A major riot broke out on Tuesday night at the high security Long Lartin jail as prisoners armed with pool balls took over a wing, the Telegraph reports.
At least one prison officer has been injured and taken to hospital after the violence broke out during inmates’ association time.
Staff withdrew from the wing as a specialist Tornado anti-riot squad was called in to try to restore order at the Worcestershire jail.
There were also reports of rioting by prisoners in the jail’s segregation unit which is used to restrain the most violent inmates.
It is the second serious riot in a month after violence broke out at Winchester jail where inmates broke through the walls of their cells, forcing the closure of an entire wing and dispersal of dozens of prisoners to other jails.
Officials will be concerned at the outbreak of violence at Long Lartin because it is a category A jail housing some of the prison system’s most dangerous inmates. Dispersal of offenders to other prisons could prove difficult.
There were initial reports that up to 70 prisoners were involved but the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said on Tuesday night it involved around 10 inmates.
An MoJ spokeswoman said: “Specialist staff have been deployed to manage an ongoing incident at HMP Long Lartin. We are absolutely clear that prisoners who behave in this way will be punished and face extra time behind bars.”
It is understood Long Lartin has had three governors in a year and the riot comes amid growing concern at continuing high rates of violence, drug use and self harm in jails.
Mark Fairhurst, chairman of the Prison Officers Association, said that the government needed to roll out pava pepper spray immediately to staff on all closed adult male prisons.
“If the government refuses to intervene my members and I will take action because I will do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of all POA officers in prisons.”
Long Lartin holds more than 500 of the country’s most “dangerous and serious” male offenders, according to a 2018 report from HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.
At the time of the inspection around a quarter of inmates were Category A, the highest security classification, and more than 75 per cent were serving life sentences.