Prisoners shipped out from Whitemoor Prison following two disturbances involving up to 10 inmates - Justice Ministry says punishments will be severe
- Credit: Archant
Up to seven inmates at Whitemoor Prison, March, are believed to have been transferred to other jails following major disturbances on two separate occasions within 48 hours.
The Ministry of Justice responded to questioning by insisting “staff successfully resolved two separate incidents at HMP Whitemoor on Thursday March 30 and Saturday April 1.
Their spokesman added: “Both incidents were isolated to one wing and there was no threat to the public at any stage.
“Where incidents like this occur we will always work closely with the police to push for the strongest possible punishment for those involved.”
Sources close to the prison say the first incident was the most serious “and the place got smashed up. It involved around 10 prisoners, seven of which have now been shipped out to other prisons”.
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The incidents at Whitemoor come less than a month after a visit by Justice Secretary Liz Truss who said recruiting more prison officers is the top priority to improve safety within the country’s jails and to reduce re-offending.
Our source claimed the first incident followed the decision by officers to put an inmate with mental health issues onto a normal prison wing.
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During the incident on April 1 – a weekend- staff shortages are alleged to have curtailed the amount of time prisoners were allowed out of their cells. Our source says this sparked anger among prisoners and eventually order was restored after announcements over the tannoy system and the movement of security dogs onto the wing.
“They have very little human contact, but they just don’t see what knock on effect this can have,” they said. “Even this week the prisoners were locked up again with no association due to staff shortages; if you treat people like caged animals surely they will act like them?”
Our source added: “I totally understand this is a Category A prison, however someone will lose a life at some stage, be it an officer or prisoner.”
During her visit to Whitemoor, Ms Truss agreed there were “serious issues” within the prison service but the government was taking action to address them as quickly as possible.
Part of that action is to recruit 2,500 more officers nationally with at least 40 of those being based at the March high security jail.