128 calls to police in year before Oakwood jail riot

Police were called out to a jail in South Staffordshire more than 120 times in the 12 months leading up to a riot at the prison, it was revealed today.

128 calls to police in year before Oakwood jail riot

Emergency calls were made to the police from HMP Oakwood, in Featherstone, with complaints including rape, fire, drugs and fraud.

There were 128 calls made from the £150 million prison to Staffordshire Police. On January 6 around 40 prisoners in D wing rioted at the site with claims prisoners used pool tables to barricade the wing.

Staffordshire Police are still investigating the disorder at the prison, which is run privately by G4S.

The figures were obtained by the Express & Star through the Freedom of Information Act which also reveals that 76 calls were made by HMP Featherstone and 43 from HMYOI Brinsford.

The prison, which opened 18 months ago, has been described by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling as a 'first class facility' but has been plagued by criticism and branded 'HMP Jokewood', with claims that prisoners found it easier to get their hands on drugs inside than soap.

A G4S spokeswoman said: "The number of occasions on which police were called out to the prison is what we would expect for a prison of Oakwood's size. We have made significant investment in measures to keep drugs and other contraband out of prison and we have a zero tolerance policy of which staff, prisoners, and visitors are constantly reminded."

Incidents at HMP Featherstone between January 2013 and January 2014 included concerns for safety; sudden death; drug offences and a road traffic collision.

At neighbouring HMYOI Brinsford over the same period there were complaints made of sexual offences, criminal damage, drug offences, domestic abuse, suspicious activity and violence against a person.

The two jails are run by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and are on the same site as HMP Oakwood near to Featherstone. A spokeswoman for the MoJ said: "We routinely inform police of potential crimes in prison however, not all of these result in police attendance."

Insp Geoff Knight, local policing commander for the Featherstone area, said: "

We have always carried out regular patrols as part of our patrol strategy for the area. We have not increased our patrols since Oakwood Prison opened in April 2012."

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