Page last updated at 19:03 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Prison sees 20 officers dismissed

Whitemoor prison
Whitemoor Prison at March houses 500 high security prisoners

Top security Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire saw the sacking of 20 prison officers last year, justice minister Shahid Malik has revealed.

In a Commons written reply to Tory Cambridgeshire North East MP Malcolm Moss, Mr Malik said 13 had been dismissed for "medical inefficiency".

Mr Malik said that seven had been sacked for misconduct.

So far this year, three prison officers have also been dismissed for "medical inefficiency", he added.

Mr Malik told Mr Moss that records of dismissal from Whitemoor were only available for the last two years.

He said: "In 2007, the number of prison officer staff dismissed was 20. Of that number 13 were dismissed for medical inefficiency with seven dismissed for misconduct.

"For 2008, as at 18 November, three prison officer staff have been dismissed all for medical inefficiency."

No confidence vote

In a separate answer, Mr Malik said the number of prison officer staff that contested their dismissal through an employment tribunal in 2007 was five.

One of these was settled, one was unsuccessful and three were ongoing, he said.

There were no such cases in 2008.

Whitemoor Prison houses 500 men and is one of eight high security prisons in the country.

Earlier this month, staff at Whitemoor passed a motion of "no confidence" in governor Steve Rodford, according to the Prison Officers Association.

The no-confidence vote came six months after an internal review raised concerns about Whitemoor.

In May, a Prison Service report said the high number of Muslim inmates at Whitemoor made some staff "anxious and apprehensive".

Mr Moss said at the time that many prison staff had raised concerns about Whitemoor but he was not aware of problems with Muslim inmates.

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