Huge bill to put up riot jail guards in luxury 4-star hotels

  • 15 warders a week travelling from as far as North East and Midlands to boost staff numbers at a London prison

Prison officers are being put up in luxury four-star hotels – costing taxpayers ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ – after being drafted in from hundreds of miles away to man a jail housing thugs who took part in the summer riots.

About 15 warders a week are travelling from as far away as the North East and the Midlands to boost staffing levels at the £110 million HMP Isis in South London.

Since the riots in August, the jail – which houses male inmates aged 18 to 24 – has been forced to accommodate an extra 160 prisoners, but cannot recruit enough staff to handle the influx.

About 15 warders a week are travelling from as far away as the North East and the Midlands to boost staffing levels at HMP Isis, pictured, in South London

About 15 warders a week are travelling from as far away as the North East and the Midlands to boost staffing levels at HMP Isis, pictured, in South London

During the week the extra staff live in nearby hotels before going  home at weekends.

Accommodation includes the four-star Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath, Kent, where guests can use the hotel’s gym, pool, steam room, spa bath and solarium, and enjoy a £22.50 sirloin steak in the restaurant.

Since the riots in August, the jail has been forced to accommodate an extra 160 prisoners

Since the riots in August, the jail has been forced to accommodate an extra 160 prisoners

The out-of-town warders are paid 40p per mile if they use their car, a daily £26 allowance and £17-an-hour overtime if they work longer than a 39-hour week.

Prison sources say the bill has run into tens of thousands of pounds since the warders on ‘detached duty’ began transfers three months ago.

The officers come from jails in Worcestershire, Durham, Cleveland, Northumberland and West Yorkshire.

The Prison Service said the money to employ them had come mainly from the budget for the salaries of vacant posts at HMP Isis.

But a senior source described the arrangement as ‘economic madness’.

The source said: ‘They are having to pay out a fortune in these difficult times because they cannot pay newly recruited officers enough money to join the service. This is a badly planned panic measure and a waste of taxpayers’ money.’

Newly trained prison officers are paid a basic starting salary of £15,000 a year while experienced colleagues earn an average of £29,000.

The move comes 48 hours after the Ministry of Justice said that the prison population in England and Wales had reached a record 88,179 – close to the maximum capacity of 89,000.

Accommodation includes the four-star Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath, Kent, where guests can use the hotel¿s gym, pool, steam room, spa bath and solarium, and enjoy a £22.50 sirloin steak in the restaurant.

Accommodation includes the four-star Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath, Kent, pictured, where guests can use the hotel's gym, pool, spa bath and solarium

This has raised fears that prisoners will have to be kept in cells for long periods each day as the Ministry tries to slash £2 billion from its £9 billion annual budget.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: ‘HMP Isis opened in April 2010 and is currently recruiting for some posts.

‘Surplus experienced staff from other prisons have been filling some of the new posts on an interim basis, funding for which comes mainly from the salaries of the vacant posts. Travel costs incurred are paid in accordance with Prison Service policy.’

 

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