Hereford & Worcester

Long Lartin prison: Disturbance ends after inmates take over wing

HMP Long Lartin Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The high-security prison has the capacity for 622 inmates

A disturbance involving inmates at a high-security jail has been brought under control after riot-trained officers were sent in.

Staff at HMP Long Lartin were forced to retreat from a wing when they were attacked with pool balls.

About 20 inmates were involved in Tuesday evening's disturbance, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.

One officer required hospital treatment after being indirectly injured, and part of the building was damaged.

A specialist unit of prison officers, known as a Tornado Team, were sent to the Category A prison in an attempt to restore order.

The jail in Worcestershire holds some of the most dangerous offenders in the country.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "Our brave and highly-skilled officers deserve huge credit for bringing the situation at Long Lartin to a safe and swift conclusion.

"This Government has doubled the maximum sentence for assaults on officers and we intend to push for the strongest possible punishment for those responsible for the disorder at Long Lartin."

Prison workers' union the POA said the disturbance had "once again raised significant concerns about safety, order and control in our prisons".

"This is the latest of a number of incidents which show that the prison service is in crisis," it said.

"On a daily basis prison officers must deal with concerted acts of indiscipline, violence, hostage taking, self-harm and deaths in custody."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The prison workers' union said the disturbance raised concerns about "safety, order and control in our prisons".

The high-security jail has the capacity for 622 inmates and is believed to currently hold about 500.

According to a 2018 report into the prison following a serious disturbance involving 81 prisoners, around 75% of the inmates were serving life sentences.

A quarter of all inmates were classed as Category A or high-security offenders.

In October 2018 disorder at the prison left six officers injured.

Prof David Wilson, professor of criminology at Birmingham City University, and a former prison governor, said Long Lartin had "always been a tricky prison to manage".

"Long Lartin isn't a new generation design of prison, such as Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire or Woodhill in Milton Keynes," he said

"Those prisons tend to have inmates housed in smaller units, where it is easier to control them should there be problems within the running of the jail.

"With the older design of prisons, problems can spread much more quickly."

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