PRISON OFFICERS are “lions led by donkeys,” they charged yesterday as they declared no confidence in their bosses.
A motion of confidence in management put before prisons union POA annual conference was unanimously rejected.
Industrial relations in Britain’s jails have reached crisis point as a result of overcrowding, a drastic cut in prison officer numbers and a series of reform plans from government.
Bedford delegate Martin Field told the hall that he walked past a board bearing photographs of prison bosses on his way into the prison every morning.
“Every day I want to put a sticker at the bottom of that saying: ‘Would you trust these people to run your business?’
“If the [prison and probation service] board was running a business, and every one of our establishments was an entity within that business, would we not have gone bust years ago?”
Feltham delegate Lak Dosanjh said: “We are lions being led by donkeys.”
The conference also passed a motion condemning the Prison Governors Association for “lack of action and direct support over the current crisis in our prisons.”
POA executive member Dave Todd said the governors’ leaders had failed to channel the frustrations of their members.
He said they had carried out a survey of their members that had found extreme discontent among governors, but had only followed this up with “some strongly worded letters.”