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Prison Staff Vacancies: England and Wales

Volume 737: debated on Tuesday 12 September 2023

We have recently seen indications of an improving national staffing picture in prisons, with an increase of 700 full-time equivalent bands 3 to 5 prison officers and youth justice workers in the year to June 2023.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer, but the damning report into HMP Woodhill, just adjacent to my constituency, was clear that staff shortages were a huge factor in the serious issues that prison faces. It is equally well known that HMP Spring Hill and HMP Grendon in my constituency have faced recruitment challenges. In that light, if we cannot staff the prisons that we do have, surely it is unworkable to carry on with my right hon. Friend’s totally unwanted plans to build a new mega-prison in my constituency and that planning appeal should be withdrawn.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who takes a close interest in these matters, and rightly so, particularly on behalf of his constituents who are prison officers and other staff in and around his constituency. I can assure him we are working urgently to address the findings and the urgent notification at Woodhill. I think we will come on to that a little later in questions from hon. Friends. The Lord Chancellor will, as ever, be publishing an action plan by the end of the month. We also have active recruitment campaigns in place for Grendon and Spring Hill and are seeking to increase numbers by incentivised recruitment.