Dear Editor, The 21-hour riot and destruction of three quarters of HMP Ashwell can be traced in large part to the reductions in staffing numbers across the service as officers struggle with our revolving-door penal policy (Birmingham Post, April 13).
Sounding tough on crime but forcing cutbacks is also very bad for inmates.
Official figures show that prisoner-on-prisoner assaults (at 18,659 each day) took place once every half-hour last year
The position is getting worse and between 2002 and 2008 assaults rose by 46 per cent whilst they doubled in youth offender centres.
If Justice Minister Jack Straw wants to preside over reductions, then he might do better to move drug addicts or inmates with mental health problems to more appropriate accommodation.
He could also examine alternatives to short custodial sentences.
Cutting staff is so short-sighted that it might be dubbed ‘criminal’.