20 officers hospitalized after being attacked by teen inmates at Feltham youth jail
At least 20 prison officers were injured and hospitalized after an outbreak of violence at the Feltham Young Offenders Institution over the weekend in west London, UK, according to reports.
The Prison Service on Monday said that 20 staff members were wounded in separate incidents over the weekend. The perpetrators — teenage inmates — are now set to face adjudication hearings over the next few days. They could also face prosecution by police.
The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) head released a statement on the incident, saying that the violence inflicted on the officers was "unacceptable" and he would push for prosecutions.
While a Prison Service spokesperson said: "A completely unacceptable series of assaults on staff at Feltham over the weekend led to 20 officers receiving injuries – with 13 needing hospital treatment. Our sympathies are with those hard-working and committed staff, who deserve to be able to carry out their jobs without facing this kind of behaviour. We will never tolerate violence against our staff and will push for the strongest possible punishment, which could lead to them spending more time behind bars," according to the Guardian.
Latest reports state that the wounded officers have since been discharged from the hospital.
The national chairman of the POA, Mark Fairhurst, took to Twitter on Monday, writing: "The violence against staff at HMP Feltham over the weekend is not acceptable. Replace the term ‘children’ with ‘violent young criminal’ and you more accurately describe what POAUnion members in the juvenile estate face. We will support staff and push for prosecutions.”
The institution is made up of two parts — Feltham A, which holds inmates aged between 15 to 18 and has the capacity for 180 people, and Feltham B, constituting of young adults aged 18 to 21 with the capacity of 360 people.
After concerns of safety at the institution, an unannounced inspection was conducted in 2017, which found the facility to be not safe for either staff or boys. The inspection found out that "very serious" levels of violence had risen in the institution.
However, another inspection was conducted in 2018 which had deemed that levels of violence had been notedly cut down. The inspection concluded that safety had improved “quite dramatically” after new measures were introduced, which included awarding the teenagers for good behavior, like giving them chocolate and sweets.
The institution's independent monitoring board, in March this year, had said there were prevalent gang rivalries among inmates in the facility, which presented the staff with an "enormous problem," according to reports.