Prison inspector warns justice minister over HMP Birmingham ‘crisis’

Chief prison inspector issues ‘urgent warning’ to justice minister about the ‘crisis’ at HMP Birmingham after masked gunmen set fire to vehicles in car park

  • The prison has been graded ‘poor’ on safety, respect, activity and resettlement
  • Peter Clarke, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, has called for immediate action  
  • In 2016 the prison was rocked by the worst English jail riot in more than 20 years

Prison inspectors have highlighted serious failings at a jail that was rocked by the worst rioting in decades.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke is calling on the Justice Secretary for immediate action at HMP Birmingham after it failed all the key tests.

The exact concerns have not yet been revealed but the G4S-run prison was graded ‘poor’ on all four categories – safety, respect, activity and resettlement. The prison made headlines this week after nine cars were torched in the staff car park.

Serious failings have been flagged up at HMP Birmingham (pictured) after an inspection

Two masked men, one of whom was armed, had used an angle grinder to cut their way into the parking compound. Nobody has yet been arrested in connection with the attack. In December 2016, the prison was rocked by the worst riot at an English jail in more than 20 years. Inmates released 500 prisoners from their cells and seven men were later convicted of prison mutiny.

Inspectors recently carried out an unannounced two-week visit to look at conditions in the category B jail, which is known locally as Winson Green and has a capacity of 1,450 inmates.


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In a statement, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons said an urgent notification would be issued to outline the problems. The letter will be sent in the next week and the Justice Secretary will have 28 days to respond with a plan of action.

G4S said it had not received a formal response after the inspection and would not comment further. A Prison Service spokesman said it would respond to the inspection findings when it is informed of them.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke (pictured) is now sending an urgent letter to the Justice Secretary after HMP Birmingham failed all the key tests in order for an action plan to be formed

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