Justice Secretary Liz Truss has admitted there are "very serious issues" with the level of violence in UK prisons, but insists she is not out of her depth
Ahead of talks with the prison officers' union, which says the system is in "meltdown", she told Sky News that prisons needed to be safer but that plans to deal with the problem were working.
She claimed that half the additional prison officers needed in the UK's 10 most challenging prisons had already been recruited, as well as extra measures to clamp down on drug use.
The Justice Secretary refused to be drawn when challenged on whether she was out of her depth on dealing with issue, but insisted: "I am getting to sorting out this problem and ever since I was appointed in July I've been clear prison safety is my number one priority.
"We've just rolled out the drug tests, we're getting the new staff in. We're getting the money for the 10 most challenging prisons."
Ms Truss is due to talk to prison officers after thousands were forced to return to work following a walk-out over health and safety concerns.
The Justice Secretary said: "We have got serious issues with the levels of violence in our prisons.
"What I'm doing about that is, first of all cracking down on drugs and mobile phones - we have introduced new testing for psychoactive substances which we have rolled out across the prison estate.
"We are also recruiting more staff to make sure we make our prisons safer."
Ms Truss's meeting with the Prison Officers Association (POA) will take place later after 10,000 workers went on strike on Tuesday over concerns about violence and "chronic staff shortages".