Hollesley: Prison riot to cost taxpayers �200k

TAXPAYERS will have to pick up a bill of more than �200,000 for damage caused by rioting inmates at a secure Suffolk prison, it has emerged.

Dozens of young prisoners went on the rampage at the Warren Hill Young Offenders’ Institute (YOI) at Hollesley, near Woodbridge, in November.

The disturbance, which is believed to have started over access to telephone calls, involved up to 50 inmates who smashed property and confronted prison guards.

Specialist Tornado response teams from the Prison Service were called in to quell the violence, which lasted for several hours, overnight on November 2-3.

It left the Prison Service facing a huge repair bill. Repairs are still ongoing while it is believed every lock in the prison had to be changed after keys were taken.

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Information released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals the Prison Service estimates the repairs to the prison will cost about �200,000.

It said there was “extensive damage” to the building, which included “broken glass, graffiti and damage to furniture and ceiling panels”.

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Two staff and three inmates were injured in the incident and 48 prisoners were moved out of Warren Hill into a segregation unit following the trouble. Ninety accomodation places were lost as a result of the incident.

The Prison Service has completed its report into the disturbance – which is not being made public – and Suffolk police are continuing to interview suspects and investigate the incident.

Dr Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, has met both Warren Hill governor Roger Plant and prisons minister Crispin Blunt to discuss the incident and safety procedures at the Category C jail.

She said she had been assured safeguards had been tightened since the riot, such as only having keys in designated areas.

There were two other serious incidents at the prison last year. In January, four inmates were involved in trouble that saw more than �3,200 worth of damage to the prison. Three of the young men were convicted of offences and given sentences of between two and three years.

In July, 30 young men were involved in a disturbance although only “superficial” damage was caused to the prison. No charges were brought due to a lack of evidence but six inmates were moved out of Warren Hill and were dealt with through the Prison Service’s internal adjudication processes.

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