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I recently spoke in a debate on the safety of prison staff, a matter of extreme importance for what is an often-forgotten vital public service.

Prison staff must work in what can be an often very violent environment and face constant dangers every day, dealing with some of society’s most violent offenders. The workplace can often take its toll on the mental health of prison staff, who must deal with a high security, high risk environment, and can often witness violence and self-harm from the prisoners they deal with. We must ensure they are properly supported, properly staffed and the prisons are in good repair to allow them to carry out their jobs properly.

I used this opportunity to again call on the UK Government to lower the retirement age of prison officers to 60, to bring it into line with other uniformed officers such as police officers and firefighters. It is extremely dangerous to ask people to work into their late sixties where they must manage violent offenders, many of whom are in their physical peak. It is neither safe nor fair to ask them to work so late in their lives, and the Government has yet to provide an adequate justification for this policy.

Prison officers provide a vital service which keeps our communities safe, and it is time the UK Government recognised this service and protected these vital workers health by lowering their retirement age.

You can watch my speech below:

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