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Pictures: This prison riot lasted for 25 days and started 25 years ago today

The Strangeways Prison riot had a huge fallout and saw more than 1,600 prisoners revolt.

IT WAS 25 years ago today that the worst riot in British penal history erupted in Manchester.

The Strangeways prison riot marked a watershed moment that brought on a sweeping overhaul in the way the system was run thereafter.

Changes that were brought about included the end to the practice of ‘slopping out’, the appointment of a prisons ombudsman and the introduction of telephones on prison landings. 

The riot was instigated by a demand from prisoners that conditions improve within the jails. It started when prisoners took control of the prison’s chapel and quickly spread to the rest of the jail.

In the course of the riot a prisoner and a prison officer were killed in the violence with 194 men left injured.

Their congregation on the roof of the prison drew intense media attention.

Strangeways Prisoners Riot Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Subsequent to the riot the Wolff inquiry found that there was evidence it could have been avoided. The prisoners had been passing information to guards beforehand indicating it was going to take place unless conditions improved.

While more senior officials within the prison system were informed of this changes in conditions did not occur.

Crime - Strangeways Prison Siege - Manchester Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Riot squads fought to take back control of the prisoners by drenching them with high-velocity water hoses. With this large numbers of the 1,600 prison population surrendered.

Crime - Strangeways Prison Riot - Manchester Two rioters holding a sign that reads 'Pure War on E Wing' Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Following the riot copy-cat incidents began happening at 20 other prison around England and Wales.

Brendan O’Friel, governor of the prison at the time, said that he had not been told about any impending incident when he attended the prison the day before.

Crime - Strangeways Prison Riot - Manchester Leader of the prisoners Peter Taylor Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

The prison staff deserted the prison almost immediately upon the riot starting, leaving inmates to set about attacking prisoners in the segregated sex-offenders’ wing.

British Crime - Prison - Riots - Strangeways - Manchester - 1990 Source: Eric Shaw/PA Wires

According to The Guardian, there had been a ‘drinking culture’ in the prison among the staff prior to the riot taking place. This involved prison officers drinking in the officers’ club at lunch time and returning to their shift to provoke the prisoners.

British Crime - Prison - Riots - Strangeways - Manchester - 1990 The inside of the prison after 25 days of rioting Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Paul Taylor, the self-appointed spokesperson for the group, had been serving a remand sentence for theft at the time but was subsequently handed a ten-year prison sentence for his role in the riot.

British Crime - Prison - Riots - Strangeways - Manchester - 1990 The final five prisoners - Mark Williams, John Murray, Paul Taylor, Martin Brian and Glyn Williams - come down from the roof in a cherry picker Source: John Giles/PA Wires

Following the riot Strangeways prison was rebuilt at a cost of £90 million and renamed HM Prison Manchester.

Crime - Strangeways Prison Siege - Manchester A prison officer strums the prisoners' guitar after the end of the riot Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Read: Woman thrown from building and set on fire for burning Qur’an ‘was innocent’

Also: Is a new Garda unit needed to clean up Dublin?

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