Many new prison officers are so light-touch even inmates want tougher staff, a parliamentary committee has heard.
One long-term prisoner called for a return to ex-military veterans being used after claiming young staff are becoming too friendly.
Others warned green-gilled guards were training recruits instead of learning from officers with years of service.
There is a shortage of 1,400 warders, according to the Prison Governors’ Association.
And it says low pay and morale – as well as attacks on staff – are driving experienced staff away. Prison Reform Trust statistics reveal 15 percent of officers left the service last year.
Almost three in 10 (29 percent) now have fewer than three years’ experience – up from 13 percent in 2010.
Inmates were asked for their views as part of an inquiry into the future of the jail workforce by the Parliamentary Justice Committee.
One, in his 60s, wrote: “A large number of staff are young, new to the job, just out of university.”
He added: “More and more officers do not know prison law, command little respect or authority. They think they should be friends with prisoners. This is exploited by some to the detriment of others.