Six people have died at HMP Birmingham in 2018

Image caption,
Prisoners recently filmed themselves smoking drugs and using mobile phones in a live-stream thought to be from HMP Birmingham

Six inmates at HMP Birmingham have died since the beginning of the year, prison bosses have confirmed.

The privately-run prison, which was the scene of a riot in December 2016, recorded seven deaths in 2017.

One of the deaths this year was down to natural causes, while the remainder are still under investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

G4S, which runs the prison in Winson Green, said the deaths are believed to be unrelated.

One of the deceased is thought to be John Delahaye, who was on remand after a church elder and two other men were injured during a service at the New Jerusalem Apostolic Church in Aston in September last year.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Riot police outside HMP Birmingham on Friday. Four wings were taken over in a disturbance which took 12 hours to bring under control

He died in March, a week before his trial for attempted murder and several other charges was due to start.

Prison director Rob Kellett said every death in custody is thoroughly investigated by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

He declined to comment further until investigations concluded.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Police officers in riot gear stand outside HMP Birmingham during disturbances in December 2016

The Prison Service said jails should be places of safety and reform and it was working closely with G4S to improve conditions.

Recent incidents at HMP Birmingham include:

Mr Kellett, who has been in charge of the 1,400-capacity prison since February, said his staff "work tirelessly to detect, intercept and confiscate contraband".

Collaboration with the police had shut down "a number of" channels for contraband smuggling, he said, and inmates were regularly searched.

Through working closely with the police, we've stopped a number of ways that contraband was getting into the prison, and we carry out regular searches to find and remove prohibited items."

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