Gov­er­nors’ con­cern af­ter prison in­ci­dent

No pit­ter pat­ter of happy feet in poor breed­ing sea­son Of­fi­cers ‘dodged a bul­let’ at max­i­mum-se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS - BY ELLIE CULLEN

A dis­tur­bance at a max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison should be “ring­ing alarm bells at the most se­nior level”, the Prison Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion has said.

John At­tard, na­tional of­fi­cer for the group, said trou­ble at Cat­e­gory A Long Lartin on Wed­nes­day night was symp­to­matic of cut­backs and changes in the Prison Ser­vice man­age­ment struc­ture.

A to­tal of 81 in­mates were in­volved in the in­ci­dent at the Worcestershire jail, which led to spe­cially-trained riot of­fi­cers be­ing drafted in to re­solve ten­sions.

Eigh­teen pris­on­ers have now been moved to other jails.

Mr At­tard said: “The fact that this is a high-se­cu­rity prison must be ring­ing alarm bells at the most se­nior level. It causes us some con­cern.

“Last year the PGA called for an in­de­pen­dent pub­lic in­quiry into the state of our pris­ons due to cuts ... It fell on deaf ears. That call has not gone away.

“When we get dis­tur­bances of this na­ture in high-se­cu­rity pris­ons the worry is if there is a po­ten­tial for this to hap­pen again.

“I think we’ve dodged a bul­let on this. They brought this un­der con­trol very quickly and it’s fan­tas­tic that they’ve dealt with it.

“But I think there needs to be a re­view. The changes to the man­age­ment struc­ture and staffing struc­ture are a key part of this.”

The dis­or­der at Long Lartin, which has a ca­pac­ity of 622 and houses some of the most dan­ger­ous pris­on­ers, was first re­ported on Wed­nes­day evening.

Tor­nado teams – spe­cially-trained anti-riot prison of­fi­cers – were sent in, and a steady stream of vans could be seen head­ing in to the prison car park up un­til about mid­night.

The of­fi­cers, wear­ing dark over­alls and car­ry­ing large holdalls full of equip­ment, could be seen un­load­ing the vans and fil­ing into the main en­trance.

Sev­eral prison vans also ar­rived at the jail, which is sur­rounded by acres of coun­try­side.

Beyond the 30ft (9m) cur­tain walls, shouts from in­mates could be heard above the bark­ing of prison guard dogs.

The in­ci­dent was re­solved in the early hours of Thurs­day, and no-one was in­jured.

A Prison Ser­vice spokes­woman said: “Spe­cially trained prison staff suc­cess­fully re­solved an in­ci­dent at HMP Long Lartin on 12 Oc­to­ber. There were no in­juries to staff or pris­on­ers.

“We do not tol­er­ate vi­o­lence in our pris­ons, and are clear that those re­spon­si­ble will be re­ferred to the po­lice and could spend longer be­hind bars.”

Long Lartin has housed a num­ber of high-pro­file pris­on­ers, in­clud­ing rad­i­cal Mus­lim cleric Abu Hamza and mur­derer Christo­pher Hal­li­well.

The dis­tur­bance there prompted a jus­tice min­is­ter to say the govern­ment re­mains com­mit­ted to clos­ing down old Vic­to­rian pris­ons by 2022.

Sam Gy­imah MP faced calls from Labour to apol­o­gise for shelv­ing a gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign prom­ise af­ter HM Prison and Pro­ba­tion Ser­vice chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Spurr was re­ported to have told a con­fer­ence he an­tic­i­pated “we won’t close any pris­ons this Par­lia­ment”.

The Tories pledged at the elec­tion to in­vest £1bil­lion in de­vel­op­ing the prison es­tate, in­clud­ing re­plac­ing the “most di­lap­i­dated” jails and cre­at­ing 10,000 “mod­ern” prison places.

Mr Gy­imah’s com­mit­ment came dur­ing an ur­gent ques­tion in the Com­mons about the dis­tur­bance at HMP Long Lartin.

Cat­e­gory A Long Lartin prison has a ca­pac­ity of 622

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.