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UK prisons are 'safe and secure'

The Prison Service said all its prisons run a "safe and secure regime" after disturbances broke out at two jails yesterday.

A spokeswoman said:

All our prisons run a safe and secure regime and are staffed appropriately.

We are currently introducing reforms to the prison system that will provide better value for taxpayers while protecting the public and improving the chances of prisoners being rehabilitated.

– Prison Service spokeswoman

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Operation Tornado used to contain prison riot

Criminologist Professor David Wilson said prison guards likely enacted Operation Tornado to bring the latest riot under control.

It is a proven method using specialist officers that has been used many times before, he said.

"These are very well-tested systems and so it will be about trying to bring order back to HMP Maidstone. In these situations it's usually a question of being some particular incident that ignites the prisoners who want to take this kind of action and sometimes that action gets out of control."

– Professor David Wilson

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Union: Cuts to prison services 'caused Maidstone riot'

Staff numbers at Maidstone Prison have been cut back in recent years Credit: Press Association Images

Cuts of some £90 million to prison services in recent years are behind the riots at Maidstone Prison in Kent, the Prison Officers union has told ITV News.

"The reduction in staff numbers means there are fewer prison officers available to carry out a normal prison regime", Prison Officers Association vice chair Ralph Valerio said.

"This means that prisoners spend more time locked up in a contained space.

"That can get to you. Many of the inmates also have anger management issues," he said.

The current staff to inmate ratio at HMP Maidstone is 1:30, which meant the staff had to retreat quickly when the incident, involving up to 180 prisoners, began earlier today, Mr Valerio added.

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