Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, has demanded answers from the government over G4S’s disastrous mismanagement of Birmingham Prison

Emma demanded to know how the management of the prison had been allowed to deteriorate so rapidly and questioned the government over the low retention rate of prison staff.

The numbers of prison officers leaving the service have doubled in the last two years and a third of the prison officers who quit the service did so within a year of starting. An analysis of figures by the Labour party shows 33 per cent of outgoing officers in the past 12 months – a total of 694 – had been in the service for less than a year, a figure which stood at just 7 per cent in 2010. This equates to 12 per cent of new hires. This comes after jails have lost officers with 70,000 years of experience between them in the past decade.

Whistle-blowers amongst staff at Birmingham Prison have spoken about the detrimental impact of such a high turnover of staff and the low morale of prison officers.

Emma said: “The scandalous mismanagement of Birmingham Prison has shone a light on the effect of years of cuts to the prison service. Prisons like Birmingham are under unsustainable pressure after years of wage freezes and staff reductions. In such a situation it is no wonder that prison officers are leaving the service in droves. That is the fault of this Tory government and their decision to make severe cuts to the prison budget.

“This week in Parliament, I demanded answers from the government and called on it to acknowledge that low retention rates amongst staff was a major cause of the problems exposed at Birmingham Prison. I am pleased that the minister did accept this but the government must take steps to urgently remedy this situation to avoid a repeat in another prison and to get Birmingham Prison back under control.”