Hollesley: £85k to change prison locks

Warren Hill at Hollesley Bay

Warren Hill at Hollesley Bay - Credit: Archant

TAXPAYERS shelled out almost £85,000 for a Suffolk prison to change its locks after a set of keys were stolen during a disturbance.

The full cost incurred by Warren Hill young offenders institution was revealed by prisons minister Jeremy Wright when quizzed in Parliament over cases of jails needing re-locking since 2010.

Warren Hill, which is next to Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge, was one of four prisons to require the expensive procedure after a riot in November 2010.

About 60 inmates refused to return to their cells and got hold of a set of keys. As a result, all the locks had to be changed at a cost of £84,418 to the Ministry of Justice.

Mr Wright told the Commons that none of the four prisons were placed in lockdown following the incidents and that there were no escapes. He added: “Following these incidents vigilance at the prisons was increased regarding key security and events that may lead to a prison needing to be relocked.”

The minister was asked by shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan to list examples of prisons requiring re-locking in the last three years, providing details of the prison where the incident happened.

As well as Warren Hill, category B men’s prison HMP Swaleside paid £79,525 for relocking, while young offenders institution Glen Parva, in Leicestershire, faced a bill of £173,608 - the total expense to taxpayers coming to £337,551.

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A £415,276 fee for relocking HMP Birmingham was paid by prison operator G4S after a set of keys disappeared in October 2011.

Ministry of Justice confirmed that the Warren Hill relock related to the disturbance in 2010 which led to an overnight stand-off with prison staff before Tornado teams were sent in to regain control.

The wing at Warren Hill suffered extensive damage and it is thought prisoners got hold of a set of keys.

The POA trade union for prison, correctional and secure psychiatric workers said the riot started when officers prevented some inmates from having free and unfettered access to telephone and leisure facilities following incidents of alleged bullying of other juveniles. Two prisoners were hospitalised and a number of staff injured.