Young prisoners revolt

John McDonnell supports the screws

For three nights in early November young prisoners at Moorlands in Doncaster refused to return to their cells. The protests were broken up by ‘Tornado Team’ riot squad prison officers; 250 prisoners were moved to other gaols and a criminal inquiry begun by South Yorkshire police.

The Prison Officers Association was quick to, condemn the ‘violent, anti-social’ prisoners and congratulate its members on their ‘bravery’ and ‘professionalism’.  These words were parroted in an Early Day Motion (EDM) on 10 November tabled by Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llywd which asked Parliament to recognise the ‘bravery and professionalism that public sector prison officers displayed’ and to be ‘gravely concerned that the cuts to the Criminal Justice System announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review... will undoubtedly affect the levels of frontline prison officers making the public sector prison service unsafe and dangerous for prison officers and those in their care; and therefore calls on the Government to think again’.

Three Labour MPs signed Llywd’s EDM, taking the side of the screws against the prisoners; among them that darling of left Labourism – John McDonnell.

A spokesman for Miscarriages of Justice UK commented that the EDM was ‘offensive’ in advance of a proper investigation, adding: ‘Prisoners I spoke to immediately after the disturbances... were unanimous trouble was caused by violent industrial reaction by screws trying to stop threatened job cuts.’

Nicki Jameson

FRFI 218 December 2010/January 2011


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