Everything you need to know about the Birmingham prison disturbance

Prison authorities in England are now back in control of Birmingham prison after a riot lasting over 12 hours.

The situation has been described as the worst prison disturbance in twenty-five years.

We take a look into the detail of how the riot started at the G4S-run facility and what was done to bring it under control.

What happened?

[imgcap=(Joe Giddens/PA)

The prison located in Birmingham city centre was the first in the UK to be privatised and has been run by security firm G4S since 2011. Friday’s incident involved approximately 260 of the 1,450 prisoners in four wings of the prison. Windows were reportedly broken and walls damaged as keys which gave access to residential areas of the prison were taken from an officer. As the scale of the disturbance escalated, the British government’s Prison Service took over control, deploying specialist Tornado units backed by riot police to regain control. No prison officers were injured, but one of the inmates is reported to have a broken jaw and eye socket. The Prison Service declared it was back in control of the facility around 10.30pm on Friday evening, after over 12 hours of disturbance. Britain's Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Liz Truss took to Twitter to thank staff involved in bringing the riot under control.

Could it have been prevented?

(Joe Giddens PA)
(Joe Giddens PA)

It’s hard to say, but some with experience of the sector think there were clear warning signs. Mike Rolfe, national chairman of the Prison Officers Association, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme “We’ve been warning for a long time about the crisis in prisons, and what we are seeing at Birmingham is not unique to Birmingham.” He also accused the British Government of inadequate funding of prisons, leading to more frequent disturbances like the one which occurred on Friday. Rodger Lawrence, the chairman of the independent monitoring board for the prison, told BBC Breakfast: “There’s been a feeling and a build-up in the prison of frustration, both on behalf of the prisoners and the staff, about the way conditions were.” What happens now?

(Joe Giddens/PA)
(Joe Giddens/PA)]http://snappa.static.pressassociation.io/assets/2016/12/17122552/1481977549-f6d62eccf2559bfd983b41467c3c3db1-600x399.jpg[/imgcap] Liz Truss has stated a thorough investigation will now take place into the incident and that “those responsible will face the full force of the law”.

Managing director of G4S custodial and detention services, Jerry Peacock, said the company would co-operate with the investigation.

“We are working openly and transparently with the Prison Service and other relevant authorities to understand the causes behind (the riot),” he said in a statement released on Twitter.

In the meantime, 240 prisoners have been transferred out of the prison, according to G4S.

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