Prison staff infected with bloodborne diseases at work get £660,000

Revealed: MoJ has paid £660,000 in damages to 17 prison staff infected by dirty needles in UK’s drug-ridden jails

  • EXCLUSIVE: 17 staff have been infected by dirty needles in drug-ridden prisons 
  • The figures, collected under Freedom of Information, cover from 2016 to 2021 
  • Officers searching inmates’ cells for drugs can prick themselves on needles 
  • The Ministry of Justice has been forced to pay out £660,000 in compensation 
  • A bloodborne disease hotline received over 100 calls from prison staff in a year 
  • Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV can all be transmitted from needlestick injuries 

The Ministry of Justice has been forced to pay out compensation to 17 staff  infected by dirty needles in drug-ridden prisons over the past six years.

Settlements, including legal costs, came to £660,000 from 2016 to 2021 after staff contracted diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV on the job from sharps injuries. 

Needle injuries can occur when prison officers search inmates’ cells for drugs.

The Ministry of Justice has paid out settlements worth £660,000 including legal costs to prison officers infected by dirty needles in drug-ridden prisons between 2016 to 2021

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C or HIV, meaning officers have no protection against the diseases.

Prisoners are up to 28 times more likely to carry hepatitis C than the general population, with a prevalence as high as one in five in some institutions, according to The Hepatitis C Trust.  

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has even had to set up a hotline for prison officers who fear they have been infected.

The MoJ’s bloodborne disease hotline has received 113 calls from prison staff worried about their infection status between September 2020 to August 2021

Infections can happen after being stabbed with a dirty needle, bitten by a carrier or splattered with bodily fluids.

From September 2020 to August 2021, official figures show the bloodborne disease hotline received 113 calls from prison staff worried about their infection status.

A spokesperson for the MoJ said: ‘The safety of our staff is our top priority and we are spending £100 million to bolster security across the prison estate.

‘We have already provided PPE and extra training to protect staff from needle injuries, which has led to a drop in claims.’

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