Canine units were deployed within the prison [Image: Joe Giddens/PA].

If Liz Truss wants those responsible for the riot at Birmingham Prison to “face the full force of the law”, will that include G4S, the firm running the jail – or indeed, HM Government, who employed G4S?

This Writer was watching a BBC News report about the riot and it stated that the arrival of the private operator had brought with it “efficiency savings” which meant fewer guards.

Prisoners realised that staff were becoming overstretched and that is why the disturbance happened, according to the report.

If so, then G4S is as responsible for what happened as the prisoners.

The people behind bars are convicted criminals. I know that is stating the obvious, but it seems to have escaped the notice of an international security firm.

Of course they’re going to attack, if they sense weakness.

But the true weakness doesn’t lie with G4S, pathetic though that firm really is. It lies with the Conservative Government that employed it.

Birmingham Prison was the first in the UK ever to be transferred into the hands of a private company, in 2011 – by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government.

Five years later, the institution has been rocked by a series of riots – this weekend’s was the fourth in recent weeks.

The rioters themselves have offered up their reasons, and they all boil down to the effects of privatisation: “The BBC was called during the fourth riot at the prison in six weeks by prisoners at the Winson Green jail. Prisoners said inadequate staffing, poor food and substandard medical care were behind the disturbance, as was being on ‘lockdown’ in their cells all day as a major factor contributing to [the] riot.”

So the harm was caused because of cost-cutting due to a Conservative-led Government employing a private firm to do the job of the public sector.

Justice Secretary at the time was Kenneth Clarke. What was he thinking?

Let’s see him explain it – from the dock.

Authorities have regained control of one of the country’s biggest jails after a major disturbance involving hundreds of inmates.

Specialist riot squads were deployed to HMP Birmingham to tackle the disorder that lasted more than 12 hours on Friday.

Trouble spread across four wings of the privately run facility, with reports of prisoners setting fire to stairwells, breaking a security chain and destroying paper records.

Specially trained prison guards, known as “Tornado” squads, from other parts of the country were backed up by about 25 riot police as they moved into the G4S-run jail, which has a capacity of 1,450 prisoners.

[Justice Secretary] Liz Truss said: “I want to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the prison officers who resolved this disturbance … Violence in our prisons will not be tolerated and those responsible will face the full force of the law.”

Source: HMP Birmingham prison rioters will face ‘full force of law’, says Truss | Society | The Guardian

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