GAZETTE COMMENT: Safety must come first as prison jobs are axed

HMP Northumberland.
HMP Northumberland.

It is imperative that the safety of staff comes first when jobs are axed at HMP Northumberland.

The news this week that Sodexo Justice Services, the private firm which won the contract to run the facility from December, is axing up to 200 jobs is a bitter blow for the staff and their families.

When it was announced that the prison was to be privatised there was always the fear that jobs would be cut. But to what extent no one knew.

The reaction from staff members has been emotive and suggests that the facility is already running on empty.

All we can hope is that Sodexo puts proper plans in place to make sure that staff are not compromised in their duties.

They need to feel safe, especially in the environment in which they work, and they need firm support from management.

The Prison Officers’s Association has accused Sodexo of putting ‘profit before public safety’ and the news has been met with anger from people around the area.

We sincerely hope that their fears are not realised.