

– Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service

Surge in number of staff using force to control prisoners

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

Wormwood Scrubs prison 'on a knife-edge'

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.

David Cameron seen during a trip to Wormwood Scrubs in 2012 Credit: Press Association

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."