Safety fears as ‘Prison privatisation’ leads to loss of 200 jobs
‘Community seeks assurances as prison staff raise key questions on impact of job losses’ – Councillor Scott Dickinson
Coalition plans to privatise the justice system took a further step as the Ministry of Justice announced an agreement which will see HMP Acklington in Northumberland hived off to controversial private sector ‘justice’ specialist Sondexo.
The move will mean the loss of 200 jobs in the tight knit community and local councillors have raised fears that the ‘sell off’ has put ‘profit before public safety’.
Sondexo indicated that they would seek to reduce the workforce by nearly 40% and are now facing calls to release their ‘risk assessment’ for the prison contract as fears rise that prison officers will be put at risk. The number of prison officers supervising the 1300 inmates will fall from 1 officer per 3 inmates to 1 officer per 5 inmates.
Local Northumberland County Councillor Scott Dickinson whose ward includes HMP Acklington said
‘The decision to sell off HMP Acklington by this coalition government is a body blow to a local community which has already faced huge job losses with the closure of Alcan and Northumberland Foods. Now a further 200 jobs will be sacrificed at the altar of Tory ideology and Liberal Democrat complicity. Unions and the community are right to raise concerns about the impact of such swingeing cuts on public safety and I’m calling for Sir Alan Beith to join with the Labour party to ensure that Sondexo publishes its risk assessment on the impact of the job cuts’.