Prison bosses deny cover-up over HMP Oakwood trouble

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Prison bosses have fiercely denied claims of a 'cover up' over trouble which broke out at controversial Oakwood jail.

Shadow justice minister Sadiq Khan, for Labour, claimed the Ministry of Justice and G4S had tried to cover up the full extent of what happened at the prison, in Featherstone.

He said there had been conflicting reports over the trouble, which broke out at around 5pm on Sunday and was resolved at 2am.

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But Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service, which commissions and delivers prison services, denied there had been any cover up.

He said: "On Monday, we published a statement saying what happened.

"It said that 20 prisoners were actively involved in the incident. That's actually the case because I spoke to the gold commander who was managing the incident and he was very aware of how many people were involved."

He said there were about 60 prisoners on the wing but not all were involved in the incident.

"So, we have not in any sense attempted to cover up or minimise what happened."


The prison has suffered from a series of embarrassing problems in the past few months, including two rooftop protests within weeks.

It was also claimed yesterday that a leaked report showed there had been trouble at the £150 million super jail in November, when guards in riot gear had been sent in to the prison.

Mr Spurr admitted his organisation had rated performance at Oakwood as 'not good enough' but insisted he had 'confidence' in the prison's director John McLaughlin.

Mr Spurr said there would be a 'proper investigation' into what led to the incident after being pressed on claims that some of the prisoners were drunk. G4S has also refuted claims of a cover-up.


Calls have also been made for the Government to provide a statement in the House of Commons. Labour MP John McDonnell, who sits on the Commons Justice Select Committee, urged the Government to either make a formal statement or to provide information via a written ministerial statement.

Sadiq Khan has also taken to Twitter to ask why Chris Grayling is refusing to go to the House of Commons to explain what is happening at Oakwood.

A ministry spokeswoman said: "Any suggestion that there's been a 'cover-up' as to what is going on at Oakwood is ridiculous."

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