The UK's prisons are in 'absolute crisis', talkRADIO has been told.
This claim comes ahead of the Queen's Speech at the state opening of Parliament today, where a major reform to radically change the way prisons operate is expected to be announced. It will outline how some prisons could be allowed to manage their own budgets, in addition to a new bill aiming to ban organisations and close down premises which 'promote hatred'.
Steve Gillan, who is the general secretary of the Prison Officers Association (POA), welcomed the idea of action in order to protect staff.
"Prison officers' morale is at rock bottom," he told Paul Ross. "Assaults on them have doubled since 2010.
"Our prisons are in absolute crisis, and action needs to be taken now."
A major change could see prisoners spend the weekend in prison and the rest of the week at home under a live satellite tag.
Gillan disputed how effective this radical change would be, and insisted the government needed to put a more simple solution in place.
"It will certainly put a lot of pressure on staff at the weekends," he added. "If there is an influx of prisoners coming into the system at weekends, there needs to be investment in this area.
"I just don't think it's feasible, and when it's been done before, it has fallen down a gaping big hole because they couldn't resource it properly.
"We need to go back to basics with proper searching, and have enough staff to deal with prisoners on a day-to-day basis."