Prison rioters 'must be brought to justice'

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Prisons minister Crispin Blunt has praised staff for their handling of riots at an open prison whilst demanding those responsible are brought to justice.

Mr Blunt was given a tour of Ford prison near Arundel, West Sussex, following Saturday's rampage by about 40 inmates.

Mr Blunt said there would be two investigations into the events, an internal one by the Prison Service and a criminal inquiry by the police.

The prisoners turned violent in the early hours after officers attempted to breathalyse them for contraband alcohol.

The rioters set light to buildings during the night and again at lunchtime, causing extensive damage to six accommodation blocks, a gym, mail room and snooker and pool rooms.

It has been claimed there were only two prison officers and four support staff on duty for a prison population of 496 when the trouble started.

Mr Blunt said: "There are now going to be two inquiries, a Prison Service internal inquiry and there will be a number of issues which will have to be addressed during the course of that.

"I also anticipate that there will be a police inquiry which may lead to criminal prosecutions.

"I hope and expect there will be full co-operation by everyone in Ford prison to make sure that the perpetrators are brought to justice."

Praising the prison staff, he said: "The prison officers were exemplary. They were able to re-establish control of the prison without anyone getting hurt which is an important achievement."