Recently the regime here at Wakefield has changed somewhat. Now each wing is kept off work for one afternoon a week and given association time instead, so that they can be left locked up during the evening. The reason given for this is that the prison, like many others now, is drastically short staffed.
The same reason is given when we ask why our letters are suddenly taking so long to get to us or to be sent out, or why the library is cancelled for the third week in a row.
However, it has also emerged that Wakefield staff have actually been seconded to other establishments to cover their own staffing shortfall. But this makes little sense. Why would you take steps to make sure that one prison is staffed when, in order to do so, you have to pay staff from an entirely different prison extra for secondment only to then leave their home establishment understaffed? You still end up with a prison that cannot run a full regime, and now you’re paying extra for the privilege.
It also makes me think that their use of language leaves a lot to be desired too. As far as I am concerned, short staffed is when ten people unexpectedly call in sick. Running a restricted regime for weeks on end is not the same thing. That can be due only to being deliberately understaffed.