Scenes of riot have emerged from HMP Birmingham, in one of the worst of such incidents this year (following also from similar problems at HMP Lewes and HMP Bedford earlier this year).

The Prison Officers Association (POA) reportedly said 260 prisoners were initially involved, but the figure climbed to nearer 600 according to later reports.

Early press reports have suggested the riot, at the private sector run prison, involved hundreds of inmates and lasted for about 12 hours. The severity of the incident meant that G4S called in the prison service to take over the incident, and riot police were called. A number of dangerous fires were set within the prison.

Who is affected?

The prison ought to be a safe and decent environment for staff and prisoners alike.

An event such as this often affects many classes of person, and No5 Chambers has the specialist teams to offer the advice, representation, and advocacy that is required by:

–       Prison staff who are injured or affected in their employment or welfare as a result
–       Prisoners who are injured or affected by the incident directly
–       Prisoners subsequently caused subsequent loss though additional lock-up or loss of adequate accommodation
–       Those who face disciplinary action, whether prisoner or officer
–       Those charged with criminal offences arising from the events during the alleged riot

What can be done?

We have prison lawcriminal lawhumans rights law, and employment law specialists.

Certain reports suggest prisoners at the jail had blamed poor conditions being behind the disturbance. If there are unlawful conditions in prison then the better course would be to seek the assistance of specialist prison law and human rights lawyers at No5 Chambers. Likewise staff must not be exposed to an unsafe environment.

Problems leading to this latest disturbance have been cited to include inadequate staff numbers, poor healthcare and nutrition, and being on “lockdown” in their cells all day as major factors.

If these problems are dealt with through lawful processes and judicial review of any unlawful treatment or conditions then in future explosions of discontent such as this should be able to be avoided.

If you have been affected by these events, or have similar problems, please contact our specialist prison law team. Email or telephone 0845 210 5555 or 0121 606 0500 and ask to speak to the senior practice manager Abdul Hafeez, or practice group clerks Craig Wain or Adam Bates.