Prisoners posted images and selfies of themselves rioting in real time from the inside of a British prison today after guards “lost control” of the facility.
Inmates at HMP Birmingham, a privately run Category B prison in Winson Green, Birmingham rioted today in a disturbance that is beleived to have started after a set of keys was snatched from a guard. It is reported the keys were taken while the officer was distracted by an inmate threatening him with a used syringe.
The disturbance started around 0900 Friday morning and was still ongoing as of Friday evening, with between 260 and 400 inmates not under control, reports the Birmingham Mail. Reports state the prisoners were able to take control of at least two wings and were occupying facilities including the sick-bay and guard’s equipment store.
Their access to that room appears to be corroborated by images of inmates wearing riot helmets, carrying riot shields, and using telescopic batons. While prisoners in Category B facilities are not allowed mobile phones, the number of pictures emerging from the riot and the fact the Birmingham Mail has been telephoned by “a lot” of prisoners over the course of the day suggests this rule has not been enforced.
Another half dozen officers with shields just gone into HMP Birmingham pic.twitter.com/rlqWxvq7f0
— Kellie Maddox (@Kellie_Maddox) December 16, 2016
The Daily Telegraph reports the comments of Managing Director for G4S custodial and detention services, Jerry Petherick, who spoke on behalf of the contractor who runs the prison for the government and said: “We continue to respond to an ongoing incident at HMP Birmingham which began just after 9am this morning.
“Our teams withdrew following a disturbance and sealed two wings, which include some administrative offices. The disturbance has since spread to two further wings.
“All staff have been accounted for. Additional officers have arrived on site and we have deployed canine units within the prison. West Midlands Police helicopter is also in attendance.
“We are working with colleagues across the service to bring this disturbance to a safe conclusion”.
Paramedics in riot gear have been photographed arriving at the scene.
Ministry of Justice statement on the incident at HMP Birmingham pic.twitter.com/nsE0udtGIp
— Ministry of Justice (@MoJGovUK) December 16, 2016