A trainee prison officer is suing trouble-plagued Oakwood Prison, claiming he has been badly hurt pretending to be a prisoner during training, it was revealed today.
The 35-year-old father of one reportedly lost consciousness twice and suffered serious nerve damage to his wrists during a demonstration in ‘control and restraint’ techniques, the same class in which two other staff suffered a broken arm and dislocated shoulder at the jail last week.
The man has not worked since the incident 18 months ago and has undergone an operation on his right wrist, but reportedly still finds if difficult to carry out simple tasks like peeling vegetables.
A friend of the man said: “It is astonishing to think that people are still being hurt undergoing this training. It seems that lessons are not being learned by the management.”
The injury occurred at Featherstone when two instructors allegedly lifted the trainee in a ‘sitting position’ with their hands under his arms and his hands cuffed behind his back as his head was pulled back by a third trainer.
It is claimed that he passed out twice and complained that his hands had gone numb but was advised to have a drink of water, get some fresh air and slap his hands to get the circulation and feeling back into them after the incident that occurred as staff were under training in preparation for the opening of the jail in April last year.
He went to the Accident and Emergency Department at New Cross Hospital that night, went to see his doctor the following morning and has not been to work since.
He received six months’ pay followed by a similar period of statutory sick pay.
The man, who had been working at the prison for less than two months, is now being paid Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and declined to comment at his home near Wolverhampton yesterday.
Miss Rebecca Lawrence, personal injury lawyer at London firm Slater & Gordon, who is representing him, said: “Our client is a young, family man who was excited to be embarking on a new career which was tragically cut short because of the errors made by G4S, who have now admitted liability, provided we can establish the injuries were caused by the incident.”
G4S said: “Due to this being the subject of on going litigation we can make no comment on the matter.”