Letter: Making life safer in prison

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The Independent Online
Sir: Ian Burrell's piece "Danger on the inside" and your editorial comment ( 26 June) deserve a reply.

I circulated material about incidents in prisons recorded between January and May 1997 to Prison Service officials and the national executive of the Prison Officers' Association in readiness for a Whitley Council meeting. These meetings occur twice a year. We share information on the incidents reported from prisons. This was not a secret or unplanned meeting.

The more important information that Ian Burrell might have drawn out is that escapes from prison, escapes from escort, assaults in prison and the total number of incidents were all lower than at the corresponding time last year. Given the substantial population increase and the pressures under which the Prison Service has been working, Ian Burrell might perhaps have wanted to celebrate some success.


Director of Security and Programmes

HM Prison Service

London SW1