Feltham youth jail violence: 20 prison officers injured after 'completely unacceptable series of assaults'

Campaigners say violence in youth jail indicates 'very serious breakdown in care'

Some 20 staff at Feltham Young Offenders Institution (YOI) were injured in separate incidents over the weekend, 13 of whom required hospital treatment, the Prison Service said
Some 20 staff at Feltham Young Offenders Institution (YOI) were injured in separate incidents over the weekend, 13 of whom required hospital treatment, the Prison Service said

More than a dozen prison officers were taken to hospital after an outbreak of violence at a youth jail in London.

Some 20 staff at Feltham Young Offenders Institution (YOI) were injured in separate incidents over the weekend, 13 of whom required hospital treatment, the Prison Service said. The have all now been discharged.

The young people who carried out the violence will face adjudication hearings over the next few days and could face prosecution.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) said staff would push for charges. Campaigners meanwhile warned that the violence was a symptom of the YOI being an “unsuitable” place for troubled children.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “A completely unacceptable series of assaults on staff at Feltham over the weekend led to 20 officers receiving injuries, with 13 needing hospital treatment.

”Our sympathies are with those hard-working and committed staff, who deserve to be able to carry out their jobs without facing this kind of behaviour.”

When inspectors visited Feltham last January, they found violence had dropped dramatically after inmates were offered credits for a sweet shop and other rewards for good behaviour.

But fears have been raised about the lack of out-of-cell activity, with the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) outgoing chief inspector of general practice recently voicing concern about inmates “locked up in their cells on their own for most of the day”.

Mark Fairhurst, national chairman of the POA, said the recent violence was “not acceptable”.

“Replace the term ‘children’ with ‘violent young criminal’ and you more accurately describe what POA Union members in the juvenile estate face. We will support staff and push for prosecutions,” he tweeted.

But Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Feltham has a long history of failing to support damaged children. The prison is ill-equipped to deal with troubled children.

“If heeded, the call from the union representing some of the prison staff for the use of unlawful punishments on children in their care will only fuel more violence.”

Carolyne Willow, director of charity Article 39, said the outbreak of violence indicated a ”very serious breakdown in care” and highlighted the “unsuitability” of Feltham as a place to send children.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

She added: “Children who cannot live safely within our communities must be held in secure settings where skilled staff have the resources and support to properly meet their needs. The closure of this prison is long overdue.

“The events over the weekend must have been terrifying for both children and staff, though of course children are trapped in the institution 24 hours a day.”

Additional reporting by PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in