left officers vulnerable.
And yesterday, probation officers warned of further trouble as the prison system copes with overcrowding. Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said: "It is positive that the Prison Service is taking violence seriously. However, political policies of more imprisonment, harsher conditions and constraints on home leave and privileges seem certain to exacerbate tensions and cut across efforts to contain violent incidents."
Examining reports in three prisons, the study found that most attacks involved punching, hitting and headbutting - but nearly 10 per cent involved an object or weapon. Three per cent were sexual assaults. Inmates in young offender institutions were assaulted twice as much as those in adult jails, whereas in adult prisons staff were the main victims.
However, the study said that despite the worrying increase in levels of violence, there were no central records - making monitoring and taking steps to prevent violence more difficult.
Few jails had adopted anti- violence and anti-bullying strategies, which had achieved a calming effect. The report recommended that assaults be properly logged according to severity and that the Prison Service should develop anti- violence programmes as a matter of priority.
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