Prison officers protested outside a Yorkshire jail and refused to work after two of their colleagues were seriously assaulted by inmates.
One officer was strangled to the point of unconsciousness and the other was punched in the throat during the incident at Lindholme prison, near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, on Thursday night.
The perpetrators of the latest assaults could not be confined in the prison’s segregation unit because it was already full.
Prison Officers Association (POA) national chair Mark Fairhurst had to ring prison service chief operating officer Phil Kopple “to ensure my members had a safe place to work.”
Only when the assurances were given did the officers agree to go into the jail.
The POA said that staff at Lindholme faced a “daily battle” to maintain order and discipline.
Inspectors have given Lindholme one of the lowest possible ratings in the whole prison system.
The union said that following the latest assaults “no-one in management seems to care or be concerned”.
General secretary Steve Gillan said: “The government and [prison service] must listen to staff and accept that our prisons are in crisis.
“The latest prison ratings prove that the concerns the POA has consistently raised are not being addressed.
“We have called for a back-to-basics approach to ensure security, safety and control are the priority of the service.
“Unfortunately, local management are being given the licence to do as they see fit and this often leads to unrest, violence and disorder. Things have to change.”
Patrick Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented:
"This is just the latest incident in a pattern of growing violence in our prisons.I have a lot of sympathy for Prison Officers because they are dealing day-to-day with problems not of their making. Sadly many in society want to just lock people up and forget about it. Many of those in prison should be in secure hospitals or addiction centres. Some should not be in prison at all. Staff numbers need to be realistic to manage a bad situation.
I haven't seen the latest figures but I know that the cost of keeping one prisoner in this jail for 2010 was £32,757. That figure doesn't even cover a lot of what is provided such as medical care and education so the real figure is far higher. When you consider that you have to wonder why it is in the state it is.
Violence against both staff and inmates is a big problem and the employers need to listen to what staff and officers are telling them about their experiences and how they think matters could be improved."