Sir Simon Burns MP gets commitment from the Lord Chancellor that she will visit HMP Chelmsford with him
Commenting on his question to the Lord Chancellor in the House of Commons, Sir Simon said:
‘I am extremely pleased that the Lord Chancellor not only recognises the need for more staff at HMP Chelmsford, but also has given a commitment that she will visit the Prison with me to get a first-hand understanding of the problems facing the Prison, so as to identify the actions that need to be taken to remedy the short fall in staffing levels and the problems with health care provision and education.
In addition, I will be having a meeting with the Prisons Minister next Tuesday to discuss the matter further.
Does my right hon. Friend accept that the greatest support that we can give to prison officers is to make sure that they have the correct levels of staffing in their prisons? Is she aware that there have been significant problems, highlighted by recent reports, in Chelmsford prison, which have been attributed to the understaffing of the prison? May I ask her what is being done to get the levels of staff to the correct ones, and would she agree to the prisons Minister having a meeting with me to discuss that?
My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. We need to recruit staff at Chelmsford, in addition to other prisons. I know that my hon. Friend the prisons Minister will meet my right hon. Friend soon. I am keen to visit Chelmsford myself to meet my right hon. Friend and see the situation on the front line.