Maidstone: Prison Riot Investigation

An investigation is underway into Saturday night's riot at Maidstone Prison.

The prison service says 40 inmates were involved in the trouble which broke out in one of the wings. Officers from specially-trained riot units were brought in from across the country in a system known as Operation Tornado.

A prison services spokeswoman said the incident had been resolved without any injuries to staff or prisoners. There was no evidence of damage, she added.

"An investigation is under way and the perpetrators will be dealt with appropriately by the prison,'' she said.

The disturbances come just days after a clampdown on prison perks began to be rolled out. Under changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme, prisoners in England and Wales will have to earn privileges including the right to wear their own clothes.

Prison Officers Association vice chairman Ralph Valerio said he believed the riot was in response to the new regime changes and staff cuts that resulted in prisoners having to spend more times in their cells.

"Try to put yourself in the shoes of the offender - you find yourself spending more time locked up with less time to be able to call your family and less time to be able to have social interaction with the staff and with other offenders on that wing then it can have a detrimental effect."

Maidstone is a category C training prison that predominantly houses sex offenders from the Kent and Sussex areas. The prison also takes in a number of foreign prisoners with more than 18 months to serve.

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