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Former HMP Birmingham prisoners reveal how bad the jail really is

PRISON officers at HMP Birmingham are “even more terrified than the prisoners,” former inmates said today.

As the government announced it would take over G4S’s contract, recently released inmates revealed just how bad conditions inside the crisis-hit prison were.

Speaking as he was released, one told reporters that he believed prisoners had gained more influence since a notorious riot in December 2016 involving at least 500 inmates, when prisoners took a set of keys from a guard and unlocked cells.

He said: “I've been inside for five-and-a-half years and I think the prisoners run it, to be honest — and that’s the best way in my opinion.”

Another inmate, who was waiting for a relative to pick him up after being released from a six-week sentence, said: “It’s fair to say most of the prisoners are terrified in there but the screws are even more terrified than the prisoners.

“I'm surprised it has taken so long for the inspectors to do something — there are drugs everywhere. The place is a joke.”

Another man, in his twenties, said: “I've just spent six weeks in there and the conditions are pretty shit, to be honest — from what I have seen there are a lot of drugs.

“Drugs have taken over the prison and G4S have just let it happen. The prisoners were in control and it doesn’t feel safe.

“There were a lot of people on my wing that just stayed behind the door because they were scared to come out.”

None of the men were willing to provide their names.

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