Justice Committee

Press notice No. 22 of Session 2008-09

24 March 2009/ For Immediate Release


Committee seeks views on prison officers' role as demands of job change

The Justice Committee is today, 24 March 2009, launching a web forum to seek the views of prison officers, and those they work with, on the challenges facing prison officers working in today's Prison Service.

An aging prison population, high levels of drug and alcohol abuse and the psychiatric and other problems of many prisoners are all placing unprecedented demands on prison officers, in addition to the workload of an increasing prison population and the serious problem of overcrowding.

This forum will run unti l 5 May 2009 and the Committee are hoping prison officers and those who work, and have contact, with them will take this opportunity to share their experiences with the Committee. The Committee are seeking views on questions such as what role prison officers have in the rehabilitation of prisoners, how well the training and development currently provided meets the needs of prison officers and what impact the proposed "titan prisons" and workplace modernisation initiative will have on prison officers' ability to do their jobs.

Personal registration details will not be made public. The posts received on the site, along with written and oral evidence gathered during the inquiry, will help shape the recommendations the Committee makes in its eventual report to the Ministry of Justice.

Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, Chairman of the Committee said: "debates about prison overcrowding and the role of prison sentences in crime reduction rarely take account of the increased demands placed on the people who have to balance 'control' and 'care' in looking after prisoners from day to day. A prison officer is not just a turnkey but an enforcer, reformer and, at all times, a potential role model. We want to develop a better understanding of the real demands of the job and we want to hear from prison officers, and others, about their most effective contribution to reducing re-offending and reforming persistent criminals."

1. The web forum opens at http://forums.parliament.uk/ on 24 March 2009 and will run until May 5. An introductory page - and the protocol for usage - can be viewed now at


2. People using the web forum are advised to be careful not to reveal private information about themselves or other people when posting.

3. The Justice Committee cannot examine the merits and facts of individual cases.

4. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP (Chairman), Mr David Heath MP, Daniel Kawczynski MP, Siân James MP, Jessica Morden MP, Julie Morgan MP, Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, Robert Neill MP, Dr Nick Palmer MP, Linda Riordan MP, Virendra Sharma MP, Mr Andrew Turner, Mr Andrew Tyrie MP and Dr Alan Whitehead MP

Further Information:
Media Enquiries: Jessica Bridges Palmer (020 7219 0724) email: bridgespalmerj@parliament.uk; Clare Mills (07795 662742);

Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 8196/ 8198, email: justicecom@parliament.uk

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/justicecom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Select Committee Calendar: www.parliament.uk/what_s_on/hoc_news3.cfm

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