PRISON officers at Lewes are to receive an immediate pay rise of up to £5,000, the Government has announced.

Officers at 31 prisons in London and the South East including Sussex’s highest category prison will get the pay increase as part of a £12 million package announced today by Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss.

Thousands of staff will also benefit from specialist training opportunities in skills such as self-harm and suicide prevention.

New starters will receive up to £29,500 – an increase of £5,000 – while a prison officer in London could see earnings increase to £31,000.

Specialist prison officers had to be called in to Lewes in October after inmates went on a six hour rampage while in June a prisoner died after being attacked by a cellmate.

The Government said it was on course to recruit the first 400 of the additional frontline officers committed to be in place by March with 389 job offers made.

Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Prison officers do a challenging and demanding job day in and day out. I want frontline staff to know that their work, experience and loyal service is valued.

"We also want to attract the best new talent into the service, ensuring we recruit and retain the leaders of the future.

“These hard-working, dedicated staff are key to delivering our ambitious reform agenda, and it is right that we offer them greater support as we move ever closer to transforming prisons into places of safety and reform.”