Undercover footage shows prisoners incapacitated by drugs [Image: BBC].

The inability of the so-called ‘party of law and order’ to maintain any semblance of it – in prisons – is now a national scandal.

Only a few months ago, in December, we learned of riots in state-run prisons such as Bedford, due to staff shortages.

At the time, This Writer stated that handing more prisons over to private companies “would be begging for even worse events. These companies are only concerned with profit and should not be allowed anywhere near custody of other human beings. Corners will be cut in order to make more money from contracts. Inmates – and staff – will suffer.”

Now we have evidence of “even worse events” – in a privately-run prison. HMP Northumberland is run by Sodexo Justice Services.

It was privatised in 2014, when the government was aiming to cut £500m from the prisons budget. That makes it a Chris Grayling project, This Writer believes.

To win the contract, Sodexo pledged to save the taxpayer £130m over 15 years. Two hundred jobs, including 96 prison officer posts, were cut.

At the time of the deal, the Prison Officers Association warned it could result in “escapes and riots”.

The Panorama report shows prisoners incapacitated by drugs, officers sometimes left on their own to manage large groups of inmates, and inmates threatening staff.

The undercover reporter, who was working as a custody officer, was told by some staff they did not feel able to confront prisoners because they were worried back-up support would take too long to arrive.

How prophetic the Prison Officers Association was!

The current Justice Secretary – and the person who should be charged with sorting out this unholy mess of her party’s making – is Liz Truss, a woman who can be better relied upon to get het up about cheeses.

So, if you are a prison officer, concerned about the ruin of Her Majesty’s corrective system under the Conservatives, This Writer’s advice is as follows:

Don’t hold your breath waiting for any improvement, and vote Labour if you ever get the opportunity again!

Chaos in one of the biggest prisons in the country has been revealed in secret filming for the BBC.

An undercover reporter spent two months at HMP Northumberland, which houses up to 1,348 male inmates, for Panorama.

He discovered widespread drug use, a lack of control, door alarms that did not go off in one block and a hole in an internal security fence.

Prison officers also found balaclavas, blackout clothing and wire-cutting tools at the category C jail.

It is believed inmates had been sneaking out to collect drugs or other contraband thrown over the perimeter fence.

These discoveries were made in a block where inmates preparing to transfer to open prisons were not locked in their cells at night.

The Ministry of Justice said it would investigate the “extremely serious allegations” at the Acklington jail.

Source: Undercover Panorama report reveals prison chaos – BBC News

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