20,000 signatures reached
To: The Government
Reducing Prison Officer Retirement Age
I want the Government to readdress the issue of the pension age of Prison Officers from 68 to 60.
Why is this important?
Prison Officers are the forgotten public servants. Media attention for this service only happens in a negative way when we are forced to strike, highlighting increasing pressure placed upon us to deliver a safe environment for those in our care. If the reality of daily occurrences that happen across the prisons in our country ever got out, the public would be horrified at the extent of how cuts across the service have impacted on the safety of those within prisons.
Staff deal with violent and unpredictable prisoners every day, these prisoners are deemed too unsafe to be with the public. We protect the public by ensuring these people are secured and kept in a safe, humane environment. Whilst attempting to deliver programmes and courses to reduce re-offending so hopefully upon release, they can integrate back into society and lead law abiding lives and are no longer a risk to the public.
As an Officer, I have been physically dragged into a cell and attacked, I've had both my knees dislocated in one incident. I have been spat on and threatened on many occasions. However, some Officers I know have experienced far more harrowing incidents I recall: Female Officers having faeces and urine thrown on them. Scolding hot water thrown at Officers for no reason, Officers have been held hostage, one Officer was sexually assaulted, another punched so hard in the face he has had to have extensive surgery on his face and will never return to the job. These are only a few incidents of Officers that I personally know, let alone Officers around the country in other establishments.
Every day we deal with prisoners self harming, sometimes so severely that the person self harming has lost use of their limb(s) . We deal with people attempting to (and sometimes succeeding) in taking their own lives, on a regular basis, sadly this is a common occurrence and is part and parcel of ring a Prison Officer. The mental scars left on us when this happens are dismissed and the expectation is for us to carry on as normal. We talk to prisoners on a daily basis in a bid to stop them from self-harming and stop them from potentially taking their own life. You probably think 'these are rare occasions' but they are not, these are daily occurrences. The stress and mental health issues Prison Officers face on a daily basis is four times the national average. A number of Officers have been medically discharged with mental health issues that arise from dealing with incidents like these.
I am not looking for sympathy or saying all of this for any other reason other than to raise awareness of what a Prison Officer deals with on a daily basis. Prison Officers do this job because they are committed to trying to change the mindset of challenging individuals and make a difference that will benefit everybody. Times are changing, prisons have become a more violent environment to work and live in, statistics demonstrate that this is continued to rise. Officers are assaulted DAILY and the Government expectation is for Officers to work in this environment until they are 68 YEARS OLD. Whilst this job is manageable from 18-55/60 MAX, this is not the environment for a 68-year-old to be working in. Can you imagine your 60-68 year old Mother/Father, even your Gran/Grandad attempting to stop a 15 stone, 18-year-old steroid user or a violent individual from attacking another person within the prison setting?
The new Prison officers salary for doing the job is now starting at £20,000pa and eventually rising to a maximum of £26,000pa (over a 6 year period) which may sound like a good figure on paper but would you do this job for that money? The pensions have been torn apart and we don't have great pensions either. We have Officers that have been doing this job for 20+ years and planned their whole retirements on a pension that can no longer support them or their families.
It is a reported fact, that the job of a Prison Officer is one of the most stressful jobs in the country. There are several articles on this but here are just a couple:
It is a fact that most Prison Officers don't make their retirement age and if they do they don't make it much past the retirement age of 60 let alone 68.
The Fire Service, the Police and all the armed forces retire at 60 and rightfully so. I am asking people to sign the petition for Prison Officers to be able to retire at 60 along with the other services that deal with dangerous and violent individuals.
Thank you for your time.