MoJ seizes control of Birmingham prison from G4S amid safety concerns
The Ministry of Justice has been forced to seize control of a Birmingham prison from the private contractor G4S amid concerns over safety.
HMP Birmingham has seen a “dramatic deterioration” in standards over the past year, according to the prisons inspectorate.
Ministers have stepped in to take over the running of the facility after the latest inspection found widespread drink and drug use and violence as well as blood, vomit and cockroaches throughout the corridors.
The Government will now urgently remove the governor and hundreds of prisoners as it attempts to restore order and improve conditions.
The chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke called for an immediate inquiry ahead of the publication of a damning report.
In a letter to the Justice Secretary David Gauke, Mr Clarke said there was an “urgent and pressing need to address the squalor, violence, prevalence of drugs and looming lack of control”.
He added that the forthcoming report contained “some of the most disturbing evidence that inspectors ... have seen in any prison.”
“There has clearly been an abject failure of contract management and delivery, he said.
“The inertia that seems to have gripped both those monitoring the contract and delivering it on the ground has led to one of Britain’s leading jails slipping into a state of crisis.”
The prisons minister, Rory Stewart, said: “It has become clear that drastic action is required to bring about the improvements we require.
“This ‘step in’ means that we can provide additional resources to the prison while insulating the taxpayer from the inevitable cost this entails.
“We have good, privately run prisons across the country and while Birmingham faces its own particular set of challenges, I am absolutely clear that it must start to live up to the standards seen elsewhere.”