Fears that Britain’s prisons are at crisis point after growing unrest

HM Prison Brockhill source: The Guardian
published: 28 March 2015

Hostage incidents and disturbances across the country’s jails are rising sharply, intensifying fears that Britain’s prisons are at crisis point. The mounting unrest has seen a corresponding increase in the deployment of specialist teams sent in to the prison estate to quell riots and protests.

Figures cited in a letter from prisons minister Andrew Selous to shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, deposited in the parliamentary library, reveal that in 2010, the year the coalition took power, there were 16 hostage incidents in which a prisoner held either another prisoner or a prison officer against their will.

For the year June 2013 to May 2014, the most up-to-date figures cited in the letter, the number had increased to 73. Contrasting the two periods shows there was also a large rise in the number of “concerted indiscipline incidents”, from 104 in 2010 to 154 between June 2013 and May 2014.

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