PRISON: It's no worse than any other

I am a member of staff at HMP Northumberland and felt a need to try to redress the balance a little after the recent negative press.

I have worked at the prison for several years, both when it was in the public sector and now it is private, and thought it was about time the views of the majority of staff were highlighted.

Yes, we would love more staff, who wouldn’t? But if the prison had stayed in the public sector, we would have less staff than we do now so it’s time the Press and ex-members of staff stopped blaming everything on Sodexo.

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Things aren’t perfect. We would all love there to be no violence and no drugs, but it’s a prison. It’s no worse than any other prison in the country, and better than a lot.

The constant negative press and ex-members of staff and politicians calling for Sodexo’s contract to be cancelled is really not helpful and it’s not what most staff want.

A lot of staff, myself included, strongly believe that if these people got their wish and the contract was cancelled, the prison wouldn’t revert to the public sector, but would be closed down and we would lose our jobs. Is that what they want?

My plea to all is please help and support Sodexo and the hard-working staff at HMP Northumberland to improve, rather than trying to put us out of our jobs.

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