“The Prison Service has made good progress in tightening up its procedures for recording sickness absence and now has a better grip on the performance of establishments. The average sickness rate remains high, however. Any reduction in working days lost would free resources which could be used, for instance, to improve regimes for reducing re-offending rates or to deal with the increased number of prisoners being held in custody.
“Further reductions in the average rate of sickness absence among Prison Service staff depend on governors working more closely with staff to improve morale and to overcome a culture of absenteeism prevalent in some prisons.”
19 May 2004