ONE of Britain’s biggest prisons was taken over by smirking thugs who bullied staff and openly used drugs while behind bars, it can be revealed.
HMP Birmingham descended into anarchy as the inmates roamed around unchecked – while “terrified” staff locked themselves in their offices.
Inmates were revealed to be intimidating staff without consequence, acting with “near impunity”, a recent report revealed.
And instead of being punished for their crimes, inmates were found to be blatantly using cannabis and trafficking illegal substances – including Spice.
It was so bad that inspectors were even said to have felt “physically affected” by the drug fumes.
The filthy conditions of the prison were revealed in Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke’s damning report – finding rats, cockroaches were running around communal areas that were covered in blood and vomit.
Britain’s worst prison HMP Birmingham is taken back into public hands[/caption]
In 2016 more than 600 inmates rioted at the 1,400 strong facility[/caption]
Former guards claim the notorious nick is ‘controlled by prisoners’[/caption]
One in three prisoners were said to be on drugs – with one in seven admitting they had started using since being put behind bars.
The report blasted: “When inspectors raised the fact that drugs were clearly being smoked on a wing, the response from staff was to shrug.”
In one particularly disturbing example, a pool of blood in the showers was noted to have not been cleaned up for two days.
Staff were said to be frightened to step in – locking themselves in rooms or sleeping rather than patrol the prison, the report said.
Senior management staff will be booted out after months of failure and violence[/caption]
Security and emergency personnel respond to a 15 HOUR prison riot last year[/caption]
Dangerous criminals stole jail cell keys from guards in order to free more than 500 lags[/caption]
Assaults had also increased in recent months, with serious attacks leaving prisoners and staff needing hospital treatment.
And in one bullying case a man had a poster with the message “Say No to BO” stuck on his door and was “hosed down” by other prisoners who put a fire hose through his observation panel.
In a humiliating blow for the outsourcing giants, the Ministry of Justice officially triggered the “step in” process to take control of Britain’s worst jail that has been run privately since 2011.
Six inmates have died inside this year, with former guards claiming it is “controlled by prisoners” with Victorian cells dangerously overcrowded.
In 2016 more than 600 inmates rioted at the 1,400 strong facility, which is one of five private prisons run by G4S.
In a scathing critique, Mr Clarke warned HMP Birmingham has “slipped into crisis” following a “dramatic deterioration” in the last 18 months.
Security giant G4S has been stripped of control of the jail and the governor has been sacked[/caption]
Prisons Minister Rory Stewart warned ‘drastic’ action was needed as he put the Prisons Service in charge[/caption]
The Ministry of Justice has now assumed control of the establishment from G4S for at least six months.
G4S welcomed the move, saying the prison, which it has managed since October 2011, faces “exceptional challenges”.
But Mr Clarke said there appeared to be an “institutional inertia” that had allowed HMP Birmingham to deteriorate, as he suggested the Ministry of Justice had failed.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “How is it that in 18 months a prison which is supposedly being run under the auspices of a tightly managed contract, how has that been allowed to deteriorate?
“There are Ministry of Justice (MoJ) officials onsite permanently, and yet somehow there seems to have been some sort of institutional inertia that has allowed this prison to deteriorate to this completely unacceptable state.”
Asked whether the MoJ had failed, Mr Clarke said: “I think that’s the only reasonable conclusion you can come to.”
He added: “It cannot be the case that the only time urgent action is taken to restore decency in a prison is when an inspection report is published – surely somebody must have been asleep at the wheel?”
G4S said: ‘HMP Birmingham is an inner-city remand prison which faces exceptional challenges ‘[/caption]
HMP Birmingham – the scene of a major riot in 2016 – was rated “poor” in all four healthy prison tests.
Mr Clarke said he was “astounded” by the deterioration at the prison since it was last inspected in February 2017.
“There has clearly been an abject failure of contract management and delivery,” he concluded.
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Jerry Petherick, managing director of G4S Custody & Detention Services, said: “HMP Birmingham is an inner-city remand prison which faces exceptional challenges including increasingly high levels of prisoner violence towards staff and fellow prisoners.
“The well-being and safety of prisoners and prison staff is our key priority and we welcome the six month step-in and the opportunity to work with the Ministry of Justice to urgently address the issues faced at the prison.”
Built in 1849, HMP Birmingham is a category B facility for adult male inmates and had a population of 1,269 at the end of last month.