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Members of three gangs carried out almost half the serious assaults on prison guards in last five years

1 NEWS can reveal that members of just three gangs are carrying out almost half of all serious assaults on prison guards.

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The guards’ union warns the explosion in violence is a result of a softer approach. Source: 1 NEWS

In the last five years there have been just under 100 serious assaults on prison staff - assaults which put them in hospital.

Fifty-six of those have been carried out by members of a handful of gangs.

The Mongrel Mob responsible for 17 attacks and the Killer Beez and Crips are both responsible for 12 serious assaults.

Guards warn the explosion in prison violence is down to a softer approach being taken.

“We've had it all from staff being stabbed, punched, kicked to the head, kicked to the body,” Corrections Association president Alan Whitley told 1 NEWS.

National’s Corrections spokesperson Simeon Brown says it isn’t good enough.

“Look there's been a 92 per cent increase in assaults on guards under Kelvin Davis, it's frankly unacceptable.”

There's also been a big increase in what's called non-serious assaults on guards, with more than 300 last year.

Being bitten, gouged, punched and getting a blood nose, or even receiving stitches after an attack are, all considered non-serious assaults.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says a number of initiatives are underway to reduce the assaults.