Maidstone Prison staff stop work over injured officer

Maidstone prison
Image caption Maidstone Prison houses about 600 inmates in Category C accommodation

More than 30 members of staff at a Kent prison are back at work after a stoppage over a heath and safety dispute.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) said 35 of its members at Maidstone Prison were backing a female colleague who was "badly assaulted" by an inmate.

It said the officers occupied the prison's visitors' hall after "withdrawing their labour".

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the staff returned to work at 12:10 GMT.

The POA said the dispute concerned a female officer who had needed surgery and was now on half pay following her injury.

The MoJ said the salary issue was caused by a computer error which had now been rectified.

Unlikely to escape

Emergency teams had to be called in to deal with a disturbance at Maidstone Prison in November 2013, which involved about 40 inmates.

It was brought to an end within three hours without injuries to staff or prisoners, according to the MoJ.

Maidstone is a Category C men's jail which until last summer summer held a mix of foreign nationals and sex offenders, but now holds only foreign nationals.

Category C prisons are for inmates who cannot be trusted in open conditions but who are unlikely to try to escape.

The MoJ said the woman officer was not injured in the disturbance last November.

It said in a statement: "A number of prison officers at Maidstone held a meeting inside the prison regarding a fellow officer's pay.

"This issue was rectified as soon as possible and the prison officers returned to work at 12.10pm."

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