Governors warned over riot inmates
Friday 19 August 2011
The governors of all prisons in England and Wales have been urged to take steps to ensure the safety of inmates jailed over the riots after a "nasty" assault between rival gangs left two prisoners in hospital.
The Prison Service sent an email to governors reminding them of the need to warn new inmates of the risks of stating where they live, what gang they may be in or what team they may support.
It comes after three offenders, who were all on remand in connection with last week's violence and looting, were assaulted at Cookham Wood young offenders' institution in Rochester, Kent, on Saturday.
In the email, the Prison Service said: "Over the past few days there has been emerging intelligence regarding the consequences of receiving public disorder remands/offenders.
"This is being assessed and processed with individual establishments responding appropriately. In due course this information will be shared more widely.
"A consideration that has been gathering pace is the safety of remands/offenders involved in the public disorder.
"This applies to the range of remands/offenders and is not limited to the young offender/young people estate but includes adult male and female offenders."
It went on: "There has been a nasty three person alleged assault. All three victims were public disorder remands, two currently in hospital.
"It is important that where remands/offenders are received thought is put into their background in terms of their experience of the custodial setting.
"Whilst the induction process ensures that remands/offenders are aware of the risks of stating where they live, what gang they may be in, what team they may support or faith they may be, it is worth ensuring that reception staff give a verbal brief and assess risk where you receive first time in custody people."
Asked about the memo, a Prison Service spokeswoman said: "Governors were reminded to ensure that, despite increased arrivals to prison, all reception procedures were thoroughly followed.
"It is entirely appropriate to remind governors of the need to make proper assessments of the risks that apply to certain prisoners and the steps they should take to manage such risks."
She added that officials at Cookham Wood young offenders' institution were clear "that this incident was not riot related".
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