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A4e
Birmingham
May 14, 2008 Politics.co.uk
A private company that took charge of education and training in eight Kent prisons has terminated its contract a year early in the face of a hefty financial loss. The company, A4e, described on its website as a "market leader in global public service reform" won the three-year contract to run Offenders' Learning and Skills Services (OLASS) in Kent, starting from 2006. The company was to work in partnership with the eight prisons to develop tailored education and training for offenders. But it has now made a shock announcement that it will be unable to run the service for the third year of its contract (August 2008 to July 2009) because it stands to make a loss of £892,000. The company has asked the Learning and Skills Council, which oversees the OLASS programme, for a financial lifeline but is awaiting a response. A4e has contracts to run offender learning and training at 24 other prisons in the South West, North West and East of England. Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary, said: "Running high-quality prison education and training with professional staff does not come cheap as A4e has found out. "This sends a strong message to government: bringing in private providers is not the solution to providing good quality public services. "Our members are delighted to see the back of this company although the future for their own employment is not clear. UCU will do its utmost to protect jobs and terms and conditions for staff."

Altcourse Prison
Group 4 (formerly run by Global Solutions)
Jan 2, 2015 telegraph.co.uk
Prisoner with phone in cell makes hoax Isil bomb threats
A private jail has defended its policy of installing phones in prisoner's cells after one sparked a terrorist alert during a string of hoax calls in which he claimed to be an Isil bomber. Daniel Truelove made the calls from the phone given to him by prison chiefs for "good behaviour". But he caused panic after threatening to blow up Liverpool's Lime Street station, claiming: "I'm from ISIS". "In one call he told the operator he was part of Liverpool ISIS, carrying an Islamic State flag and wearing a tactical vest containing explosives." Now as he faces further time behind bars G4S who run Altcourse Prison on Merseyside said they have no plans to ditch the controversial scheme. Magistrates heard the 20 year-old made the calls from a phone installed in his cell as part of a project to help rehabilitation by "strengthening support networks outside the prison". Truelove claimed he was a member of the Islamic terror group, responsible for numerous atrocities including the attacks in Paris last month which left 130 dead. He made four calls warning of a bomb at Liverpool's main station to the Samaritans and to Crimestoppers.
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Hannah Griffiths, prosecuting, said: "In one call he told the operator he was part of Liverpool ISIS, carrying an Islamic State flag and wearing a tactical vest containing explosives. "On another call, Truelove said he was by a pay-phone at the station and was under pressure to behead his family. He was arrested after the calls were traced to his cell." Liverpool Magistrates' Court was told as a result of the calls British Transport Police increased searches of the station and deployed extra officers authorised to carry Tasers. Ms Griffiths said Truelove shared his cell with another man and no-one else could have had access to the phone at the time the calls were made. There is no suggestion his cell mate was behind the calls. She said: "The defendant admitted making the calls as a prank and said he thought they would be anonymous." Truelove, of no fixed address, appeared via video-link from Altcourse and pleaded guilty to communicating a bomb hoax and will be sentenced later this month. Altcourse prison, which is privately run, was named the most dangerous in the country for staff in 2014, according to official figures. Director of HMP Altcourse Dave Thompson said: "In line with many prisons across the country HMP Altcourse is moving to install telephones into prisoners' cells as evidence suggests it supports the rehabilitation and resettlement on their release. "Prisoners can only dial approved numbers such as members of their family and we routinely monitor and record calls to ensure telephones are being used appropriately. "Prisoners who abuse this opportunity to remain in contact with their families can expect to face sanction and as this case shows, further action through the courts."

November 9, 2010 BBC
A dentist who tricked the NHS out of more than £300,000 by claiming twice for working in a private jail has been jailed for two and a half years. John Hudson, 58, admitted two counts of dishonestly retaining wrongful credit from the NHS, and was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday. Hudson was paid by HMP Altcourse but also claimed £307,000 over two years. Patients from his practice at Whitworth near Rochdale, wrote letters of support for him to the court. 'Blatant dishonesty' -- Judge Graham Morrow QC said Hudson had been a pillar of the community in Whitworth, but was guilty of "calculated, blatant and persistent dishonesty" in taking money which should have gone for patient care. The court heard that dental services at the privately-run jail near Liverpool were also privately run. But Hudson exploited a weakness in the NHS system. When the NHS changed the way it ran prison dental contracts in 2006 Hudson should have ticked a box which stated he was already being paid privately at Altcourse. Box ticking -- The prosecution said that when he did not tick the box he was fully aware of what he was doing - effectively getting paid twice for the same work. The dentist approached Liverpool Primary Care Trust about a contract at the jail demanding £247,000 a year but accepting half that figure. Despite lengthy negotiations Hudson never revealed his private payments. The court heard he spent some of the money on holidays and education fees for his three children, but he is also more than £40,000 in debt and the NHS is suing him for £500,000.

October 5, 2010 Liverpool Echo
A PRISON dentist defrauded the NHS of more than £300,000 – and could now face jail himself. John Hudson treated inmates at HMP Altcourse, in Fazakerley, for more than two years. But the 58-year-old, who was paid £130,000 a year by the private jail, wrongfully billed the NHS for the work. Between May 2006 and July 2008, £306,961 flowed into his NatWest bank account. At Liverpool crown court yesterday, Hudson pleaded guilty to 27 counts of dishonestly retaining wrongful credit. Judge Graham Morrow QC granted the dentist unconditional bail, but warned him he could receive a custodial sentence when he returned to court on November 9. It was also alleged Hudson cheated East Lancashire primary care trust out of £32,000 at his private practice in his home town of Whitworth, Rochdale. Hudson denied those two offences and five further charges of dishonestly retaining wrongful credit of £65,385 from the NHS over four months between August and December 2008. Kevin Slack, prosecuting, told the court he did not think it would be in the public interest to pursue those charges.

December 17, 2009 Liverpool Daily Post
A LIVERPOOL prison is among five in the country allowing its inmates to watch satellite television. More than 4,000 prisoners enjoy the privilege in private jails nationwide. Altcourse Prison, in Fazakerley, is among the contractor-run prisons allowing access to a “limited number” of satellite channels. The number of prisoners allowed to watch satellite varies according to behaviour. But Justice minister and city MP Maria Eagle revealed the number was currently around 4,070. The Garston MP was responding to a written question from Tory MP Philip Davies. She said no inmates in public sector jails have access to satellite in their quarters. But they do at Altcourse and other GS4-run prisons in South Wales and Warwickshire. The other private prisons offering satellite television are run by Serco in Staffordshire and Nottingham. Ms Eagle said: “In these establishments, satellite television in cells is generally only available to prisoners on the enhanced or standard level of the incentives and earned privileges scheme.” There are 84,500 prisoners in England and Wales, meaning around one in 20 has access to satellite TV.

November 5, 2009 Liverpool Echo
PRISONERS in a Liverpool jail are commanding their organised crime empires using mobile phones. A damning report into HMP Altcourse slams the authorities for not investing in jamming technology that would make mobiles obsolete. Independent inspectors say prison officers at the jail have to conduct laborious yard searches and intelligence gathering exercises in vain attempts to crack down on the phones. The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) – a national body which inspects prisons for the Government – says buying a signal deviator is an “urgent requirement”. Its report adds: “This Board is tired of being fobbed off with excuses from the prison service and ministers alike concerning the progress as to installation of mobile phone deviators.” An IMB spokesman also said: “The current situation is having profound implications, particularly in terms of allowing prisoners the opportunity to organise both the availability of drugs within the prison and to control criminal activity outside the prison.” The situation is becoming more critical as inmates are better connected than ever as handsets get more high-tech. Altcourse inmates could use web-enabled smartphones to transfer money, the IMB warns. The category B jail, which has a maximum capacity of more than 1,320, is run by private outfit G4S. Some of the prison officers there are represented by the Prison Officers Association (POA). POA spokesman Glynn Travis told the ECHO: “I believe deviators should be used. There would be no need for mobile phones within the establishment at all. “It would stop the drug trafficking, the bullying and the violence that goes with the mobile phones.” He said they are also used to taunt victims and their families. Mr Travis said mobiles are hot property inside and are worth up to £200 and can be rented out for £150. But they are contraband and if a rented mobile is confiscated owners often dish out harsh punishments and fines – on top of those handed out by the prison authorities. Mr Travis added: “It’s a real problem. On average there’s one mobile for every 10 prisoners. “If every cell was fitted with a phone, would prisoners use it? No – because they want to use them for illicit activity.” The IMB report also expressed concerns about the transfer of inmates to Altcourse from the West Midlands. There has been an influx from HMP Hewell, in Redditch, to ease overcrowding. Around half have been near the end of their sentence, which the IMB says shows little regard for their “human care”. Altcourse also houses around 120 foreign criminals. But some of them are being kept there well over the end of their sentence as immigration papers are processed. The IMB say they deserve a more “humanitarian service”. A Prison Service spokesman said: “We thank the IMB at HMP Altcourse for their report which is being fully considered by ministers. We will be responding in due course.” A spokeswoman for G4S added: “It’s up to the Ministry of Justice whether they give deviators to prisons. We just do the best we can to try to stop mobile phones coming in with searches and the like.”

April 28, 2008 BBC
A man accused of raping an 18-year-old woman has died after apparently hanging himself in his cell. Mathew Le Cras, 21, of Newborough on Anglesey, was taken to hospital on Thursday from Liverpool's Altcourse jail where he was being held on remand. Doctors are thought to have switched off his life-support machine. He had been charged with the rape of the woman near Gaerwen and had been due at Mold Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on Friday. A spokesman for GSL, which runs the private jail, confirmed Mr Le Cras had died. He had been held at Altcourse prison for a week He is thought to have been found by a prison officer.

April 27, 2008 Daily Post
A 21-YEAR-OLD man accused of raping an 18-year-old woman on Anglesey has died. Matthew James Lecras, of Church Street, Newborough, was rushed to hospital early on Thursday, hours before he was due in court. A spokeswoman for Global Solutions Ltd, the private company which runs Altcourse Prison, Liverpool, where he was being held, said that Lecras had been found in his cell by a member of staff during a routine check. Lecras was being held on remand accused of raping a woman at Gaerwen on April 14. The hearing at Mold Crown court continued in his absence on Friday after the judge heard he was seriously ill in hospital.

April 26, 2008 Daily Post
A 21-YEAR-OLD man accused of raping an 18-year-old woman on Anglesey was in a critical condition last night in hospital. Matthew James Lecras, of Church Street, Newborough, was rushed to hospital early on Thursday, hours before he was due in court. A spokeswoman for Global Solutions Ltd, the private company which runs Altcourse Prison, Liverpool, where he was being held, said that Lecras had been found in his cell by a member of staff during a routine check. It is unclear why he had to be taken to hospital. The spokeswoman said: “He is in a life threatening condition in hospital and an investigation into the circumstances is underway.”

March 26, 2006 Wales on Sunday
A WOMAN whose husband threatened to kill her then committed suicide in jail, is fighting his corner for the sake of their young daughter. Vowing to sue the private prison where her mentally ill ex hanged himself in the days following their divorce, Karen Crabtree wants justice for their four-year-old girl "who has lost her daddy". The Llandudno mum-of-one was devastated last summer when Altcourse Prison in Liverpool told her Lee was dead. The troubled 32-year-old - who believed Karen was the devil - was found hanging from a bunk bed by a fellow inmate's shoelaces in July.

March 23, 2006 BBC
An inquest has heard of concerns of a prison officer and a cellmate for the mental health of a remand prisoner, who was later found hanged in his cell. Lee Crabtree, 32, from Llandudno, had been placed on suicide watch at Altcourse Prison, Liverpool, last July. He was seen several times by medical staff during his time in prison. His cellmate said that he was "depressed to death". The inquest in Liverpool continues on Thursday. Mr Crabtree was discovered in a cell on "Beachers Block", the unit which normally holds remand prisoners and young offenders. The inquest heard how prisoners on suicide watch are supposed to be placed with cellmates, but Mr Crabtree was alone on the day he died because his cellmate was in court. In a statement, his cellmate Raymond Smith said Mr Crabtree was "depressed to death," and "sick in the head". He added: "He had said the devil was playing games with him and that he was being tested."

September 23, 2005 BBC
Ten prisoners who rioted after they claimed guards tried to lock them up early on New Year's Eve have been sentenced by a court. The men caused damage costing £17,500 after barricading themselves inside a wing at Altcourse prison in Liverpool. They staged a sit-in protest after guards attempted to lock them up for the night on 31 December 2004. Mr Davies said the prisoners took over the wing for more than four hours before a team of 50 officers, known as the Tornado Team, took back control. The prison wing had descended into chaos with inmates smashing windows, destroying pool tables and lighting fires.

September 2, 2005 BBC
An investigation is under way following the death of a remand prisoner in a hospital, the Prison Service has said. Robin Spavold, 44, from Llandudno, North Wales, was held at HMP Altcourse in Liverpool on 18 August after being charged with criminal damage. He was taken to the prison's health centre because he was suffering from severe bruising. Mr Spavold was transferred to the nearby Fazakerley Hospital, and died on Thursday. He suffered a cardiac arrest.

August 16, 2005 Daily Post
PRIVATELY-RUN Altcourse Prison has been named the most overcrowded in the country with figures showing that last month it held 50% more inmates than it was designed to hold. According to Home Office statistics, more than 933 prisoners were crammed into the Fazakerley jail, which was built to accommodate 614. The figures show that Altcourse was full beyond even its safe over-crowding limit of 903. Anything above that limit is considered a serious risk to "good order and security" Last night Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle, who has both Altcourse and Walton prisons in his constituency, said: "There has to be a suspicion that in a private prison such as Altcourse, the more prisoners they take in, the more money they get.

July 13, 2005 BBC
An inquiry has been launched after two men were found hanged in their cells at a prison in Liverpool. Lee Jason Crabtree, 32, from Llandudno, Conwy, was found dead on Monday at HM Prison Altcourse. David Oakes, 25, from Warrington, Cheshire, was found on Tuesday. The two deaths are not thought to be linked. The privately-run jail has recently been praised by prison inspectors for its good environment and work with mentally ill inmates. But the report, by the Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers, also highlighted bullying among prisoners and criticised procedures for inmates' first night in jail.  

Ashfield Prison
Serco (formerly known as Premier)
February 16, 2012 The Guardian
A huge increase in the use of force to restrain teenage boys at a privately run young offender institution has been sharply criticised by the chief inspector of prisons. Nick Hardwick says the nine-fold rise in the use of force in the past year at the Serco-run Ashfield young offender institution from an average of 17 times a month to 150 times a month is "extremely high". The chief inspector has warned the private prison managers at Ashfield, near Bristol, that force must only be used as a last resort where there is an immediate risk to life or limb and not simply to obtain compliance with staff instructions. But when the prison inspectors went into Ashfield last October they found that more than 40% of the teenage inmates had been restrained and the most frequent reason given in five out of the six preceding months was "failure to obey staff instructions". Penal reformers said the disclosure has "chilling echoes" of the death of 15-year-old Gareth Myatt, who died while being restrained at a Northamptonshire young offender institution in 2004. The inspection report on Ashfield published on Friday also says there are serious problems with the late delivery of offenders from court despite a new private escort company, GeoAmey, with inmates delivered from court to Ashfield on one recent occasion between 11pm and 3am. All new arrivals were also strip-searched even though few items of contraband were ever found. The inspectors say this practice should stop.

August 10, 2011 Gazette
Police were also called to Ashfield Young Offenders’ Institution in Pucklechurch following reports of disturbances there. Prison officers dealt with a "small scale incident of disobedience" involving several inmates according to a statement from Serco, the company which runs the unit. A spokesman said: "Some minor damage has been caused, but the situation has been contained and the centre is secure," a Serco spokesman said. Avon Fire and Rescue Service were called out at 7.49pm but were stood down as they were not required to attend the scene.

August 20, 2009 Public Finance
Children detained in prisons and young offenders institutions are exposed to such ‘dire conditions’ that they are living in ‘modern day dungeons’, according to a hard-hitting report by the Howard League for Penal Reform. The report, published on August 17, paints a picture of ‘extraordinary squalor and institutional brutality’, with children regularly denied access to showers, toilets and outside exercise areas. Detained children are also often subject to strip searches by adult staff and many institutions fail properly to undertake required assessments, plans and reviews. Frances Crook, director of the Howard League, said: ‘We keep children smelly and dirty, idle and frightened, bored with education and cooped up in modern-day dungeons. And we expect them miraculously to pupate into responsible citizens. In reality, these young people leave prison more damaged and more dangerous than when they first went in. It is frankly shocking that we treat children in this way in the twenty-first century.’ At Ashfield prison in Gloucestershire, which is run by Serco, children were routinely given bags to urinate in instead of being allowed toilets on their journey to the prison, the report found. At Castington jail in Northumberland, children were allowed showers only twice a week and seven young people suffered broken wrists after being handcuffed. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘Work is continuing on raising the quality of the services provided and developing new initiatives that will help further ensure positive outcomes for all the young people.’

April 13, 2009 This Is Bristol
The privately-run Ashfield Young Offenders Institution has more attacks than any other prison in the country, according to latest figures. The institution, near Pucklechurch, recorded more than 600 attacks on inmates in one year – the highest number of all the UK's 142 jails. Ashfield also had 126 assaults on prison officers, latest figures released by the National Offender Management Service show. But Serco, the firm which runs Ashfield, said the figures to July 2008 were high because it recorded every incident, including minor skirmishes, while other prisons only recorded the most serious attacks.

March 19, 2003
Premier's Ashfield "worst" prison in England and Wales. (News).  Plans to extend the role of private providers in prison services suffered a setback this month when a PFI jail for young offenders was described as the worst in the country.  An inspection found that conditions at Ashfield, near Bristol, were so bad that many inmates were frightened to leave their cells. Under pressure staff relied on inmates to act as "mini-officers" in the reception wing, and escort van drivers were used as officers on other wings.  Staff delegated responsibility to inmate orderlies to a worrying extent that went as far as "role reversal". Martin Narey, the director-general of the Prison Service, described privately run Ashfield as the worst prison in England and Wales "by some measure".  But he added: "The introduction of the private sector into the running of prisons has brought immense benefits. My best prison is probably a private-sector prison."  Ashfield is a 44m [pounds sterling] prison holding up to 400 sentenced young offenders aged between 15 and 21. It is run by Premier Custodial Services, a joint venture company owned 50% by Serco Ltd and 50% by Wackenhut Corrections (UK) Ltd, under a 25-year PFI contract.  The criticism came only days after the chancellor, Gordon Brown, said there should be "no principled objection" to further extending the private sector's role in prison management. The failings in Premier's operation of Ashfield were exposed in an inspection report by Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons. Describing her report as "depressing" she found that bullying was rife and that many inmates were "afraid to leave their cells".  A spot-check revealed that nearly half of the inmates remained in their cells during the day, and less than a quarter were in education. Owers said a central problem was the poor quality and low morale of staff because of the inadequate salaries paid by the company.  She also criticised the company for its unwillingness to do anything not in the contract. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on 5 February, Narey said that Premier has lost around 2m [pounds sterling] in revenues so far.  It is the second time that Premier has been warned over its performance at Ashfield in recent years. In December 2001, the company was issued with an improvement notice for noncompliance with the PFI contract. At the time it had the most reported incidents of self-harm in the 15-17-year age group of any young offenders establishment in the UK.  Under the terms of Premier's contract--and normal under PFI deals in the prison sector--the banks that financed the prison's construction decide whether they choose another private operator or allow the public sector to take over.  Local Northavon MP Steve Webb (Liberal Democrat) said the private sector had failed to deliver on even the most basic aspects of the contract. "It is time that the Prison Service took the management of Ashfield back under its control," he said.

February 5, 2003
The reputation of the private sector as a manager of prisons suffered a blow yesterday when the government's Youth Justice Board announced it was withdrawing all sentenced juveniles from the first privately run young offenders' institution.  The board announced its phased withdrawal of 172 young offenders after the chief inspector of prisons published a scathing report on conditions at the Ashfield young offenders' institution near Bristol .  Anne Owers said Premier Prison Services, Ashfield's operator, failed to provide "the minimum requirements of a safe environment".  Describing her report as "probably the most depressing" she has issued in the 18 months she has been in post, Ms Owers found that bullying was not addressed and that many young people were "afraid to leave their cells". A spot-check during her inspection revealed that nearly half of the young inmates remained in their cells during the core day, and less than a quarter were in education.  There was no effective resettlement strategy.  Ms Owers said one of the main underlying problems at Ashfield was the poor quality and low morale of staff because of inadequate salaries paid by the operator.  Some officers at Ashfield had not undergone an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, which is meant to provide better protection against pedophiles.  The Prison Officers' Association, which has always been opposed to privatisation, called for Ashfield to be taken immediately into public ownership.  Brian Caton, the union's general secretary, said Ashfield provided evidence of the "immorality of running private prisons with the emphasis on making profit rather than running a good service on behalf of society".  Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said the "utterly damning report" raised questions as to why the Prison Service had allowed such a situation to develop in the first place.  (Social Affairs Correspondent)

BBC
Aramark, Serco

August 22, 2011 Daily Mail
ALL the old jokes about the BBC canteen are true – and it’s no laughing matter. For years the grub provided cheeky material for stars including Ronnie Corbett, Peter Sellers, Terry Wogan and Les Dawson. Sellers quipped on the Goon show in 1954: “Lunch is now being served in the BBC canteen. Doctors are standing by.” And Wogan regularly refers to his Beeb tea as “the evil brew”. Now, following a Freedom of Information request, the Mirror can reveal things seems to be as bad as ever. More than 130 staff have moaned about catering at TV Centre in the last two years. One claimed to have found animal droppings in a sandwich. He wrote: “I could have been poisoned.” A colleague said he saw a mouse run across the serving counter at breakfast. He said: “It fair put me off the scones.” Another wrote: “Fingers crossed that this time I’d find some meat in the lamb stew. Alas it was not to be.” Gripes about the canteen and other cafes in the West London centre included “dust-dry” toast, “undrinkable” coffee and “shameful” service. And there was an outcry when the Beeb announced it was closing a popular “greasy spoon” van used by workers at nearby Shepherd’s Bush. Catering firm Aramark, which serves 4,500 meals a day, said the complaints represented a tiny percentage. Chief executive Andrew Main insisted: “Most of the feedback we get is entirely positive.”

May 23, 2010  The Daily Telegraph
Under the scheme, the publicly-funded broadcaster handed over footage to inmates who earn just £30 a week rather than members of its own 23,000 staff. Convicts at a privately run Category B jail, the second-highest security level, transferred tapes of old television shows to computer to save them for posterity. Senior staff in the BBC’s archives department visited the jail to watch the work in progress while meetings were held to discuss a landmark deal for the prisoners to digitise all 1million hours of programmes in its vaults. Fearful about the controversy the scheme could cause, the BBC never discussed it publicly and even the broadcasting union, Bectu, was unaware of it. Details were obtained by this newspaper through a Freedom of Information request that took more than four months rather than the usual 20 working days. The BBC insists that it has not given any money to Serco, the private jail operator, for the secret scheme nor signed any contracts, following the pilot project last year. However emails disclosed by the corporation show that it had shown considerable interest in the innovative project proposed by Serco, which runs four prisons in England. The BBC owns more than 1m hours of historic content, some of it decades old and at risk of being lost. It employs 66 people to look after it, at a cost of £5m a year, in its Information and Archives department. The corporation estimates it would take 10 years to safely copy all 100m items in its collection into longer-lasting digital formats. In December 2008 it was approached by Serco to become involved in Artemis – Achieving Rehabilitation Through Establishing a Media Ingest Service – a new project for prisoners to transfer archive documents to computers. Serco said it would provide “high-quality employment” and the chance of an NVQ qualification for inmates and HMP Lowdham Grange, a 628-capacity jail near Nottingham all of whose inmates are serving at least four years. The firm said this would mean it could provide a “stable work force”. The BBC was told it would prove a “very cost-effective” way of digitising its archive, and several meetings were organised to discuss plans. Managers agreed to hand over 20 hours of old videos, including episodes of Horizon and Earth Story, so prisoners could transfer them to computer and also add “meta-data” – typed detailed descriptions of the footage to help producers search through it more easily. The British Library and National Archives also provided material for the pilot project. In September last year, five members of BBC staff visited the jail, where a production workshop had been built, and were reported to be “pleased” with what they saw of the prisoners’ work and enthusiasm. However David Crocker, the driving force behind the scheme at Serco, admitted: “The major concern was around the potential negative newspaper headlines that the BBC may attract.” The company did discuss the scheme with one newspaper and one trade magazine but made no reference to the BBC’s involvement. In November, Mr Crocker told the BBC: “I can’t thank you enough for finding a project for us to kick-start Artemis.” He said his staff were drawing up “terms of reference” and would then “cost the project” of a full-scale digitisation of the BBC’s archive. However no deals have yet been signed. The BBC said: “The BBC did hold discussions with Serco about their planned project to digitise archives. As part of this the BBC, alongside other organisations, provided some material for Serco to use as part of its feasibility study for the project. “No payment was made to Serco as part of this, nor was any guarantee or promise of work entered into. “The BBC has no plans to work with Serco to digitise its programme archive and has not come to any agreements nor signed any contracts with any firms about utilising the prison workforce on any project.”

Bicester Detention Center
Oxford, UK
Group 4

June 11, 2008 Mail on Sunday
The Home Office squandered £29million of taxpayers' money on a flagship giant asylum centre which was never built - including hiring in a 'financial advisor' who charged almost £16,000 a month. A scathing report from MPs exposes a catalogue of costly blunders and lambasts the failing department for a 'startling absence of common sense' in one of its most embarrassing fiascos of recent years. Seven years after officials started working on the ambitious plans to house thousands of asylum seekers on a former RAF station at Bicester, Oxfordshire, the site remains empty and derelict with 'no benefit' to the taxpayer. Vast sums were paid to consultants, private advisors and contractors and when ministers pulled the plug on the entire project in 2005 they were forced to hand over millions more in cancellation fees. Officials failed to understand how fierce local opposition and legal challenges would drag out the process, and made no attempt to plan for future uses of the site or the risk that other immigration policy changes would scupper the scheme. Last night the Home Office claimed the disaster had led to an 'overall positive impact for the public' because officials had learned important lessons. Former Home Secretary David Blunkett announced the scheme in 2001, as part of a strategy to speed up and streamline the creaking asylum system by housing applicants in a series of huge accommodation centres across the country. Thousands were to be placed in the first centre at an isolated site outside Bicester, but crucially it would not be secure and the immigrants would be free to come and go as they pleased. The plans brought a storm of protests, not only from local residents but also from refugee support groups who claimed leaving so many asylum seekers to languish at a remote site, far from any local community, was a disastrous plan. Planning inspectors rejected the plans, but John Prescott used his powers to overturn their decision, further infuriating locals. Finally ministers realised in 2005 that the centre was unnecessary and unworkable, but not before almost £30million of public money had been wasted. The PAC report reveals how the Home Office hired a Financial advisor at a cost of £15,743 per month, and a procurement advisor who was paid £15,559 per month, because no civil servants were judged to have the right expertise. The pair, who have not been named, were paid more than £1.1million for less than three years work, on top of £6.3million paid out to consultants. MPs complained that the Home Office was unable to show whether the highly paid consultants 'added value'. Private contractors Global Solutions Limited were paid £7.6 for design work, but claimed almost £8million in termination fees when the Bicester scheme was axed. PAC chairman Edward Leigh said the project 'embodied lack of foresight, poor business planning and a startling absence of common sense.' He said the scheme was 'always going to provoke opposition in the local community' but the Home Office took no account of that, or of objections from refugee groups, and made no effort to make contact with local interest groups or MPs to discuss objections. Nor did the department realise - until it was too late - that a decline in the number of asylum seekers and some success in speeding up the system meant the centre was increasingly pointless. Last month the Home Office announced plans to build a secure immigration detention centre on the Bicester site, although it will not be open until 2012 at the earliest and will require planning permission. Shadow Immigration Minister, Damian Green, attacked the Bicester debacle as 'a symptom of long-term incompetence by immigration ministers, who failed to notice that asylum numbers were dropping just when they were planning this new centre. 'Their latest plan is to turn the derelict site into a detention centre. I hope they have done their homework better this time.' A Home Office spokesperson said: 'At the time, we believed accommodation centres to be the right decision but as circumstances changed and the project was delayed, we reviewed that decision. 'Our experience with this project has taught us some important lessons, and this, along with the other improvements put in place, has led to an overall positive impact for the public.'

November 8, 2007 The Guardian
A Home Office decision to abandon plans for an asylum accommodation centre near Oxford because of local opposition cost it £28m, including "termination payments" of £7.9m to the private contractor, Whitehall's spending watchdog reveals today. The National Audit Office says that some of the problems faced in trying to open Bicester accommodation centre could have been foreseen - and money saved - if the Home Office had worked in a "more coordinated and joined-up way". The report also discloses that despite a four-year battle by local residents against the project, it is still being considered whether the site can be used as a detention centre for failed asylum seekers who face deportation. The plan to set up a 10-strong network of purpose-built accommodation centres holding 3,000 asylum seekers was announced by the then home secretary, David Blunkett, at a time when asylum applications were at a record high, as part of a plan to disperse them from London and the south-east of England. Bicester was earmarked as one of the first but it met fierce local opposition and planning permission was not secured until November 2004. By then, the number of asylum seekers coming to Britain had halved. The Home Office accounting officer advised that it was no longer economically viable and the project was cancelled in June 2005. The NAO inquiry found that £33m had been spent in total on the accommodation centres, including £28m on Bicester alone. The report reveals that the successful bid by GSL, formerly Group 4, for the contract to build the 750-bed centre for £59.9m was nearly £25m cheaper than the bid from rival private security company UKDS. After the project was cancelled GSL was handed "termination payments" of £7.9m. It had already been paid £7.6m for design work. Edward Leigh, the chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, said that £28m had been spent on "the asylum centre that never was". Mr Leigh said: "The Home Office drove ahead with a project to build a network of asylum accommodation centres without an eye on what was happening to the numbers of those seeking asylum in the UK.

Birmingham Prison
Birmingham, UK
Group 4
Dec 22, 2016 itv.com
'I died three times' Birmingham ex-prisoner speaks out after riots
A former Birmingham Prison inmate has revealed how he died three times after taking illegal drugs behind bars. Ricky Wood, who collapsed inside the Winson Green jail three weeks ago, says his family was not told when the incident happened. He accused private prison firm G4S of trying to cover up a drug epidemic inside the jail. Wood’s life was saved by paramedics who revived him and took him to Birmingham’s City Hospital. His family, from Tamworth, confirmed they were not told of the emergency. Instead, it was left to the 28-year-old inmate to break the news to them himself. He had taken Black Mamba, a so-called ‘legal high’ before it was banned. Wood, who was freed from the prison on the day of the riots, recalled: I just remember breathing it in. Next thing I knew, I had woken up in cuffs at hospital where I was told I had died three times. They said my airwaves had closed up, my heart stopped and I had to be revived three times. They have since told my mum that they would only have called her if my condition had worsened. I’m not sure how much worse it could have got. The only reason they would have called my mum is to identify my body. I think it’s part of an attempt to keep everything quiet about all the Mamba incidents. They don’t want people to know what’s happening. An official report by the prison watchdog in October said bosses at Birmingham needed to find an “urgent solution” to stop inmates smuggling drugs – particularly psychoactive substances such as Mamba and Spice – warning that staff were increasingly concerned about their personal safety. Birmingham Prison boss Jerry Petherick says that drugs such as Black Mamba are the 'scourge' of the prison service – and he admits that a ‘very small minority’ of prison staff have been involved in bringing the drugs into the jail. Mr Petherick, managing director for G4S Custody and Detention Services, said he ‘despised’ corrupt guards. A very small minority of staff are corrupted in this way, but this does not just happen in Birmingham, it’s across the board. We want to root these people out because we absolutely despise them. These drugs are relatively cheap on the outside, and you can magnify that value by at least ten times inside prisons. In some cases we have people breaching licences, knowing they will be sent to custody, so they can act as mules to bring these drugs in. We have seen incredibly bad reactions from prisoners who take the drugs. These psychoactive substances are the scourge of the entire prison service. When they take them, the prisoners go through bursts of extreme energy, and we have feared many will not pull through. There is now a police investigation going on into some very violent behaviour. We will work closely with the police and the CPS to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice for what happened. We have to learn from these events in a mature and positive way and then move forward. He revealed that HMP Birmingham has shipped out nearly a third of all its prisoners in the wake of last week’s rioting. Some 500 inmates have been moved to 30 prisons across the country and all four damaged wings remain closed. The cost of the damage is still being counted. Mr Petherick added that he had been “truly humbled” by the bravery his staff had shown during the riots. There had been ‘unbelievable acts of bravery’ – and some have been traumatised by what they experienced. He also praised West Midlands Police, the Prison Service and other emergency services.

Dec 20, 2016 theguardian.com
G4S must pay for cost of Birmingham prison riot, says Liz Truss
The private security company G4S will have to foot the bill for the public sector Tornado special squads sent in to end the 12-hour riot at its Birmingham prison, the justice secretary has said.  An inquiry has been launched into one of the worst prison disturbances since the 1990 riots at Manchester’s Strangeways prison. After Friday’s events, 380 prisoners have been moved out of the wrecked wings of HMP Birmingham to other jails across England. The dispersal of prisoners led to two incidents at Hull prison on Sunday and a further incident at Cardiff. The Prison Service’s “gold command” headquarters operation is remaining in place, monitoring all prisons in England and Wales for signs of potential unrest. Liz Truss told MPs that insufficient staffing levels, a rise in new psychoactive drugs, gangs and bullying lay at the root of the Birmingham riot, adding they were common problems across public and private prisons: “The next few months will be difficult,” the justice secretary told MPs. “It will take time and concerted action, but I am confident we can turn this situation around.” Labour MPs pressed Truss over whether warnings from the independent monitoring board at Birmingham had been acted on. They questioned her about the impact of a £700m budget cut and a reduction of 7,000 prison officers on the stability of the Prison Service. Labour’s justice spokesman, Richard Burgon, said the riot should prompt the government to review the running of prisons by private companies such as G4S and Serco. Truss said G4S would have to pay the cost of the public resources that were used, including 10 Tornado teams of highly trained officers deployed to retake control of the prison. She told MPs that the Birmingham riot started at 9.15am on Friday, when six prisoners in N wing climbed on to netting. Truss said: “When staff intervened, one them had their keys snatched. At that point, staff withdrew for their own safety. Prisoners then gained control of the wing and subsequently of P wing. “G4S immediately deployed two Tornado teams. At 11.29am, gold command was opened, and a further seven additional Tornado teams were dispatched to the prison. At 1.30pm, prisoners gained access to two more wings. Gold command made the decision that further reinforcements were needed and dispatched an additional four Tornado teams to the prison.” She said that paramedics and staff tried to help an injured prisoner shortly after 3pm but were prevented from doing so and the afternoon was spent preparing to take back control of the wings. “At 8.35pm, 10 Tornado teams of highly trained officers swept through the wings,” she said. “Shortly after 10pm, the teams had secured all four wings. The prisoner who had previously been reported injured was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital, along with two other prisoners.” The inquiry into the prison riot will be carried out by Sarah Payne, an adviser to the chief inspector of probation and a former director of the Welsh Prison Service. Although Truss repeatedly refused to confirm that she had read the Birmingham prison watchdog’s report in October, which warned of the need for urgent action to tackle understaffing and the spread of “black mamba” psychoactive drugs, she said the issues had been discussed with the prison governor. The justice secretary’s Commons statement followed a renewed warning from the president of the independent monitoring board, John Thornhill, that insufficient staff numbers lay behind the rising levels of violence in prisons in England and Wales. “It is the board’s view, echoed by prison staff, that there are insufficient staff numbers to deal with many of the day-to-day situations that occur in a local prison … The result, as we have seen in recent weeks, is an increase in riots that damage the system individuals,” he said. “The impact of this unrestrained violence is that a large number of prisoners have to be transferred to other prisons that are already stretched with their own problems and staffing issues.” Truss will publish a prison and courts bill in the new year to introduce wide-ranging reform and to build on the recruitment of 2.500 extra prison officers.

Dec 17, 2016 ibtimes.co.uk
Up to 240 inmates at HMP Birmingham to be moved after 12-hour riot
Up to 240 prisoners will be transferred out of HMP Birmingham after a 12-hour riot at the jail. Nearly 600 inmates were believed to be involved in the disturbance at the privately run prison on Friday (16 December), after a warden was allegedly threatened with a syringe and had his keys stolen. The Ministry of Justice confirmed control was regained at roughly 10.30pm after specialist riot squads from across the country were drafted in. Truss confirmed on Saturday (17 December) there will now be a full investigation into the riot. "I want to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the prison officers who resolved this disturbance," she said, reported the BBC. "This was a serious situation and a thorough investigation will now be carried out. "Violence in our prisons will not be tolerated and those responsible will face the full force of the law." Mike Rolfe, national chairman of the Prison Officers Association, said the flare-up was not unexpected as more than 30 staff had left the prison, which is run by the controversial contractor G4S, in recent weeks. "We've been warning for a long time about the crisis in prisons and what we are seeing at Birmingham is not unique to Birmingham, but it certainly would seem that this is the most recent worst incident since the 1990 Strangeways riot," he said. He added that was "another stark warning to the Ministry of Justice that the service is in crisis". During the disturbance, the BBC was contacted by several men claiming to be prisoners at the jail, who said poor conditions were behind the disturbance. The men, who said they were calling from inside HMP Birmingham, cited inadequate staff numbers, poor healthcare and nutrition. They said being on "lockdown" in their cells all day was a major factor that contributed to the trouble. It was the fourth riot at the prison in six weeks. Truss's comments that inmates would "face the full force of the law" drew immediate criticism on social media for failing to tackle the heart of the problem. On Twitter, Jane Turnball said: "Liz Truss says those responsible for prison riots will 'face the full force of the law'. Does that include G4S, MoJ and George Osborne?"

Dec 16, 2016 rt.com
Winson Green: Riot spreads in privately-run Birmingham prison
Riot police and ambulances were called to a privately-run jail in Birmingham amid reports of developing protests and rioting on Friday. It is understood that around 400 men were involved in the disturbances. “Our teams withdrew following a disturbance and sealed two wings, which include some administrative offices,” said G4S custodial and detention services managing director Jerry Petherick. “The disturbance has since spread to two further wings. All staff have been accounted for. “Additional officers have arrived on site and we have deployed canine units within the prison. West Midlands Police helicopter is also in attendance. We are working with colleagues across the service to bring this disturbance to a safe conclusion.” HMP Birmingham, also known as Winson Green, is run by security giant G4S. The incident is said to have started after 9am on Friday, and originally involved two of the prison’s wings, which can hold up to 250 inmates each. It spread to two more wings in the early afternoon. The prison, which stands close to the city center, can host up to 1,450 adult men. The unrest is believed to have started in wings N and P and spread to wings L and M, while the rest of the prison was put on lockdown. “It is not under control and potentially is getting worse but we cannot confirm this,” said the national chair of the Prison Officers Association (POA), Mike Rolfe. “We know a set of keys containing a cell key have been taken so prisoners are potentially opening up cells. We also know there are no staff injuries and all are accounted for.”

Jul 9, 2016 birminghammail.co.uk
Riot squad officers sent into Winson Green prison
West Midlands Police deny incident linked to “unexplained” death of prisoner in a different wing at G4S controlled prison A squad of specialist prison service riot officers was sent into Birmingham prison after a stand-off between a prisoner and staff. G4S, which operates HM Prison Birmingham, confirmed the incident happened on Friday night but denied that it was linked to the “unexplained” death of a prisoner in a different wing earlier in the day. Police were called to the Winson Green prison at 1pm on Friday after a prisoner - who has not been named - was found dead in his cell on L wing. Police have confirmed they are treating the death as “unexplained” and a post mortem examination is due to take place next week. Sources inside the prison had claimed that a number of prisoners had been involved in a protest later in the day on B wing. But G4S said one person had climbed on to safety netting and added that it was not connected to the earlier death. They also confirmed that a team of prison riot officers - known as a tornado squad - had been deployed to deal with the protestor. It said that the stand-off ended when the prisoner came down just after midnight. G4S had tweeted a number of statements, which said: “Sadly a prisoner was found unresponsive at 12.30pm and pronounced dead shortly after. Their next of kin have been informed. “We are supporting staff and prisoners, particularly on the affected wing. The wider regime is uninterrupted. As with every death in custody, it will be investigated by the Ombudsman. Prisoner-staff forums have taken place. And on Friday night it said: “There is an incident at height involving one prisoner on B-wing. Evening meal was served and rest of the wing is running as normal.” A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “Police were called to HM Prison Birmingham at 1pm on Friday after a man was found dead in his cell. “His death is currently being treated as unexplained. “A forensic post mortem examination will take place in due course to determine the cause of death. This is standard protocol for all prison deaths.”

Mar 22, 2015 newstatesman.com
Frances Crook, chief executive of the independent penal reform charity Howard League, has had two visits to privately-run prisons cancelled. She published the letter from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) on Twitter: It acknowledges that she was invited by the security firm G4S to visit two of their prisons, but denies her access given her "comments about private prisons". Her charity is opposed to prisons being in private hands. Outrage directed at the Ministry of Justice among a diverse range of politicians, including Labour shadow cabinet member Sadiq Khan, Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert and Ukip's Mark Reckless, ensued after Crook posted the letter online. She also wrote a piece on the website politics.co.uk about her cancelled visits, with the headline: "I've been barred from visiting a G4S prison". In the piece, she writes that a G4S representative invited her to see Oakwood, a high-profile prison that has suffered much controversy since being taken over by the company, and Birmingham, the first Victorian prison to be handed over to the private sector. I met a senior staffer from G4S in the studio of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme a few weeks ago when we were putting forward different views on privatisation and he invited me to visit Oakwood and Birmingham to see for myself. I was due to visit next week and had bought my train tickets. It was therefore a bit of a shock to get the letter from NOMS saying they were banning me. You know what they say, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Crook received the letter on Friday this week, about an hour before putting it online. She tells me that her train tickets are booked to visit the two prisons on the same day: Monday 30 March. The plan was for her to be escorted for two to three hours around each prison by G4S staff at all times. She tells me she was invited three to four weeks ago, but only found that "NOMS was banning me from visiting" when she received the letter. She is "still considering" her response to the Ministry, but tells me, "I hope they will reconsider." She adds: "Members of parliament have got in touch with me and said they will take it up with the Minister for me. There are two on the Twitter feed: an interesting alliance, Julian Huppert from the Lib Dems, and Mark Reckless. And Sadiq Khan has also retweeted. There may well be others. It's right across the spectrum, people saying this is wrong." Crook, who has visited almost every prison in the country during her 25 years working "in the system", was interested to see how the private sector had affected each of the prisons. Having visited Birmingham prior to the G4S takeover, she wanted to see "how it had changed". Her organisation's view is that prisons should not be run by the private sector. "I know some of the private sector prisons actually do some quite good work, and I've always said that," she says. "That's not the point; they shouldn't be doing it. If you take away someone's freedom, it is the state's responsibility. "So it's not that it's a better prison or a worse prison, the point is they shouldn't be doing it. And that's the distance between us. But we can have a grown-up discussion about that." Regarding her cancelled visits, she says: "I go to prisons all the time. I entirely understand that prisons are places where people live and work, and you don't want to troop around out of prurient curiosity. We don't take groups around prisons to have a gawp. I think that's wrong. "But I work in the system, have done for 25 years. It's really important if we're going to commentate and do research that we know what's going on. The critique from someone who's impartial is really important. Our independence is incredibly important and it can be very uncomfortable for government sometimes. But I think that's our job: speaking truth to power is our job." Yet a spokesperson for the Prison Service warns that "those who irresponsibly misrepresent" the situation in prisons with "inaccurate comments" are unlikely to be first on the invitation list. They commented: Organisations and individuals independent of the Ministry of Justice and Prison Service are frequently given access to our prisons - Inspectors, Monitoring Boards, MPs, researchers and a wide range of interest and reform groups. It is absolutely right that prisons, like all public institutions, face significant media scrutiny and we welcome public debate on the issues they face. Groups and individuals are of course entitled to express their opinions. Those who irresponsibly misrepresent the situation by making inaccurate comments, and who fail to correct them when their inaccuracy is pointed out to them, are not a priority for access to prisons. But Crooks insists on her expertise: "The problem with NOMS, and perhaps it goes to ministers - who knows? - is that actually I think they're being very immature, they're being petulant, and that's not a good way to behave. Take criticism on the chin. It's informed criticism. I know what I'm talking about, I know prisons."


28 Jun 2013 birminghammail.co.uk

Broken bones, scalding and stab wounds, attacks inside HMP Birmingham prison have increased  by 46 per cent since 2010. Violence inside Birmingham prison has soared by almost 50 per cent in the last three years according to figures obtained by the Mail. Total assaults at the privately run prison reached 225 last year – up 46 per cent from 2010 when 154 attacks were recorded. The 1,450 capacity HMP Birmingham in Winson Green, which was the first in the country to be taken over by private security firm G4S in October 2011, also saw assaults on staff members rise by 27 per cent between 2010 and 2012. The figures, released to the Mail by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), under the Freedom of Information Act include a serious incident last year at the Winson Green prison where four officers were stabbed and slashed by a crazed inmate wielding broken glass. All four victims needed hospital treatment after the improvised rampage in which the prisoner armed himself with glass shards from a broken TV screen. While some of the other attacks involved biting, punching and kicking, in many cases an array of horrifying weapons were used. According to the MoJ these included blunt instruments, unspecified dangerous liquids, knives, spitting, furniture and even food. Injuries sustained in the hundreds of assaults included broken bones, scalding, stab wounds, extensive bruising, and cuts requiring stitching. Insiders at the prison told the Mail in December that there had been a catalogue of attacks in the last 12 months. The officer, who did not want to be named, claimed that paramedics had regularly been called to treat injured staff and convicts at the Category B prison. Mark Leech, one of Britain’s leading ex-offender expert on prisons, said the increase in incidents can be partly blamed on issues around privatisation. He said: “It always takes time for a new prison to bed down and that is effectively what has happened at Birmingham since the privatisation in 2011. “You will see an increase in control problems, arrests and violence in those early days and I think these figures show part of those problems. “Birmingham is a big inner city prison, which will have complex drug, gang and violence problems that are brought in from the streets. You need to have sophisticated staffing to deal with these problems and it may take two or three years to get to grips with the issues and for a relationship to be built between the new operators, inherited staff and the prisoners themselves. “There is no doubt that there will also have been a problem concerning staff members who were not happy to be passing over from the public to the private sector. “There will also have been a problem with newer staff who simply lack the experience to deal with the issues faced at a prison like Birmingham.” Mr Leech has been the editor of the prisons handbook for the last 15 years, but spent 20 years behind bars himself before his last release in 1995. He also warned that the reporting of incidents in the private sector was much more stringent than the reporting requirements in the public sector. He added: “It is important to say that there is very strict reporting requirements for a company like G4S. “The types of incidents that have to be reported is still slightly out of step with public sector prisons and that could have a bearing on some of these figures. “There is a high level of scrutiny about what happens on a daily basis. There is an argument to say that the public sector should be abiding by the same levels of reporting about violence and assaults inside prisons. “Having said all that, it’s important that these figures are revealed and that a violence reduction strategy is put in place to deal with the issues of assaults inside the prison. “The prison service in the public and private sectors has an obligation and a legal duty to keep people in their custody and their staff safe. “A proper strategy to deal with these issues will benefit both the prisoners and the staff at the prison. “On top of that there is the very real financial cost in all this. We are seeing an increase in huge payouts to prisoners. “There has been big payouts for injuries sustained by prisoners across the country and those costs are enormous for the state.” A spokesman for G4S said a government report released last year found that the prison was a “safer and more decent place to be” since the firm took over at the end of 2011. He also said the most serious violent incidents had not increased under the new regime. He added: “The level of serious assaults has not risen under G4S management, and a government report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons found HMP Birmingham to be a ‘safer and more decent place’ since we had taken over. “The care and safety of our staff and the people in our care will always be our overriding concern and we would never take any decisions which might put this jeopardy.” A report released earlier this year by the Independent Monitoring Board at Birmingham said staff morale had plunged in Birmingham since privatisation. The report, which covers the period between July 2011 and June 2012, said: “The changes (privatisation) have proved part of a difficult adjustment in culture, and it is undoubtedly the case that some staff have not yet fully accepted them. “The effect on staff morale across the prison has been severe.” Four police officers are now permanently based at Birmingham prison to combat crime behind bars. Two detectives and two intelligence officers from West Midlands Police work closely with G4S, to combat issues like violence, drug smuggling and the illegal use and possession of mobile phones.

Jan 9 2013 Birmingham Post
A new report into Birmingham Prison says staff morale has plunged since privatisation – with guards also struggling to deal with rising numbers of sex offenders. The Independent Monitoring Board released its first full annual report since the 1,450 capacity HMP BIrmingham, in Winson Green, was taken over by security firm G4S in October 2011. Major recommendations include the need for extra capacity to deal with a ‘big increase’ in sex offenders, the need to replace hospital beds first promised in 2008 and the reduction of category D prisoners at the category B prison. The report, which covers the period between July 2011 and June 2012, says: “The changes (privatisation) have proved part of a difficult adjustment in culture, and it is undoubtedly the case that some staff have not yet fully accepted them. “The effect on staff morale across the prison has been severe.” The report goes on to say that staffing problems have been exacerbated by time owed and long and short-term sickness, which has averaged at 40 and 24 days respectively. The Board said the Secretary of State needed to “give urgent consideration to extra places in the system to accommodate the growing number of sex offenders that are coming into the establishment through the resolution of historical sex offence cases, growth of internet pornography and more cases of rape being prosecuted. “Suitable numbers of prison places need to be provided at establishments which can offer appropriate rehabilitatory programmes for these offenders.” The report also said the number of Category D prisoners is too high for the Category B prison, which is an ‘inappropriate’ place to hold them. In June 2012 the prison had 40 Category D prisoners. Other findings included poor use of the library because of a lack of available staff to escort prisoners. The report also highlighted problems with vermin, including rats, mice and cockroaches, most noticeably in the kitchen, offices and on the wings. Yet the Board did highlight some positive areas, including the conversion of J Wing to use as the older prisoner and social care unit, a move which could be seen as a ‘model’ for other prisons. Pete Small, G4S, Director of HMP Birmingham, said: “As the first prison to transfer from public to private management, HMP Birmingham has faced many challenges and we are pleased that the Board has recognised the efforts we have made to make the transition as smooth as possible. “The Board’s report covers a 12-month period up to last summer, and since that time action has taken to address many of the issues raised in the report. ‘‘We have introduced effective and robust pest control measures; ageing catering and kitchen equipment that we inherited has been replaced and repaired; and with the provision of new all-weather pitches we have improved the sporting facilities available to prisoners. “There are undoubtedly challenges to overcome at Birmingham. “We continue to work closely with our staff and their representatives to work through issues.”

January 23, 2012 BBC
A prison officer has been arrested by police investigating missing keys at the privatised HMP Birmingham. Inmates were locked in their cells for almost 24 hours after a master set of keys went missing in October. West Midlands Police confirmed that a man in his 30s was arrested in December and has been released on bail while investigations continue. G4S, which runs the privatised prison, said it was aware a member of staff was helping police with their enquiries. The company said it would not comment further while the matter was subject to an investigation. HMP Birmingham, in Winson Green, is the first jail in the country to be transferred to the private sector.

October 21, 2011 BBC
Birmingham Prison inmates were locked in their cells for almost a full day after a set of keys fitting every cell door went missing. Keys to the jail, which was taken over earlier this month by private security firm G4S, disappeared on Tuesday. The firm said all prisons had established contingency plans for incidents of this nature and there was no risk to public safety. The jail is the first in the UK to be transferred to the private sector. It is not known if the keys have since been found or what action is now being taken at the prison.

Bronzefield Women's Prison
Ashford, West London
Kalyx (Sodexho)
Jul 22, 2016 rawstory.com
Private prison inmate dies of an overdose after calling for help for two hours
An inmate at a private prison in England died after apparently overdosing on prescription drugs after trying to alert prison authorities for more than two hours.  On Friday, The Guardian reported that Natasha Chin, a 41-year-old inmate at the Bronzefield female prison in Surrey, England, was found dead in her cell earlier this week after prison staff said she had been ringing her alarm bell for two and a half hours. Prison staff at Bronzefield, which is run by the multinational food corporation Sodexo attempted CPR, but pronounced Chin dead at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.  The Guardian notes that Chin was recovering from surgery, and was taking the prescription medication to help her recuperate. The inmate was apparently released from prison in April, but was apparently recalled to Bronzefield three days before her death. There has been a recent increase in the amount of self-harm incidents involving female prisoners in the UK, The Guardian wrote: In 2014-15 there were 191 incidents of self-harm per 100 female prisoners, and 30% of women self-harmed, compared to 10% of men in prison, according to official figures (pdf). In all there were 7,415 incidents of self-harm by women in prison, an increase of 11% on the previous year. According to figures from the the UK’s Ministry of Justice, Bronzefield is the most expensive private female prison in England and Wales, with the with the ministry paying Sodexo £64,445 [$84,433] per inmate per year. Deborah Coles, the co-director of the UK-based charity Inquest, which provides support to the loved ones of prisoners who die in custody, told The Guardian that “Bronzefield is a private prison, being paid vast amounts of public money.” She said that the new head of the Ministry of Justice should visit Bronzefield “and ask questions as to why they are seemingly incapable of keeping women safe.” According to the Center for Media and Democracy’s public interest wiki SoureWatch, Sodexo — a multinational food corporation with headquarters in France — had invested in the private prison company Corrections Corporations of America from 1994 to 2001, but cut its ties to the US private prison industry after facing public outcry from numerous university campuses. SourceWatch notes, however, that Sodexo is still heavily invested in the private prison industry in Europe. But private prisons are still a booming industry in the US, having profited off of mass incarceration rates due to the Drug War, as Raw Story reported in April. The demonization of marijuana by the Reagan administration led to overcrowding in state and federal prisons. Between 1980 and 2011, the state and federal prison population increased from 316,000 to 1.5 million, with another 700,000 in locally run jails. That’s when the largest private prison companies known as CCA and GEO Group realized there was big money to be made by signing contracts with states that simply didn’t have the resources to imprison the influx of non-violent drug offenders. America’s cultural disease of criminalizing rather than rehabilitating its citizens deepened. Raw Story noted that private prisons are often funded by taxpayers at the state level, which allows for their parent companies to become enormously wealthy. Just last year, the CCA raked in $1.79 in revenue. The controversy surrounding the private prison industry has even made it into the US general election cycle. Raw Story reported that in March, Donald Trump, now the GOP’s presidential nominee, said that the prison system can best be reformed through privatization. “I do think we can do a lot of privatizations, and private prisons it seems to work a lot better,” Trump said. The Intercept also wrote that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, reportedly cut ties to private prison lobbyists after activist groups criticized her about accepting donations from the industry. But as The Intercept noted in June, Damon Hininger, the CEO of Corrections Corporations of America, told an investor forum that month that his business will profit regardless of who is in the White House. “I would say that being around 30 years and being in operation in many, many states, and also doing work with the federal government going back to the 1980s, where you had Clinton White House, you had a Bush White House, you had Obama White House, we’ve done very, very well,” he said.

September 22, 2009 The Sun
STAFF at a jail blasted for lax security were sent on a training day to learn how to lock cells and gates. Bronzefield, Britain's largest private female prison, was fined an estimated £250,000 in the last two years for more than 100 security breaches. The latest saw blueprints for an extension at the Category A jail in Ashford, Middlesex, floating in the wind after a bin bag burst. The crisis got so bad, employees were sent on a training course in the nick - as some of the 465 cons chanted: "You don't know what you're doing." Internal documents seen by The Sun revealed blunders, including leaving cells and gates unlocked and escorting the wrong prisoner to court. Prison director Helga Swidenbank called the level of security breaches "unacceptably high" in one memo to staff. In another, deputy director Charlotte Pattison-Rideout told officers: "Failing to secure gates and doors increases the possibility of staff assaults, hostage incidents and escapes." Shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve said: "It is an utter shambles." Kalyx, which runs Bronzefield, said: "We have strict procedures and training in place to ensure security measures are followed."

March 6, 2009 Staines News
The 'underhand' expansion of Bronzefield prison in Ashford has angered neighbours who say they were promised it would never grow any bigger. Cranes are towering over the women's jail in Woodthorpe Road and prefabricated cells are being brought in daily as a new block is built to house 77 extra inmates. But residents who live close to the high-security prison - which has been home to serial killer Rose West - claim they were told it would never house more than the 450 prisoners it was built for in 2004. John Hitchins, of Woodthorpe Road, said: "All we need is another 70-odd Rose Wests across the road. It was bad enough when they built it in the first place but to be fed this rubbish that they weren't going to make it any bigger and then see the prefabricated cells carted past my front door is just a joke. They have been so sneaky and underhanded." The two-storey block is being built within the existing perimeter wall, along with a new all weather sports pitch. Permission for the development was granted in 2007 but residents say they have no recollection of being told about the proposals. Penny Vincent, who has lived opposite the prison for more than 15 years, said: "I don't remember hearing anything about it. It wasn't advertised in the newspapers and I think we should have had some sort of notification. "I am sure it's growing faster than ever anticipated. It's not an expansion of their land but it's still far bigger then they ever said it would be." A spokesman for Kalyx, the private company that runs Bronzefield, said: "Additional prisoner accommodation is being built at HMP Bronzefield which will be within the current prison boundaries.

March 2, 2006 The Sun
A LIVE bullet has been found in the jail holding House of Horrors killer Rose West. It was the second security scare at all-women Bronzefield Prison in Ashford, West London, which earlier freed a jailbird by mistake. The jail was locked down for eight hours after the bullet discovery and all 450 prisoners were confined to their cells. Explosives experts and sniffer dogs helped to scour the £200million private prison from top to bottom, but nothing more was found.

February 27, 2006 The Sun
THE private jail holding serial killer Rose West freed a prisoner by mistake, it was revealed yesterday. The woman, who was facing drugs charges, was on the loose for four days after the blunder. Livid Home Office chiefs have ordered a major probe into the first “escape” from state-of-the-art Bronzefield women’s prison in Ashford, West London. The £200million jail run by UKDS opened two years ago. West, 52, moved there from Durham jail last year. She is locked up forever for the Gloucestershire murders of ten girls, including her daughter Heather, 16. The freed lag was released after being told to gather her belongings. A source yesterday said: “This is the first time a con has escaped from Bronzefield and it was all the prison’s fault. “It wasn’t a case of mistaken identity. It was either rank incompetence or a paperwork error. “It would be catastrophic if Rose West was released by mistake. “She has changed her appearance dramatically by shedding three stone and ditching her thick specs for contact lenses.” The freed 40-year-old lag, being held on remand, was returned to Bronzefield earlier this month. UKDS last night declined to comment.

Brook House
Sussex, UK
Group 4
July 12, 2010 The Guardian
Conditions at the privately run immigration deportation centre at Gatwick airport are fundamentally unsafe, according to a damning report by the chief inspector of prisons published today. Dame Anne Owers says that a year after the opening of G4S-run Brook House immigration removal centre she and her inspection team were disturbed to find one of the least safe immigration detention facilities that had been inspected. Her report says bullying and violence were serious problems at the time of their inspection in March and – unusually for immigration detention centres – drugs were also a serious problem. Those who were about to be deported or had been recalcitrant were placed in two oppressive holding rooms, which are windowless and seatless. Owers says they should be decommissioned immediately. Many of the 400 male detainees held at Brook House are ex-prisoners facing deportation. A number of them told the inspectors their experience at the removal centre was worse than their time in prison. "Our surveys, interviews and observations all evidenced a degree of despair amongst detainees about safety at Brook House which we have rarely encountered. At the time of the inspection, Brook House was an unsafe place," says Owers's report. Although the centre – which is built to the same standards as a category B prison – is designed to hold detainees for no more than 72 hours, the report says the average time spent in Brook House is three months, with one man having been there for 10 months. Its design as a short-term holding centre meant there was insufficient activity or education facilities. A significant number of staff left after an outbreak of serious disorder in June last year when detainees started fires and damaged one wing. "While many staff tried hard to maintain order and control, many felt embattled and some lacked the confidence to manage bad behaviour," says the report. "A number of staff reported feeling unsupported by managers, detainees claimed that some staff were bullied by more difficult detainees." The result was a confrontational approach in the treatment of detainees with a high use of force, separation often used as punishment, – which is against detention centre rules – and restrictions on freedom of movement in an attempt to combat violence. The report says force had been used to restrain detainees by staff 78 times in the previous six months. The chief inspector said force was generally used in line with approved techniques. However on one recent occasion a detainee was moved to temporary confinement after urinating through his door. The report says: "The officer's own record read: 'I entered first with the shield. A was standing up by the table and I hit him with the shield.' Another officer in the team had recorded that (officer N) used the shield to hold the detainee against the table in the room. Detainee folded his arms behind the shield." In a later incident in the same the same officer N is recorded having used his shield to pin a detainee to his bed. The chief inspector also details the use of the separation unit and cites the case of a detainee who was taken to a psychiatric institution after more than 80 days in separation for disturbed and disruptive behaviour. "The challenges of opening a new immigration removal centre should not be underestimated, particularly with inexperienced staff and challenging detainees, many of them ex-prisoners," said Owers. "But none of this can excuse the fundamentally unsafe state of Brook House, which must be urgently addressed by G4S and United Kingdom border agency."

June 13, 2009 BBC
A fire was started and "disorder" broke out at a wing of an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, Sussex police said. Officers said there were reports of minor damage and a blaze in the exercise yard at Brook House, which houses 312 people awaiting deportation. No-one is believed to be hurt and the fire is said to have burnt itself out. The force said "disorder" involving 30 detainees started at about 2250 BST and was confined to one wing. Officers were called in to support security firm G4S. 'No risk' -- G4S, with the help of HM Prison Service, currently manages the welfare of detainees inside the centre, the police said. Ch Insp Ed Henriet, of Gatwick Police, said: "Sussex Police is supporting the security arrangements. All detainees are accounted for and there is no risk to the wider community." A second fire, that was unrelated to the first, according to a spokesperson for G4S, was also started by "one of the detainees setting fire to his bedding" on Saturday afternoon. It was extinguished using sprinklers and fire extinguishers. The spokesperson added that a detainee who assisted in putting out the fire was "slightly injured" and the fire had delayed some detainees being fed. The then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith opened Brook House, which can house up to 426 people, in March. It is situated next to Tinsley House, a 136-bed detention centre.


Brixton Prison
Securicor
June 11, 2003
Companies like Securicor and Group 4 were first awarded contracts to carry prisoners between jails and courts 10 years ago.  Since then, several of their charges have escaped either from courts or from vans en route.  (BBC News)

June 10, 2003
Three prisoners are on the run after escaping from a security van during an armed hijack in south London.  Armed men reportedly disguised as postmen stopped the Securicor van, shooting the driver in the knee and hitting a guard with a gun.  A Prison Service spokesman said: "The driver was threatened by a man with a shotgun who proceeded to shoot the driver in the knee through the door of the van.  "The other security staff on board, the passenger, was pistol-whipped.  (BBC News)

Castle Crown Court
Global Solutions Limited
August 5, 2004
A WORKINGTON man who admitted a series of sex offences against a teenage girl slashed his forearm moments later in the cells at Carlisle Crown Court, it has emerged.  But just minutes after the judge presiding over the case warned the 35-year-old that a prison sentence was inevitable, Carruthers used a prison razor blade to cut his arm.  (News and Star)

Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre
Oxford, England
GEO Group (formerly run by Group 4, Global Solutions)
Feb 6, 2015 OurKingdom
New report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons on Campsfield House, run by outsourcer Mitie, reveals:

• 16 year old detained ‘by mistake’

• Torture victims held in defiance of Home Office rules

• Dirty, overcrowded accommodation

Still from Standoff Films: Campsfield House: An Immigration Removal Centre'  When prisons inspectors paid a surprise visit to Campsfield House immigration lock-up last August they found asylum seekers living in dirty, overcrowded conditions and torture survivors locked up in violation of Home Office rules. And they discovered that a child had been wrongfully imprisoned for 62 days.

Still, their report on Campsfield, which is run by the outsourcer Mitie, concludes that “overall this was a very positive inspection”, giving some indication of the standards expected of the Home Office’s commercial contractors. In their report, published this week, the inspectors noted that three children were held at Campsfield between 2012 and 2013 in contravention of government policy. One boy was assessed by social services as being an adult and held for 62 days. He was released only after he obtained legal representation and his solicitor threatened the social services department with a judicial review. Social workers then made a second assessment and concluded that the boy was 16 years old. The inspectors said that he “was held by mistake and should never have been detained”. They said Mitie’s policy on safeguarding children was “up to date and comprehensive”, but there was no named member of staff who took the lead on safeguarding children. Mitie told the inspectors that some staff had “taken an e-learning package” in child safeguarding, but the company was “unable to provide exact figures”. The inspectors noted: “A member of staff was to attend training with Oxfordshire’s local safeguarding children board after our inspection.” Overcrowding was a problem. “Too many detainees lived in cramped conditions, with four sharing accommodation designed for two,” the inspectors wrote. What’s more: “The dining area was not big enough for the number of detainees using it and hygiene in the kitchen required improvement … The laundry was not big enough for the population. During our inspection two washing machines did not work and detainees said this was a regular occurrence.” Ironically, given that Mitie is best known as a cleaning company, the report recommended: “Toilets and showers in all residential units should be deep cleaned … some toilets and showers were very dirty and needed maintenance ... bed linen was in poor condition and we saw soiled pillows and mattresses.” Perhaps these problems arose in part from the fact that Mitie is paying the detainees just £1 per hour to do these jobs. The inspectors found 24 detainees worked in the dirty kitchen, and in total “Seventy-four job roles, totalling 1265 hours of paid work per week, were offered ... Opportunities included cleaning, kitchen and laundry work”. The inspectors found that asylum-seekers who had suffered torture were being locked up at Campsfield, in defiance of Home Office rules. Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules (a statutory instrument) requires doctors working in detention centres to inform the detaining authority of persons who may have been victims of torture. On receipt of such evidence (in what’s known as a Rule 35 report), the responsible official is required to consider this information and release the person. But at Campsfield the screening process “failed adequately to safeguard the most vulnerable detainees, including those who had been tortured.” The inspectors found that doctors’ reports were incomplete, and “did not provide adequate clinical judgements to inform caseworkers’ decisions”.  “In two separate cases, a doctor stated that a detainee might have been the victim of torture but caseworkers maintained they should remain in detention stating that this would not impact on the detainee’s health; the impact on their health was irrelevant as Home Office policy is not to detain torture survivors. In another case, a caseworker maintained that a person should remain in detention because he ‘did not mention being tortured during your screening interview ….” Healthcare at Campsfield is provided by The Practice, a private medical company that last year agreed a “significant financial settlement” with the mother of Brian Dalrymple, an American tourist with mental health problems who had claimed asylum after landing in Britain. An inquest jury found that “medical neglect” had contributed to his death. The inspectors found evidence of short-staffing at Campsfield: “Only one member of staff was available at night which was not compliant with current healthcare guidelines”, said the inspectors. And some staff cut corners. “Nurses had labelled items supplied from stock inadequately, which could have posed a risk to patients,” the inspectors said. “A nurse was observed giving a detainee a dose of ibuprofen without referring to his notes for contraindications, which was potentially unsafe.” None of the Mitie custody staff had been trained to use the defibrillator, a life-saving piece of equipment if detainees have heart attacks, which happens from time to time on the ‘detention estate’. The inspectors reported that legal support for detainees in Campsfield was insufficient: “Too many detainees who required an immigration lawyer did not have one.” The half-hour legal aid sessions were “oversubscribed”, and there was not enough advice about bail. Perhaps inevitably then, inspectors found: “Some detainees were detained for unreasonable periods of time. Home Office caseworkers sometimes failed to act with reasonable diligence and expedition.” It took the Home Office more than seven months before they even interviewed one detainee about his asylum claim. One undocumented Iranian man had been held for almost ten months, although the Home Office had no clear plans to obtain the paperwork needed to deport him to Tehran. The inspectors concluded: “There was little prospect of this case being resolved within a reasonable period and ongoing detention therefore appeared illegitimate.” For all that, Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector, concluded: “Overall, this was a very positive inspection. Staff and managers at Campsfield House should be congratulated in dealing professionally and sensitively with detainees who were going through what, for many, was a difficult and unhappy time.” Among problems the report neglects to mention are the fire at Campsfield in October 2013 that spread thanks to an absence of sprinklers causing 180 people to be evacuated. The mass hunger-strikes by detainees, most recently in May 2014, just months before the inspection, are also absent. The inspectors did not attribute blame to Mitie, focusing instead on reforms needed at the national level by the Home Office.


12 June 2013 opendemocracy.net

Child detention goes on in the UK regardless of government claims to have ended it. A boy was locked up for months at a UK immigration facility earlier this year, according to freshly released official data. The revelation dramatically exposes the falsity of government claims that the harmful practice of detaining children for administrative convenience has ended. The Home Office does not reveal the boy's exact age or the precise length of his incarceration, only that he was aged 12 to 16, and held for between two and three months at Campsfield House, an adult immigration jail near Oxford. Classed as an immigration removal centre, Campsfield holds 216 male detainees, many in multiple occupancy rooms furnished with bunkbeds. It is run for the government by commercial contractors Reliance Security Task Management. In all 37 children were locked up for immigration purposes in the first three months of 2013. The Home Office concedes that the number would have been still higher, but Tinsley House removal centre, near Gatwick, was closed to new detainees for most of the period due to an outbreak of infectious illness. "Since the start of 2011, the overall trend for children entering detention has risen," said the Home Office. Yet the government maintains the fiction that it has ended child detention as it promised to do in the Coalition Agreement of May 2010. "We will end child detention for immigration purposes," they said then. In December 2010 deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced the immediate closure of the family unit at the notorious Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire. He promised child detention would "end completely" by May 2011. The Liberal Democrat leader spoke movingly of children "locked up, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months, in one case for 190 days — something no innocent child should ever have to endure". Clegg's rhetoric of compassion gave his party a much needed 'win' in a pre-Christmas period rocked by student protest and accusations of betrayal. But child detention did not end. Instead it was rebranded as "family friendly pre-departure accommodation". Or PDA for short. The government opened a new detention facility in August 2011, in the Sussex village of Pease Pottage. They called it Cedars, a government acronym for Compassion, Empathy, Dignity, Approachability, Respect and Support. The first report on Cedars by the Prisons Inspectorate, in October last year, revealed that staff had used “substantial force” against a pregnant woman causing “significant risk of injury to her unborn child”. Children and their parents had been forcefully restrained. One mother had been grabbed by her hair. More than half of the families held been arrested in dawn raids repeatedly criticised over years as unnecessarily distressing. Both Cedars and Tinsley House, the facility near Gatwick airport where a 10 year old girl tried to strangle herself in 2009, are run by the security company G4S. That company is currently facing an inquest over the death of another detainee, Jimmy Mubenga. Charity outsourcer Barnardo's works in partnership with G4S at Cedars. Since December 2010 child detention has been recorded in every quarter. The numbers of children detained are far lower than under Labour when they peaked at perhaps 2000 annually, but higher than might have been inferred from Clegg’s forecast of “tiny numbers of cases” detained as “an absolutely last resort”. Remarkably, Clegg continues to take credit for ending child detention even though it demonstrably goes on. "It’s because of us that children are no longer detained for immigration purposes," he claimed this past March. This was one of his “proudest achievements in government”.

October 5, 2011 Oxford Mail
EFFORTS to improve conditions for detainees at Campsfield House immigration removal centre have stalled, according to inspectors. Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said not enough had been done to deal with problems – particularly in healthcare and education – raised by his predecessor Dame Anne Owers after an inspection of the UK Borders Agency centre in Kidlington two years ago. His officials made an unannounced three-day inspection in May, shortly before operation of the centre – which houses about 200 people – passed from Geo Group to Mitie on May 30. The inspectors praised the way newly-arrived detainees were supported, said detainees felt safe and there was little bullying or use of force, noted relationships between staff and detainees were satisfactory, work placement arrangements had improved and access to phones and email was good. But they said there were “significant weaknesses in healthcare services”, education provision had not improved, decisions to place detainees in the separation unit were not always properly authorised and better interpreting services were needed, along with more notices in foreign languages.

August 5, 2011 The Guardian
Separate investigations into three deaths in immigration removal centres (IRC) in the past month have been launched by the police, amid growing concern about the treatment of detainees. The spate of deaths has caused alarm among critics of the government's detention policy, who warn that the system is at "breaking point" with poor healthcare putting people's lives at risk. Two men died from suspected heart attacks at Colnbrook near Heathrow airport and the third killed himself at the Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire on Tuesday. John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, who has two detention centres including Colnbrook in his constituency, said he feared there would be more deaths as the system struggled to cope with the number of people being detained. "The government is now detaining people on such a scale that the existing services are swamped," he said. "It is inevitable if we put the services under such relentless strain that there will be more deaths as a result … we are dealing with people who are extremely stressed and extremely vulnerable and the services are not able to cope and not able to guarantee their safety." The first man who died was Muhammad Shukat, 47, a Pakistani immigration detainee who collapsed at around 6am on 2 July. His roommate Abdul Khan says that in the hours before he died Shukat was groaning in agony, had very bad chest pains and was sweating profusely. Khan, 19, from Afghanistan, said he began raising the alarm around 6am and pressed the emergency button in the room 10 times in a frantic effort to get help. Khan claimed that on three occasions members of the centre's nursing team entered the room and found Shukat on the floor where he had collapsed. Khan said they put him back into bed, took his temperature and some medicine was administered, but did not call emergency assistance immediately. According to Khan, the nurses initially said that Shukat could go to see the centre's doctor at 8am. According to the London Ambulance Service, Colnbrook staff called an ambulance just before 7.20am. Attempts were made to resuscitate Shukat, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Hillingdon Hospital. A postmortem found the provisional cause of death to be coronary heart disease. Shukat's body has been returned to Pakistan and his family are understood to have no concerns about the medical treatment he received. The second man to die at Colnbrook has not yet been named. According to the Metropolitan police he was 35 and was found dead in his cell at 10.30am last Sunday. London Ambulance Service officials pronounced him dead at the scene. "A postmortem held on 1 August found the cause of death to be a ruptured aorta. The death is being treated as unexplained," said a police spokesman. Colnbrook IRC is managed by Serco. In a statement to detainees about Shukat's death, deputy director at Colnbrook, Jenni Halliday, described her "deep regret" and extended her condolences. In a statement to detainees about the second Colnbrook death, Serco's contract manager, Michael Guy, informed detainees that a resident in the short-term holding facility had died and that the death was thought to be from natural causes. On Tuesday, a 35-year-old man hanged himself in the toilet block at Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire. A fellow detainee, who refused to give his name, said the man had been hours away from being deported and had become very anxious. "He was normally a very quiet person … but the pressure is too much for people in here." It is understood the man had only been at the centre for a few days before he died. The Home Office refused to give any more details saying his extended family had yet to be informed. Emma Ginn, from the campaign group Medical Justice, said the deaths had heightened concern about the poor healthcare on offer to those being kept in UK detention centres. "Based on medical evidence from many hundreds of detainees, Medical Justice has documented the disturbingly inadequate healthcare provision that often vulnerable immigration detainees are subjected to in Colnbrook and other immigration removal centres... [this] combined with the perilous and frightening conditions of detention, is a lethal cocktail, a disaster waiting to happen." The UK Border Agency declined to comment on the specific circumstances of each case. It said the police and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman always investigated deaths in immigration detention centres and it would be inappropriate to comment until these were complete. David Wood, director of criminality and detention at the UK Border Agency, said all detainees at immigration removal centres have access to health services seven days a week. "All detainees are seen by a nurse within two hours of arrival and are given an opportunity to see a GP within 24 hours," he added. "The health of all detainees is monitored closely, and the healthcare professionals are required to report cases where it is considered that a person's health is being affected by continued detention. "The UK takes its responsibilities seriously, which is why we consider every case on its individual merits and will continue to offer protection to those who need it. However, detention is an essential part of our controls on immigration in the UK." A groundbreaking ruling -- A man with severe mental illness was unlawfully locked up in a UK detention centre for five months and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, according to a high court ruling. The man, a 34-year-old Indian national, was detained in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre between April and September last year. On Friday a judge ruled that his treatment amounted to a breach of article 3 of the European convention human rights. The man's lawyer said the ruling – thought to be the first of its kind – raised wider questions about how the government treats people with mental illnesses in the immigration and detention system. "The court's decision that my client suffered inhuman or degrading treatment at a UK detention facility sends a very loud and clear message to the authorities," said. "We would urge the minister to conduct a fundamental review into how people suffering from mental illness are treated in the immigration detention estate." The man, referred to as "S" in the ruling, had a history of serious ill treatment and abuse before arriving in the UK. He served time in prison for wounding and assault before being transferred to a secure psychiatric hospital until his discharge in April 2010. Following his release the UK Border Agency said there was "no evidence" he was mentally ill and he was detained in Harmondsworth where his health deteriorated and he began to have psychotic episodes and self harm. The high court intervened and he was released on bail. His lawyers said he had been living with his family since then and had fully complied with the conditions of bail set by the court. In the ruling judge David Elvin said: "S's pre-existing mental condition was both triggered and exacerbated by detention and that involved both a debasement and humiliation of S since it showed a serious lack of respect for his human dignity. It created a state in S's mind of real anguish and fear, through his hallucinations, which led him to self-harm frequently and to behave in a manner which was humiliating…" A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: "We regularly review our detention policies and will look at the findings in this case to ensure lessons are learned. Detention is an essential part of our immigration control but we recognise the importance of ensuring it remains appropriate on a case by case basis."

August 3, 2011 BBC
A man has died whilst being held at the Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre in Oxfordshire. The BBC received a call from a fellow detainee claiming an Asian man had hanged himself in the showers on 2 August. A spokesperson from the UK Border Agency confirmed a man had died at the privately run centre and was in the process of contacting his family. The Police and Prisons and Probation Ombudsman are investigating the death.

August 3, 2010 Daily Mail Reporter
More than 100 men being held at an immigration centre are on hunger strike today. The detainees last night refused their evening meal at the Campsfield House immigration removal centre in Kidlington, Oxfordshire. Officials at the UK Border Agency confirmed they were 'monitoring' the situation. Jonathan Sedgwick, UKBA deputy chief executive, said: 'We can confirm 108 detainees have refused prepared meals from staff yesterday evening. 'However they still have access to food from the on-site shop and vending machines. 'Staff are monitoring the situation closely and listening to the detainees' concerns. 'All detainees have access to legal representation and 24-hour medical care.' Earlier this year a report by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers found that the average lengths of stay for detainees at Campsfield appeared to be increasing. It also found that some detainees were effectively being held indefinitely because there was little prospect of removal, while education provision was poor, particularly for the significant numbers of long-stay detainees and those with little English. Campsfield is 'a long-term centre where detainees are accommodated, pending their case resolutions and subsequent removal from the United Kingdom.' The site has 216 beds for male detainees and is run by contractor The GEO Group Ltd.

March 10, 2010 BBC
Some detainees held at Campsfield House immigration centre in Oxfordshire are being detained for "excessive periods", according to an inspector's report. Dame Anne Owers, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP), said the centre near Kidlington was making progress. But the inspector expressed concern that average lengths of stay appeared to be increasing and a lack of data obscured the scale of the problem. The UK Borders Agency (UKBA) said it reviewed detention frequently. Campsfield House, run by GEO Group Ltd, has had an unsettled recent history, with a number of high-profile incidents and escapes.

May 18, 2009 Oxford Mail
DISTURBANCES at Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre could be reduced if detainees were given more to do, an independent body has claimed. Campsfield’s Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) has just published its 2008 annual report on the controversial Kidlington centre, which has a history of escape attempts and violent incidents. IMB chairman Lieutenant Colonel Freddie Cantrell said: “We believe that activities and education should be increased to fully occupy the detainees. “There is nothing worse than boredom with a detainee who really doesn’t know what his future is going to be. “This can cause stress, and stress can lead to trouble and disturbances.” Lt Col Cantrell — one of 10 IMB volunteers who check on treatment of inmates at the centre — said detainees currently had 30 hours of formal education a week, including lessons in English, art and computing, which was insufficient.] He recommended the UK Border Agency review its contract for education provision at the centre, which holds up to 216 detainees. The 61-page report also shed new light on two major incidents which occured within days of each other in June last year. On June 16, friends of a Jamaican man who was due to be deported started fires in an education block, detainees’ rooms and in a fitness suite. The education block was destroyed and a shop was looted. Three days later, seven detainees escaped through a ground-floor window. Three of those who went on the run are still at large. Referring to the escape, Lt Col Cantrell said: “Of course it shouldn’t happen. “It means there is a weakness in the security. Of course that has been rectified.” But he added: I don’t think any establishment in the world is completely secure.” Other findings included a plan to put televisions in each detainee’s room within months, and the fact that paid work for inmates had doubled since the 2007 report was published. The report said force was used by staff 34 times in 2008, up from 31 in 2007, but the occupancy was higher and as such there was a reduction in the proportion of incidents where force was used. Handcuffs were used 11 times in 2008, the lowest level at the centre since 2005. The IMB also recommended ensuring detainees’ property travelled with them when they were transferred from police custody to the centre, and reviewing the way racial complaints were investigated. A UK Border Agency spokesman said detainees had access to a range of activities, and added the agency awaited recommendations from a review of education provision. No-one at GEO Group UK Ltd, which runs the centre, was available for comment.

December 3, 2008 Oxford Mail
Failed asylum seekers at Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre used the Internet to access “inappropriate content” on the web, it has emerged. A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) revealed the centre’s 200 plus detainees were accessing the worldwide web for up to an hour a day, but “despite controls, arrangements to block access to inappropriate content were not always effective”. Last night, a spokesman for HMIP could not detail the nature of the inappropriate content, and chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers was unavailable for interview. However, Ms Owers released a statement which read: “Email and Internet access is an important, and cheap, way for detainees to keep in contact with the outside world and relatives overseas. It is, however, important to ensure that access is controlled. “The point of the comment in the report is that there was a system of visual and spot checks at Campsfield, but the most effective way of ensuring that access is consistently controlled, which we have observed in other centres, is either to have a filtering system, or for staff to have a monitoring screen on which they can see exactly what all detainees are accessing.” Detainees first began surfing the web in December last year and there were plans to create an Internet cafe, HMIP revealed. Inspectors compiled the report after an unannounced four-day inspection of Campsfield House, near Kidlington, in May this year. The centre had “returned to normal” following a series of “major disturbances” in 2007, which included two riots and a breakout by 26 detainees, the report said. However, the inspection took place a month before another outbreak of violence and the escape of seven more detainees, and those incidents were not mentioned. Inspectors also found detainees were given pay-as-you go mobile phones on arrival at the centre, which the Home Office said were returned whenever a detainee was removed. The report found there was little evidence of bullying. The report also showed that the average length of detention had more than tripled, from 14 days in December 2006 to 46 days. Bill McKeith, of the Campaign to Close Campsfield, said: “The overall flavour of the report is quite critical. The Government claim it is a removal centre. A removal centre is a place where people are placed briefly before they are removed — and 46 days is not a brief stay.” A spokesman for the UK Border Agency would not be drawn on Mr McKeith’s claims, and did not issue a reaction to the report. Nobody was available for comment at GEO Group UK Ltd, which runs the centre. The inspectors also recommended an investigation as to why there had been a 37 per cent turnover of custody officers in 12 months. The report also gave a detailed breakdown of the nationalities and ages of the 202 detainees.

August 14, 2008 BBC
Thirteen Iraqi Kurds began fasting on Saturday in protest against deportation and reports an Iraqi man killed himself after being deported from the UK. The Home Office said the situation was "under control" and no-one had collapsed from lack of food. The BBC has learned about 46 people refused their evening meal on Wednesday. Some of the hunger-strikers are also protesting against conditions at the centre. Earlier, Algerian detainee and Aston University student, Redouane Messaoudi, 32, told BBC News he would starve for as long as it took. He said he came to the UK nearly 10 years ago and is married to a British woman, and lives with her and two young children in Birmingham. "I am at university, I've paid so much money, I have been working so hard to manage my life between the family and studies," he said. Dashty Jamal, general secretary of the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, said the detainees were "victims of war and violence" in Iraq. "They are not a criminal, they are civilians," he said. "They arrived in this country because they didn't have any other choice." Campsfield House, which holds some 200 asylum seekers and foreign prisoners, has been the subject of a campaign to close it. The Campaign to Close Campsfield group said other detainees joined the strike in protest over conditions at the centre, where they said they were being "treated like animals". The GEO Group, which runs the site for the government, declined to comment.

June 19, 2008 Telegraph
Four detainees are on the run after escaping from a controversial immigration centre that has been the scene of much unrest. Seven people initially broke out of the facility although three were recaptured by police shortly after the alarm was raised at 4 am. The break-out happened just five days after a fire at the Campsfield immigration detention centre in Oxfordshire. The blaze was in a communal room at the centre on Saturday afternoon and around 20 detainees staged a rooftop protest. At the time, detainees said tensions began simmering among Jamaican inmates at the 215-man detention centre when staff brought dogs into their accommodation. In August last year 26 detainees escaped from the centre in a mass break-out. A Thames Valley police spokesman said that officers remained on the scene supporting the Home Office in their efforts to bring the situation under control. Superintendent Howard Stone said police were also working with the GEO Group UK Ltd, which controls the privately run centre on behalf of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. "We are working with GEO as well as the UK Border Agency to ensure everything is done to locate the missing detainees as quickly as possible," he said. "However, I would ask that if members of the public see anyone acting suspiciously and believes they may have been involved in this incident to contact the police immediately." GEO signed a three year contract with the Home Office to run the centre in March 2006 with an option to extend it until 2011. A GEO spokesman said: "Yes, it is correct there has been another outbreak at the detention centre. We know who the escaped detainees are and the police are now working to recapture them."

June 14, 2008 Daily Mail
A special prison service riot unit known as the Tornado Team was sent into a controversial detention centre yesterday to quell a violent stand-off between staff and illegal immigrants awaiting deportation. The 50 elite officers – dressed in Robocop-style black boiler suits and helmets and carrying batons and shields – marched into the Campsfield centre near Kidlington, Oxfordshire, after an initial disturbance when several fires were started. Crews from 15 fire engines tackled the blazes which caused thick black smoke to billow from one of the detention buildings. The Tornado Team was supported by about 50 police officers – some, equipped with riot gear and dogs, entered the camp while others secured the perimeter as a police helicopter hovered overhead. All the 200 inmates were herded into the camp’s exercise yard while fire crews took two hours to put out the blazes and make the area safe. But the detainees, all men, then refused to return to their buildings – creating another stand-off. At one point the illegal immigrants could be heard violently hammering on the 25ft high steel fence that surrounds the yard. A senior prison officer said outside: ‘No one in there is going anywhere.’ The Home Office said last night: ‘The UK Border Agency asked police for assistance and officers have secured the perimeter, which has not been breached. 'Specially trained prison officers known as a Tornado Team have been sent to the site in riot gear.’ Last August, 26 detainees escaped from Campsfield after a fire was started. But last night all the men were believed to have been accounted for. Tornado Team members are picked from serving prison officers and undergo four months of specialist training. Their boiler suits are fire-resistant, as are their padded gloves and steel-capped Army-style boots. Extra protection comes from plastic protectors on their forearms and shins. Every officer carries an American-style PR-24 sidearms baton. It can be used for defence, held along the forearm, or to attack by using a protruding metal attachment which can be spun round in confined spaces such as cells or corridors to keep assailants at bay. As an additional precaution, squad members wear face protectors to stop flames spreading under their protective suit. They use personal radios to contact their head at the scene, who is known as Silver Commander. He in turn takes orders from a Gold Commander, in charge of the overall operation and based at the Prison Service headquarters in London. Campsfield has been dogged with controversy since it was converted from a youth detention centre to handle illegal immigrants in 1993. Last year alone, there were two other disturbances not including the breakout. It is run by the UK subsidiary of American company the GEO Group, which signed a five-year contract in March, 2006. The Home Office said all the detainees were being escorted back to their accommodation blocks by 7.30pm. A spokesman added: ‘The situation has calmed down. There has been no resistance from the detainees to going back to their rooms. The operation is being wound down at the site.’ A GEO spokesman was unavailable for comment last night.

June 14, 2008 The Times
Inmate disturbances and fires broke out this afternoon at a troubled immigrant detention centre that has previously suffered riots, blazes and escapes. Two plumes of smoke rose from the centre in Kidlington, Oxfordshire. The problems at Campsfield House detention centre, which holds more than 200 foreign criminals and illegal immigrants, have prompted calls for its closure. Thames Valley police were called in this afternoon to help the security teams at the privately-run centre. A police helicopter hovered above the centre, and the riot squad was put on standby. More than a dozen fire engines have been attending the fire, and one detainee is said to have been hospitalised with smoke inhalation. There have been no other injuries reported at this stage. Campsfield House is managed by the Reading-based GEO Group UK Ltd, on behalf of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. It has been beset with problems since it opened, and detainees rioted twice last year. In March, fires were started and CCTV cameras smashed, after a detainee was removed for deportation. Seven staff and two inmates were injured. A fire in August allowed 26 inmates to escape - eight of them were still at large at last report. All the escapees were foreign criminals, awaiting deportation. In December, staff were forced to evacuate a block, again after a detainee was removed. Other inmates wrongly believed that the man, Davis Osagie from Benin in West Africa, had been murdered by prison officers. Authorities moved 128 inmates to other detention centres after December’s riot. David Pitman, who lives down the street from Campsfield, said he saw smoke coming from the detention centre and heard the inmates shouting. “This seems to happen more and more often,” he said. “Last time there was trouble and the police hadn’t arrived on the scene so I had to chase one of the escapees with a torch. “I have a young daughter and I worry for her safety with these criminals running around free. Something needs to be done about the security in there.” The centre’s independent monitoring board criticised GEO for failing to prevent the rioting, despite being warned after the first clash that the rioting could happen again. An audit report this year, commissioned by the Border and Immigration Agency, disclosed racism and tension in some of the country’s 10 immigration detention centres. It found that officers at several centres had taunted detainees - describing them as “black bastards” in one case - and found “turbulent” atmosphere in some units. At Campsfield, it said, there was a “tense” environment atmosphere where staff were afraid of detainees. One member of staff said: “If this was white British people in here we would be a lot stricter, it is because they are black people that we are afraid.”

November 26, 2007 Oxford Mail
Detainees at an immigration detention centre near Oxford have warned the atmosphere is on a knife-edge as campaigners marked its 14th anniversary. While protesters rallied outside Campsfield House, detainees spoke of a tense atmosphere and warned of a new riot. Speaking to the Oxford Mail from inside the centre in Kidlington, detainee Michael Sinclair said: "People are not getting any justice in here. They have been talking about a riot. "People have been plotting. I am frightened because you never know what will happen - it is very dangerous." Father-of-five Mr Sinclair, whose mother lives in Blackbird Leys, came to Oxford from Jamaica in 1999. He met his wife, who lives in East Oxford with three of his children, in 2003 but was unsuccessful in securing a spouse's visa and returned to Jamaica to re-apply. His visa was refused again, and desperate to see his wife and children, he returned to Britain on a false passport but was caught and jailed in March. The 41-year-old has been detained in Campsfield House since October and is currently facing deportation. Fellow detainee Rohan Walker, 27, said: "People are not getting any justice." When asked if he thought another riot was likely, he said: "People have been talking about that. You never know when it could happen." Around 50 demonstrators from the Campaign to Close Campsfield staged a two hour protest outside the centre on Saturday afternoon. The group chanted and listened to speeches. Member Bob Hughes, 60, said the centre was on the verge of serious unrest. The university lecturer, from St Clements, Oxford, said: "It is continuously on the boil. As far as we know the conditions are dreadful." Mr Hughes said the anniversary of the centre, which opened on November 23, 1993, made the current situation particularly troubling. Neither The GEO Group UK, which runs the centre, or the Home Office, were available for comment.

August 7, 2007 The Times
Ministers were warned less than two weeks ago that an immigration centre from which 14 men are on the run was unsuitable for holding them. They were also told that the policy of putting foreign prisoners in immigration centres “bursting at the seams” presented a high risk that could trigger disorder. Fourteen foreign prisoners are on the run after fleeing from Campsfield House immigration removal centre during the second outbreak of rioting on the premises in five months. The convicted prisoners, who were among 26 who escaped from the centre run by GEO Group UK, had served sentences in jails but were being held in the centre near Oxford while awaiting deportation. It emerged yesterday that officials from the Home Office had met detainees at the centre last Wednesday and Friday to discuss their grievances, including overcrowded and squalid conditions, a high rejection rate for bail applications and delays in repatriating migrants who wish to go home. But at 10.30pm on Saturday a fire broke out in a portable building at the centre where food is prepared. The detainees took advantage of the disorder to break out of the centre but 12 were recaptured soon afterwards, including a Bangladeshi who approached the home of a prison officer and asked to be hidden. Explaining that the search for the missing men has been scaled down, a Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “We have not got large numbers of officers on the ground searching for them any more. [But] we are still looking for them and their identities have been circulated to all forces.” A report into the earlier disturbance at the centre highlighted the risk that the Home Office was running by placing prisoners in immigration centres, which have much lower security than prisons. “The impact of foreign national prisoners is the biggest external issue affecting Campsfield House. It is putting the centre under great strain,” the report by Bob Whalley, a former Home Office senior civil servant, said. At the end of May more than 50 per cent of the 198 detainees in the centre were foreign prisoners. The inquiry report cautioned: “The fabric is not suitable for foreign national prisoners. It has none of the strength of a prison, nor does it offer any flexibility for dealing with difficult incidents or detainees.” Staff had complained of the large influx of foreign prisoners, “many with serious criminal backgrounds and ‘streetwise’ in their experience of prison”, the report said. It added that little was known about many foreign prisoners who arrived at immigration centres. After serving time in jail many of the prisoners found the more relaxed regime at Campsfield House disorientating. The report said that some became manipulative or bullying. It cautioned: “Some will find the dual pressure of further time in custody and uncertain date of release frustrating, to the extent that, ‘with nothing to lose’, the temptation to join in gratuitous disorder may prove too much. A concentration of discontented detainees may prove so volatile that an otherwise innocuous event may prove a trigger point for concerted disturbance.” The report said: “There are several groups of foreign national prisoners presenting high risk in terms of potential for disorder. There is little to inhibit them if an opportunity to engage in wanton disorder presents itself. The greater their frustration at the position, the greater the risk of disorder.” Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, attacked the Government for putting foreign prisoners who were awaiting deportation into immigration removal centres. “We need immigration detention centres as part of the process of removing people who have no right to be here, but what we shouldn’t be doing is mixing up immigration offenders with other criminals, and that’s where the big failure lies.” Lin Homer, chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency, said: “We have recently looked at the regime in Campsfield and we are putting in place a number of improvements with the centre operator.” Troublespot -- 1993 Campsfield centre opens


 1997 50 detainees take part in disturbance 

 2001 90 go on hunger strike 

 2002 David Blunkett, then Home Secretary, announces its closure 

 2003 Decision reversed after riot at another detention centre 

 2004 Local council rejects plans to expand Campsfield to hold 300 

 2006 GEO Group wins five-year contract to run Campsfield 

 March 2007 Disturbance as staff try to remove Algerian for deportation. Sixty detainees transferred out because of the damage 

 August 2007 Disturbances and 26 detainees flee. Twelve recaptured and 14 still on the run Source: Times database

August 3, 2007 BBC
Detainees at an Oxfordshire detention centre are suspending their ongoing hunger strike while they wait for a response from the Home Office. More than 150 detainees at Campsfield House Immigration Centre near Kidlington in Oxford have been refusing to eat since Tuesday night. They have complained to officials about the overcrowded conditions and claimed they are being held illegally. The Home Office said it would respond to concerns by Friday afternoon. Campsfield was rife with scabies, but only staff were issued with gloves. Campaign to Close Campsfield -- In a statement, the Campaign to Close Campsfield also said the centre "is a health hazard with 70% of people infected with flu". "Paracetamol is the only medicine made available and two weeks ago even this ran out. "Campsfield was rife with scabies, but only staff were issued with gloves. "Although detainees are held as civil detainees, not convicted prisoners or prisoners on remand, food, toilets and showers are a lot worse than in prisons." It said some detainees were being held even though they had won appeals against deportation or had agreed to go back to their countries of origin. Troubled history -- On Wednesday, the Home Office promised it would respond to the concerns within 48 hours. Formerly a Young Offenders Institute, Campsfield was converted into an immigration detention centre in 1993 amid a storm of protest from local residents. Run by the American company GEO, which specialises in operating detention facilities, Campsfield holds up to 200 male asylum seekers at a time. Within six months of opening the centre experienced a major problem when six asylum seekers escaped following a rooftop protest. A number of low-level disturbances inside the centre and regular public protests outside its gates has since occurred at Campsfield.

April 3, 2007 The Guardian
A private prison was criticised by its staff and a judge yesterday following the collapse of a manslaughter trial over the death of a prisoner on suicide watch. Four officers from Rye Hill prison, near Rugby, run by Global Solutions Ltd, were cleared of all charges in connection with the death of Michael Bailey, from Birmingham, who was serving a four year sentence for cocaine dealing. He was found in March 2005 hanged by his shoelace from the door to his cell in the segregation block. Daniel Daymond, 23, of Rugby, Paul Smith, 39, of Warrington, and Samantha Prime, 29, also of Rugby, were acquitted at Northampton crown court of charges of manslaughter by gross negligence in connection with Bailey's death. Ben King, 21, of Southbrook, Daventry, along with Mr Daymond, was cleared of perverting the course of justice by doctoring log books for suicide watches. All were cleared on the direction of the judge, Mr Justice Grigson. He said: "No one who has heard the evidence in this court can have any doubt that the death of Michael Bailey was a tragedy, not least because it was avoidable." Outside the court Bailey's mother, Caroline, said: "This case clearly shows there were failures in Rye Hill prison and GSL ... I hope the outcome of this case brings changes." Paul Smith, manager of the segregation unit where Mr Bailey killed himself, resigned from GSL before the court case. He said after his acquittal. "Straight from the start I had expressed concern about the level of support and training. I told senior management about it and they didn't do anything." In a statement released through his solicitor, Mr Daymond said: "[Michael Bailey's] death was a tragedy that was wholly avoidable. I hope that today's decision will focus attention on the way in which Rye Hill Prison is run." A spokesman for GSL said: "This whole matter will be looked at very carefully. Self-harm is an issue that prisons work very hard to avoid." The jail was the subject of criticism by the chief inspector of prisons, Anne Owers, who found the staff were inexperienced.

March 16, 2007 Oxford Mail
Staff are counting up the costs at Campsfield House immigration detention centre after detainees ran riot and started a fire. About 60 detainees were moved to other detention centres, including Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, on Wednesday night. Anti-Campsfield campaigners claim the revolt at the centre, in Kidlington, was sparked when an Algerian detainee was removed from his room for deportation. Police are investigating the fire as suspected arson. A former member of staff, in his 20s, who asked not to be named, praised former colleagues who he said tried to tackle the fire at the centre at 6.30am on Wednesday, before firefighters arrived. He said: "They kicked windows out and tried to tackle the fire themselves. "I spoke to one of the seven members of staff who needed hospital treatment and he told me that there has been serious damage to blue block and yellow block and the library has been destroyed. "Only about 30 detainees kicked off, but it will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to put the damage right. "The ironic thing is that the GEO group that runs the site has been getting detainees to paint internal areas and blue block has only just been painted." The former worker claimed that more than 190 detainees were housed in an area which mean for 130 and that it was not 'fit for purpose'. Oxford West and Abingdon MP Evan Harris said: "There will need to be an investigation of why there has been yet another serious disturbance at Campsfield House, which has been a subject of a number of critical reports by successive chief inspectors of prisons." Dr Harris, a member of the House of Commons select committee on human rights, added: "My select committee is already conducting an inquiry into detention of failed asylum seekers, following concerns about physical abuse during removals. "The Home Secretary himself a few years ago declared that Campsfield House was not appropriate for the 21st century, but then of course the Government decided to keep it open anyway. They will need to look at that question again."

March 14, 2007 BBC
Seven staff and two inmates have been injured in a fire after a riot broke out at an immigration removal centre. Emergency services were called to deal with the incident at Campsfield removal centre near Kidlington, in Oxfordshire, early on Wednesday. A BBC reporter saw a dozen riot officers carrying shields enter the centre to join about 35 police officers who were dealing with the incident. The nine injured people are thought to be suffering from smoke inhalation. The seven immigration staff at the centre and two detainees have been taken to hospital. A Home Office spokesman said the riot teams were working to get the centre completely under control as soon as possible. "The perimeter of Campsfield has not been breached and all detainees have been accounted for," he added. They used force to drag the person from the bed and after that everything kicked off. Campsfield detainee: In a statement Thames Valley Police said: "The detainees were evacuated and nine people have been taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. No serious injuries have been reported. "The fire has now been extinguished. Five fire engines and 30 firefighters attended the incident. The fire was relatively small and mainly generated a lot of smoke." 'Fighting stopped': A detainee, who did not want to be named, told BBC News 24: "This place is falling apart - computers are getting smashed. "They've stopped fighting now but they're destroying every bit of equipment they can find - computers getting smashed, shops are getting broken into, they're stealing everything." "They used force to drag the person from the bed and after that everything kicked off," he said. Sarah Cutler from Bail for Immigration Detainees, which provides workshops at Campsfield offering legal advice to detainees, said she was not surprised by the disturbance. "There are big problems at the moment," she said, adding that many people were being held for months. Riot gear: Those included "people who want to go back to their country of origin, have told the Home Office they want to go back, but are still detained because they can't get it together to remove them". A Home Office spokeswoman said the continuing incident began at 0630 GMT. BBC reporter Rajesh Mirchandani, speaking outside the centre, said he had seen members of a prison service fast response team enter the site. "They're riot trained and they went in carrying riot gear." He said he could see a helicopter hovering overhead and police dog units and mounted police were now patrolling the perimeter of the centre. The Home Office spokeswoman said: "Police, fire and ambulance teams are on the scene and a number of Tornado units from the Prison Service have been deployed to the centre." Campsfield can hold 196 adult male detainees, but it is not known how many are currently being held there.

July 22, 2006 The Independent
A Kurdish teenager killed himself after spending more than four months in an immigration detention centre, an inquest has heard. Ramazan Kumluca, 18, is the youngest asylum-seeker to have committed suicide while facing deportation from Britain. Campaign groups yesterday called for the closure of all detention centres, comparing them to Victorian workhouses. Mr Kumluca is one of more than 30 asylum-seekers who have killed themselves in the past five years after being told their applications had failed. He had travelled from his home in Turkey to Italy and then on to Britain where he claimed asylum last year, saying that his life was in danger over a £20,000 debt owed by his father. He also claimed that if he was sent back to Italy (under rules that asylum must be claimed in the first safe country reached) he was at risk of exploitation. Mr Kumluca was refused asylum and denied bail because there were fears he would not report back for deportation. He was sent to Campsfield House in Oxfordshire, an immigration removal centre that holds around 100 men at any time. The average stay for detainees at the centre is 14 days, but because the teenager was fighting his deportation order he was held for four and a half months. An inquest at Oxford Old Assizes heard he had been plunged into despair during his incarceration and had complained of insomnia, headaches and anxiety. A fellow inmate, Abdulwase Kamali, told the court Mr Kumluca had appeared "sad" the day before he killed himself. He said: "Ramazan said he had been told by immigration he would be sent back to Italy, and he said if he was sent back to Italy he would be used in sex films. He said he would slash himself or hang himself." On 27 June last year, Mr Kamali and other Muslim detainees alerted warders after calling Mr Kumluca for morning prayers and finding his door would not open. He was found hanging from the door closing mechanism. After investigating his death, a Prison and Probation ombudsman cleared staff of any wrongdoing. The jury returned a verdict of suicide. Outside the court, Bob Hughes, of the pressure group Campaign to Close Campsfield, said: "Here we have an institution full of people being driven deliberately to despair by government policy." "He added: "We believe these people should be allowed to get on with their own lives. Centres like Campsfield are a huge national scandal and shame. Campsfield House has been a removal centre since 1993 and is privately run by the company Global Solutions Limited. In 2002, the then Home Secretary David Blunkett pledged that the centre would be closed, but a year later it was decided to keep it open and expand the number of places. Since 2000, at least 25 asylum-seekers have killed themselves while living in the community after being told they would be deported. Mr Kumluca was the seventh to have committed suicide in a detention centre. More than 2,600 adults and children are being held in detention centres prior to deportation. In January this year another asylum-seeker Bereket Yohannes, from Eritrea, was found hanging at Harmondsworth Removal Centre. An inquest will be held into his death.

June 17, 2006 Indy Media
On Monday 12th of this week a Somalian man went onto a roof at Campsfield; he had been detained for four months (probably illegally, since the government cannot deport people to Somalia) and took a rope and a plastic bag with him. GEO, the new management at Campsfield, asked the police to leave and said they would deal with the matter themselves; we do not know whether they used violence against the Somalian detainee; he has been removed from Campsfield, no doubt to somewhere even worse as is usual in these cases. There have been 12 suicides in immigration detention, and several hundred attempted suicides and cases of self harm requiring medical treatment. GSL lost the contract to run Campsfield to GEO (Global Expertise on Outsourcing), presumably on cost grounds. GEO took over at the beginning of the month. They have changed their name from Wackenhut, and have a discreditable history of running penal institutions in the USA and Australia. GSL's manager, Andy Clark, who had been more willing than his predecessors to allow volunteers and education classes in Campsfield, decided he could not work with GEO; at least two of the people who ran education classes and workshops have been sacked or left, and GEO apparently intends to provide much reduced hours of education (as required under the contract), run by its own officers. But of course the most serious problem is not the conditions inside the centre, but the fact that people are detained there who have committed no crime, been charged or suspected of no crime, with no judicial process and no time limit, often with no access to lawyers, and always with great uncertainty about what is happening to them or about to happen to them.

May 23, 2001
The global private security firm Group 4, is an "Investor in People."  This may come as a surprise.  For since Campsfield opened, almost unnoticed, in the bleary period just before Christmas in 1993, this improvised brick compound has become to many the unacceptable face of the British government's asylum system.  Within weeks, the country's first specialized facility for confining them while their cases were decided was provoking hunger strikes.  Within months, detainees were climbing on to its roofs to protest at the conditions.  Still in its first year of operation, there was a mass escape over its 20ft perimeter fence, and a "disturbance" - involving fires and smashed furniture - which resulted in the deployment of riot police and injuries to detainees, who needed several ambulances and hospital treatment.  Official reports on Campsfield in 1995 and 1998 by two different chief inspectors of prisons found fear, boredom and stress among inmates.  Among the Group 4 staff, the inspections found inexperience, poor pay and exhausting shift work.  This cycle of protest and disorder and repressive countermeasures continued unabated during the late 1990s.  (Guardian Newspapers)

May 14, 2002
As many as 15 asylum seeker accomadation centres could be built across the UK despite an angry response from residents in the locations chosen for the three pilot "villages".  The government plans to build the centres at Throckmorton, near Pershore on Worcestershire, RAF Newton, in Nottinghamshire, and at Bicester, Oxfordshire.  More than 3,000 villagers have signed a petition objecting to a development in their area.  Some local people are anxious about plans to house large numbers of asylum seekers near them, particularly following the riot and fire which destroyed the $100m Yari's Wood centre.  Steve Mitchell, chairman of Pinvin Parish Council, promised to fight the plans "every step of the way".  (BBC News)

Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre
Colnbrook, UK
Mitie Care and Custody
Apr 8, 2017 theguardian.com
Man denies beating to death fellow detainee at immigration centre
An Iraqi man has denied beating to death a fellow detainee at an immigration facility. Zana Assad Yusif, 31, allegedly killed the Bangladeshi national Tarek Chowdhury in a cell at Colnbrook immigration removal centre on 1 December last year. Chowdhury, 64, was pronounced dead at a hospital where he was taken after a violent attack at the centre in Harmondsworth, west London. Yusif appeared at the Old Bailey in London via video link from prison. He spoke to confirm his name and plead not guilty to murder. A two-week trial is due to begin on 8 May and a further hearing is scheduled for 27 April. Colnbrook can hold up to 396 men and 27 women. The centre is next to Heathrow airport and is operated by Mitie Care and Custody, which won the contract to run the centre in 2014 after Serco ran it from its opening in 2004.

Jun 16, 2015 theguardian.com

UK: Gov must release critical private prison reports

Potentially damaging reports into the running of two immigration detention centres by private contractors must be released by the Home Office within weeks, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said. The documents will give detailed breakdowns and insight into the running of Harmondsworth, Britain’s largest immigration detention centre, and Colnbrook, both near Heathrow in west London. It is believed that this is the first time the reports, which are prepared for Home Office officials each month by the contractors that run Britain’s immigration detention facilities, will come to light. The Home Office fought to prevent their release for more than 10 months after the research group Corporate Watch lodged a freedom of information request. Government officials argued that the documents were confidential and would harm the commercial interests of the contractors Serco and GEO Group if they became public knowledge. The Home Office also said their release would make it more difficult to negotiate deals with contractors in future. However, in a decision Corporate Watch described as landmark, the ICO said that, while it agreed that the commercial interests of the firms would be harmed, the public interest in transparency was more important, and gave the Home Office until 13 July to release the reports. It said their release would cause no significant damage to the Home Office’s bargaining position with potential contractors, knocking down an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act often relied upon by government departments. Phil Miller, a researcher for Corporate Watch, said the ICO’s decision sent “a strong signal to government to be far more transparent on outsourced contracts. Home Office bureaucrats should not shield private security companies from public scrutiny”. In a document detailing the reasons for its ruling, the ICO said the operation of immigration removal centres (IRCs) in general is an issue that has been the subject of scrutiny and concern. It said it had taken into account media coverage suggesting that the operation of the centres “has been a problematic area generally” and that the HM chief inspector of prisons’ reports were “to varying degrees of severity, critical” of the running of Harmondsworth and Colnbrook. The document added: “The introduction to the report on Harmondsworth refers to ‘inadequate focus on the needs of the most vulnerable detainees’, ‘shocking cases where a sense of humanity was lost’ and to the centre as ‘dirty and bleak’ and ‘in a state of drift’.” It noted that the Colnbrook report was also negative, although to a lesser degree. The ICO said: “Given this publicly available criticism of the operation of these centres, the commissioner’s view is that there is in general a very strong public interest in other information about their operation.” It said that because the two self-audits now due to be released post-date the HMIP reports, “there is a strong public interest in favour of disclosure in order to reveal whether, according to the contractors’ own accounts, the operations of these IRCs improved”. The commissioner added: “It is also highly relevant that the contractors are paid with public money to operate these IRCs. The disclosure of the self-audit reports would add to public knowledge on the extent to which a value-for-money service is being provided to the taxpayer, which is also in the public interest. Furthermore, all of the factors in favour of disclosure are made more acute by the vulnerable nature of people held within IRCs.” The number of reports of serious self-harm at Harmondsworth have increased almost fourfold since 2012, according to figures obtained by Channel 4 News. There were at least 16 cases in 2012 and at least 62 incidents in 2014. Across all UK immigration detention centres, it reported that the number of incidents of self-harm requiring medical attention more than doubled between 2012 and 2014 from 150 to at least 306. The two reports that the Home Office has been ordered to publish date from May 2014, when more than 100 detainees reportedly went on hunger strike at Harmondsworth. At that time, it was being run by the American company GEO Group. Responsibility for Harmondsworth’s operation has now passed to Mitie after it won the contract. Colnbrook is still run by Serco. The government can appeal, but has not confirmed whether it will do so. A Home Office spokesman said: “We have noted the Information Commissioner’s decision and are considering whether or not to appeal. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.” Serco declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the Home Office. GEO Group has not responded to a request for comment.

Mar 1, 2015 rt.com UK

A whistleblower who worked at a Serco-run immigration detention center alleges the firm turned a blind eye to corruption in the jail, despite evidence staff were smuggling hard drugs into the facility and making a handsome profit in the process. Former detention custody officer Mark Blake stands accused of conspiring to commit misconduct when he worked at Colnbrook immigration removal center. However, he maintains his innocence – insisting that stories he leaked to the Sun newspaper were justified and in the public interest. The ex-Colebrook officer’s case began at the Old Bailey in central London on Wednesday. Sun journalist Tom Wells, who also faces allegations of misconduct, is also on trial. During the proceedings, it emerged Blake’s concerns about practices in Colebrook prompted him to forge a connection with Wells. The court heard Blake subsequently leaked a number of controversial stories about Colnbrook to the Sun reporter, and was offered almost £8,000 in return. The tipoffs evolved into 10 separate stories in the tabloid newspaper. Prosecutor Jonathon Rees QC, who is representing Serco, told the court Blake had received training at Colnbrook about not speaking with the press. However, when the detention custody officer was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in March 2013, he told police his actions had been entirely in the “public interest.” Blake said at the time he reached out to the Sun because he knew what was happening at the detention center was illegal. He insisted he did not expect any form of payment. Following his arrest, he informed officers of “widespread drug abuse” and violence between inmates. The ex-Colnbrook employee maintained Serco was aware prison staff were smuggling hard drugs into the facility, and that some had bought luxury cars from the proceeds. The defendant also said female prison staff engaged in sexual activity with inmates. He added when the transgressions were discovered by Serco, the firm “merely turned a blind eye and marched the officers off the premises.” Throughout the proceedings, it emerged Blake was told to “man up” and focus on his job when he raised concerns about the detention center. Blake also told police that Serco bribed inmates with coveted items to silence them and avoid potential financial penalties, jurors heard. Rees told the jury that Serco does not accept Blake’s claim that he raised concerns internally before approaching the Sun. Blake, 43, from Slough, denies all allegations of misconduct in public office. Sun reporter Tom Wells, who lives in southeast London, also denies allegations of misconduct. In January, another Serco immigration detention center in Bedfordshire, southern England came under fire. Read more -- Yarl’s Wood asylum seekers ‘sexually abused by staff’ and ‘denied privacy’ – charity A damning report, conducted by Women for Refugee Women, found that female immigrants detained there are often denied privacy and dignity. The refugee charity said female asylum seekers held at the facility are routinely degraded by male staff, who monitor them while they are naked. It also uncovered claims of sexual misconduct carried out by Yarl’s Wood staff. Nevertheless, the Home Office has maintained full faith in outsourcing giant Serco. The firm was recently offered a £70 million contract by the Home Office to manage Yarl’s Wood for a further eight years. Thousands of people are currently being detained in high security immigration jails across Britain. Many are vulnerable asylum seekers whose requests for UK residency have been rejected or are in process. They are often deeply traumatized by difficult circumstances in their homeland and fearful they may be forcibly returned.

August 5, 2011 The Guardian
Separate investigations into three deaths in immigration removal centres (IRC) in the past month have been launched by the police, amid growing concern about the treatment of detainees. The spate of deaths has caused alarm among critics of the government's detention policy, who warn that the system is at "breaking point" with poor healthcare putting people's lives at risk. Two men died from suspected heart attacks at Colnbrook near Heathrow airport and the third killed himself at the Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire on Tuesday. John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, who has two detention centres including Colnbrook in his constituency, said he feared there would be more deaths as the system struggled to cope with the number of people being detained. "The government is now detaining people on such a scale that the existing services are swamped," he said. "It is inevitable if we put the services under such relentless strain that there will be more deaths as a result … we are dealing with people who are extremely stressed and extremely vulnerable and the services are not able to cope and not able to guarantee their safety." The first man who died was Muhammad Shukat, 47, a Pakistani immigration detainee who collapsed at around 6am on 2 July. His roommate Abdul Khan says that in the hours before he died Shukat was groaning in agony, had very bad chest pains and was sweating profusely. Khan, 19, from Afghanistan, said he began raising the alarm around 6am and pressed the emergency button in the room 10 times in a frantic effort to get help. Khan claimed that on three occasions members of the centre's nursing team entered the room and found Shukat on the floor where he had collapsed. Khan said they put him back into bed, took his temperature and some medicine was administered, but did not call emergency assistance immediately. According to Khan, the nurses initially said that Shukat could go to see the centre's doctor at 8am. According to the London Ambulance Service, Colnbrook staff called an ambulance just before 7.20am. Attempts were made to resuscitate Shukat, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Hillingdon Hospital. A postmortem found the provisional cause of death to be coronary heart disease. Shukat's body has been returned to Pakistan and his family are understood to have no concerns about the medical treatment he received. The second man to die at Colnbrook has not yet been named. According to the Metropolitan police he was 35 and was found dead in his cell at 10.30am last Sunday. London Ambulance Service officials pronounced him dead at the scene. "A postmortem held on 1 August found the cause of death to be a ruptured aorta. The death is being treated as unexplained," said a police spokesman. Colnbrook IRC is managed by Serco. In a statement to detainees about Shukat's death, deputy director at Colnbrook, Jenni Halliday, described her "deep regret" and extended her condolences. In a statement to detainees about the second Colnbrook death, Serco's contract manager, Michael Guy, informed detainees that a resident in the short-term holding facility had died and that the death was thought to be from natural causes. On Tuesday, a 35-year-old man hanged himself in the toilet block at Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire. A fellow detainee, who refused to give his name, said the man had been hours away from being deported and had become very anxious. "He was normally a very quiet person … but the pressure is too much for people in here." It is understood the man had only been at the centre for a few days before he died. The Home Office refused to give any more details saying his extended family had yet to be informed. Emma Ginn, from the campaign group Medical Justice, said the deaths had heightened concern about the poor healthcare on offer to those being kept in UK detention centres. "Based on medical evidence from many hundreds of detainees, Medical Justice has documented the disturbingly inadequate healthcare provision that often vulnerable immigration detainees are subjected to in Colnbrook and other immigration removal centres... [this] combined with the perilous and frightening conditions of detention, is a lethal cocktail, a disaster waiting to happen." The UK Border Agency declined to comment on the specific circumstances of each case. It said the police and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman always investigated deaths in immigration detention centres and it would be inappropriate to comment until these were complete. David Wood, director of criminality and detention at the UK Border Agency, said all detainees at immigration removal centres have access to health services seven days a week. "All detainees are seen by a nurse within two hours of arrival and are given an opportunity to see a GP within 24 hours," he added. "The health of all detainees is monitored closely, and the healthcare professionals are required to report cases where it is considered that a person's health is being affected by continued detention. "The UK takes its responsibilities seriously, which is why we consider every case on its individual merits and will continue to offer protection to those who need it. However, detention is an essential part of our controls on immigration in the UK." A groundbreaking ruling -- A man with severe mental illness was unlawfully locked up in a UK detention centre for five months and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, according to a high court ruling. The man, a 34-year-old Indian national, was detained in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre between April and September last year. On Friday a judge ruled that his treatment amounted to a breach of article 3 of the European convention human rights. The man's lawyer said the ruling – thought to be the first of its kind – raised wider questions about how the government treats people with mental illnesses in the immigration and detention system. "The court's decision that my client suffered inhuman or degrading treatment at a UK detention facility sends a very loud and clear message to the authorities," said. "We would urge the minister to conduct a fundamental review into how people suffering from mental illness are treated in the immigration detention estate." The man, referred to as "S" in the ruling, had a history of serious ill treatment and abuse before arriving in the UK. He served time in prison for wounding and assault before being transferred to a secure psychiatric hospital until his discharge in April 2010. Following his release the UK Border Agency said there was "no evidence" he was mentally ill and he was detained in Harmondsworth where his health deteriorated and he began to have psychotic episodes and self harm. The high court intervened and he was released on bail. His lawyers said he had been living with his family since then and had fully complied with the conditions of bail set by the court. In the ruling judge David Elvin said: "S's pre-existing mental condition was both triggered and exacerbated by detention and that involved both a debasement and humiliation of S since it showed a serious lack of respect for his human dignity. It created a state in S's mind of real anguish and fear, through his hallucinations, which led him to self-harm frequently and to behave in a manner which was humiliating…" A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: "We regularly review our detention policies and will look at the findings in this case to ensure lessons are learned. Detention is an essential part of our immigration control but we recognise the importance of ensuring it remains appropriate on a case by case basis."

June 22, 2009 Thaindian
The news that foreign criminals, including rapists and terrorists, are being treated to lavish cuisine as they wait to be deported, has not gone down with the taxpayers in Britain. There is an outrage among residents over money being spent on the preparation of mouthwatering dishes for 383 inmates, who are currently staying at a luxurious 47 million pounds Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre in Berkshire. The menu that these detainees are being offered includes oriental poached fish parcels, beef goulash and mint lamb stew. Each detainee is offered four choices for lunch and dinner, plus three vegetable options and a dessert. “The idea that these people should enjoy hotel-style standards of service and food is preposterous. Given the recession we’re living in, most people will think this type of arrangement is outrageous,” the Sun quoted Matthew Elliott, a local resident, as saying. Other delicacies offered to them include chicken chasseur, fish gumbo and beef and onion pie. They are handed a menu at the start of the week and asked to mark their choices for the next seven days - with food cooked to order. “Some of the dishes are so exotic they put Gordon Ramsay to shame. The grub’s certainly better than the local hotels. Now every foreign con wants to come here because the food is so good,” an official said. The scandal is the latest to hit the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre in Berkshire, which is run by a private firm ‘Serco’. Earlier it was reported how the detainees had access to Nintendo Wiis and plasma TVs.

June 2, 2009 The Independent
Allegations that asylum seekers are being bullied by immigration staff are not being properly investigated, a report into Britain's flagship immigration removal centre has found. The use of reasonable force to control detainees at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, near Heathrow Airport, had increased and was not always well managed, Anne Owers, the Chief Inspector of Prisons also found in a report published today. In the three months before the inspection, there had been 179 complaints ranging from bullying to poor food. Dame Anne said: "...we found little improvement at Colnbrook since our last visit... there was evidence of the centre taking inappropriate steps to manage some of the challenges; there were examples of separation being misused and the vulnerable persons unit was not fit for purpose." The centre, run by Serco, holds male detainees in the most secure facility in the detention estate. Dame Anne said: "A significant number of complaints, including allegations of staff bullying, were not adequately investigated and replies lacked detail." Dave Woods, head of criminality and detention at the UK Border Agency, said: "In the six months since HMCIP visited, safety, security and purposeful activity for detainees have improved significantly."

January 16, 2007 IC Coventry
Conditions in holding centres for immigration offenders awaiting deportation still need to be improved, the jails watchdog has said. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers published reports on four immigration short-term holding facilities at Colnbrook near Heathrow Airport, Sandford House in Solihull, and Liverpool's Reliance House and John Lennon Airport. Inspectors found that detainees at Colnbrook spent unacceptably long periods locked in single rooms, and there was a lack of information and independent advice for people facing removal. But it had avoided some of the problems seen in other facilities because it was managed by the Immigration Removal Centre, offering access to healthcare facilities, welfare and race relations support, Ms Owers said. Staff at the three centres in Liverpool and Solihull - all run by Group 4 Securicor - needed more training in the care and protection of children, her report found. The facilities also required reorganising for a mixed population, it added. Ms Owers said: "Accommodation still remains inadequate in many centres and the needs of detainees in relation to healthcare, information and advice, and preparations for release are not yet sufficiently met." Home Office Minister Liam Byrne said: "I take very seriously the recommendations, and action plans responding in detail are currently being drawn up to ensure further improvements are made. "It is important to remember that non-residential short-term holding facilities are intended to accommodate people for very brief periods of time." Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: "The inspector's report confirms what has been apparent for some time: that, for the Government, these people are out of sight and out of mind. "Any society should be ashamed when people are treated like this just because they are to be deported."

Docklands Light Railway
London, England
Serco
May 13, 2010 London Evening Standard
Docklands Light Railway operator Serco has been fined £450,000 after it failed to stop a train which hit and killed a man who had fallen off a platform. Robert Carter, 34, stumbled on to the lines at All Saints station following a late-night argument with another passenger, Paul Green. Mr Green telephoned police to say Mr Carter had a knife and had fallen on to the track. Officers asked the DLR control room to check if someone was on the lines, but this was treated as an “informal request” rather than an actual report, Southwark Crown Court was told. A control room operator failed to see Mr Carter on the track and did not halt the trains, which are automatic and do not have an actual driver. Shortly afterwards another member of the control room staff saw a police officer on All Saints station's CCTV waving his arms above his head. This operator immediately pressed an emergency plunger to halt an oncoming train but it was too late. The wheels struck Mr Carter, who suffered serious injuries and died in hospital. Serco was also ordered to pay £43,773 costs. It was found guilty last month, under health and safety regulations, of failing to ensure its automatic trains did not hit people who were on the tracks. Judge Deborah Taylor, passing sentence yesterday, said: “Serco fell considerably below what was required of it.” Procedures were “not robust or comprehensive enough” in dealing with incidents of human error. But the judge said it was clear that Serco “took safety seriously “ and there was “no suggestion profit was put before safety”. David Travers, QC, prosecuting for the Office of Rail Regulation, said Mr Carter was involved in an altercation with another passenger at All Saints. “After he fell, it would appear that Mr Carter was unable or unwilling to move — whether through injuries from the fall, intoxication or for some other reason is unknown,” said Mr Travers. “DLR staff looked at the station on their CCTV monitors, which are not suitable for seeing if anyone is on the track, and failed to see Mr Carter. The train which killed Mr Carter could have been stopped before reaching the station.” Jurors were played a recording of the British Transport Police call to the DLR control centre, in which line controller Paul Day was heard to say: “There's certainly no one on the track.” Stephen Moody, for Serco, said it had made several changes since the incident and improved safety procedures. It denied one count of failing to comply with its health and safety duties.

Doncaster Prison
South Yorkshire, UK
Serco (formerly known as Premier)

Mar 9, 2016 independent.co.uk
Violence, hostage taking and gang attacks rife in private prison, report finds
Staff shortages at one of Britain’s most modern jails run by the private-sector Serco has left wardens overwhelmed by high levels of violence, hostage-taking and gang assaults on its wings, an inspection report reveals today. Conditions at Doncaster prison – one of five run by the company which has a £3.5bn turnover – were so poor that inspectors spotted mice, cockroaches, missing window panes and exposed wires at the purpose-built prison. Inspectors said that violence was unacceptably high despite prison numbers being cut by 100 to try to deal with the deep-seated problems. Three inmates killed themselves in the past 18 months The Government has focused on problems within Victorian prisons. But campaigners said that conditions at Doncaster – one of 14 run privately – highlighted the extent of problems at new jails blighted by staff shortages and lack of investment. “Today’s report emphasises how misleading it is to blame the prison system’s failings on Victorian jails,” said Frances Crook, of the Howard League for Penal Reform. “If old buildings were the problem, we would be tearing down Oxbridge. Doncaster is a big, new, private prison, opened in 1994, but it is already infested with vermin. Prisons with too many prisoners and too few staff will fail, no matter how old they are.” The problems at Doncaster represent a case study of Prime Minister David Cameron’s complaint last month about the shameful level of prison violence, drug-taking and self-harm as he announced a shake-up of prisons and the treatment of inmates. Serco was awarded a new 15-year £250m contract from 2011 to run the prison, which holds more than 1,000 inmates, and said that it would “continue to ensure that it is a safe, secure, decent, efficient and responsible establishment”. But inspectors highlighted a raft of failures at the prison including attacks by gangs of men, persistent bullying and at least three hostage incidents. Nearly half of inmates thought it was easy to get drugs. Some prisoners said they were too frightened to leave their cells. Last year a convicted burglar, Keiron Simpson, killed a man with a single punch in an apparently motiveless attack in the prison. “The lack of staff was a critical problem,” the report said. Hospital appointments for sick inmates had to be cancelled because of a lack of escort staff to take them there. One prisoner, in a wheelchair, said he had not had a shower for more than two years because the necessary alterations had not been made. Juliet Lyon, director of the prison Reform Trust, said: “Since its opening, Doncaster has been better known for its institutional meanness and overcrowding than for the efficiency and innovation promised, but not always delivered, by the private sector.” Serco’s record has been mixed. Inspectors said that one of its institutions for sex offenders was very good, while violence at others was assessed to be too high. Julia Rogers, of Serco, said: “We are continuing to address the issues raised in this inspection and safety has improved, violence is gradually reducing and the house blocks have been refurbished.” A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We will be investing £1.3bn to transform the prison estate over the next five years, to better support rehabilitation and tackle bullying, violence and drugs.”

May 29, 2015
independent.co.uk
Violent robber ‘walks out door’ of Serco-run private prison

A “violent” robber managed to escape from a high-security prison run by the outsourcing giant Serco by walking out with a group of people who were visiting him, The Independent has learnt. Haroon Ahmed, 26, is being sought by police after escaping from HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire on Wednesday. He had been in jail since 2008, after being convicted of robbing a garage armed with a knife. Sources close to the prison, which has been run by the private company Serco since it opened in 2001, said Ahmed had managed to slip away unnoticed during visiting hours despite being on the prison’s “watch list”. The extraordinary escape came just hours before the publication of a report by the Government’s prisons watchdog which raised concerns about “very tight” staffing levels at Dovegate. Inspectors said that, on some occasions, entire wings of the prison had been left unstaffed while inmates were out of their cells. Dovegate is a Category B jail, designed to accommodate prisoners who are considered highly likely to attempt escape. It currently holds more than 900 male inmates, most of whom have been convicted of serious violent offences. One former member of staff at the prison, who did not want to be named, told The Independent that Ahmed should have had to pass through at least three locked doors to escape. “He left the visits hall with his visitors and just walked out, basically, which is shocking for a Cat B establishment,” they said. “He never even used violence [to make his escape], and it’s very rare for this to happen.” Haroon Ahmed, 26, is being sought by police after escaping from HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire Haroon Ahmed, 26, is being sought by police after escaping from HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire. Agreeing with inspectors that staffing levels at the prison were too low, the source added: “The situation at the moment is really bad – that’s why I feel it needs to be put out there. The Ministry of Justice needs to do something about it.” The source also claimed that corruption among prison staff was “rife”, with guards earning money by smuggling items such as iPhones to prisoners, and that reports detailing potential security problems at the jail often went unread. Staffordshire Police said Ahmed, who is described as Asian, 6ft tall with a thin build and short black hair in a crew cut, had escaped from the prison at around 4.15pm on Wednesday wearing jeans and a grey T-shirt. He is believed to be staying in the Derby area where he has “numerous connections”. A spokesman for the force said: “Officers involved in the search for him [on Thursday] arrested his brother, Majeed Ahmed, 25, of Derby, and have charged him with assisting a prisoner in escaping from prison. He has been released on bail to appear before magistrates on 25 June. “A black Volkswagen Golf was also recovered as part of the investigation and will be subject to a detailed forensic examination. Due to [Haroon Ahmed’s] conviction for a violent robbery we advise members of the public not to approach him.” Michael Guy, Serco’s director at Dovegate, said: “We are taking this extremely seriously and I have commissioned an investigation into the circumstances of the escape. We are working closely with the police to identify what went wrong and to address any failings.” A spokesperson for the Prison Service said it was “working closely” with police, adding: “Escapes from prison custody are extremely rare but we take each one incredibly seriously. Public protection is our top priority.” When prison inspectors visited the jail in January this year, they found high levels of violence, bullying, unjustified segregation and poor visiting arrangements. The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, said the jail’s performance “had dipped” since the inspectors’ last visit, with a new management team struggling to cope with an influx of violent inmates. “Prisoners were left feeling … insecure because staffing on units was often insufficient: we observed short periods when no staff were present on the units, even though a number of prisoners were unlocked,” he wrote in his report, published the day after Ahmed escaped. Inspectors praised the prison’s good living conditions and its resettlement work, but recommended that staffing levels on residential wings should be raised “to reassure prisoners about their safety”. It is understood that the jail’s staffing arrangements were already being reviewed by Serco before inspectors visited. READ MORE: SERCO SHARES PLUNGE AFTER ISSUING FOURTH PROFIT WARNING POLICE DROPS INVESTIGATION INTO SERCO'S PRISONER TRANSPORT CONTRACT SERCO GIVEN YARL’S WOOD CONTRACT DESPITE ‘VAST FAILINGS’  SELF-HARMING AND ABUSE PREVALENT IN PRIVATE PRISONS G4S YOUTH PRISON SLAMMED BY OFSTED REPORT Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Dovegate is an overcrowded and understaffed private prison that has struggled to tackle serious problems. Levels of violence and self-harm are high, and illicit drugs are easy to obtain. “When inspectors visited, there were occasions when they found no staff on the wings. This is particularly worrying in a prison where four people took their own lives in 2013.” Responding to Mr Hardwick’s report, Mr Guy said: “HMP Dovegate has recently faced a number of significant challenges including an influx of category-B prisoners, many of whom have been convicted of serious violent offences and a large number of whom have mental health issues. “We are pleased that the report recognises that we are focused on these challenges, that we have already made a number of improvements and that we have realistic plans for the future. We fully accept the recommendations… We know we have more to do.” Case file: Robber on the run Haroon Ahmed was only 19 when in January 2008 he robbed a garage in Derby at knifepoint. Shaun King, 20, was his accomplice.Derby Crown Court heard that the pair had their faces covered when they burst into the service station. “One of the men jumped on the counter with the knife,” cashier Kulan Sakthy recalled later. “He shoved me on to the counter and put the knife on my neck and said ‘Open the till’. I said, ‘What do you want me to do? Just don’t do anything to me’. It was terrifying.” The men made off with £500, cigarettes and mobile phones, but were arrested. Private prisons: previous scandals

* This month a report into Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre in Northamptonshire found that children had been subjected to “degrading treatment” and “racist comments” from staff under the influence of illegal drugs. Six members of staff at the G4S-run jail were sacked.

* Teenagers at a Serco-run Young Offender Institution near Bristol were “exposed to unacceptable levels of violence” by staff, inspectors said in 2013. HMP Ashfield is now an adult prison, but is still managed by Serco.

* Inspectors found a prisoner had been held in a “squalid” segregation cell for more than five years, at the women-only HMP Bronzefield in 2013. Sodexo said that due to her complex needs “no other option” was available.

A DISGRACED prison officer who was handed a suicide note by an inmate put it in his manager's 'in tray' to be dealt with the next morning. By that time Shaun Flanagan, aged 26, was dead - just three days after being locked-up on a charge of driving while disqualified. An inquest at Doncaster Coroner's Court was told prison officer Russell Calladine admitted he was too frightened to enter the cell where Mr Flanagan hanged himself in June 2006. Instead, he waited until colleagues at HMP Doncaster arrived a few minutes later before helping to cut the prisoner's noose. It has taken more than four years for evidence about Mr Flanagan's last hours to be heard in public, by a jury of four women and three men. Mr Flanagan, of South Street, Highfields, was supposed to be checked in his cell every 30 minutes because he was detoxifying from drug addiction. But questions have been raised about the checks carried out by Mr Calladine, who has since been sacked.

July 23, 2010 The Star
PRISONER-on-prisoner violence has more than doubled in Doncaster Prison last year after bosses put all the young offenders together. The figures for assaults reported at the Marshgate jail soared to 412 in 2009, compared to 192 in 2008. The figure was more than three time the 2007 figure of 127. The revelation comes as figures obtained by The Star under the Freedom of Information Act revealed there were 1,149 attacks on prisoners by other inmates over the last three years. Lindholme Prison saw the fewest, with 156 over three years, with 47 in 2009, 57 in 2008 and 52 in 2007. Moorland recorded 262, with 85 last year, 86 in 2008 and 91 in 2007. A Ministry of Justice Spokesman said: "The rise on prisoner-on-prisoner assaults recorded at HMP Doncaster in 2009 was due to restructuring in the prison whereby its young offender population was relocated to a single block, rather than dispersed among the adult population. This resulted in a temporary spike in assaults and particularly fights among young offenders.

April 23, 2006 24 DASH
Prison officers are calling for all jail wardens to be better armed claiming they should be given metal batons in order to defend themselves from assault. The Prison Officers Association (POA) conference next month will vote on whether the extendable baton should be allowed in many more prisons. The union's national general secretary Brian Caton said he supported the proposals and predicted the motions would be passed. Currently, staff at private prisons such as Doncaster do not carry batons. "We would say that's wrong," Mr Caton said. "Prisoners in private prisons are no less violent, they're no less difficult. "You are twice as likely to be attacked in a private prison as in a public prison." Last July the Chief Inspector of Prisons warned that staff at a privately-run prison were being bullied by inmates. Anne Owers demanded urgent action after discovering unsafe conditions at Rye Hill jail, near Rugby in Warwickshire, which is run by GSL UK Ltd. Inexperienced officers were ignoring misbehaviour and evidence of contraband in order to "survive" on the wings, the report said.

April 12, 2006 Politics.Co.UK
The government has been forced to defend its use of private contractors to run Britain's prisons in the wake of a critical report from the chief inspector. Anne Owers says that while Doncaster is "by no means a bad local prison", where relationships with staff and inmates are generally good, physical conditions are "sometimes squalid". Many prisoners lack basics such as pillows, toilet seats and working televisions, some cells are dirty and covered in graffiti, and she highlights "institutional meanness" in making prisoners pay to change their account number which allows them to call home. In her report, Ms Owers notes the prison has good points, in particular in its resettlement of offenders and community re-entry facilities, but warns the problems were all in areas "not specifically mandated by the contract under which the prison is run". "There remains a concern that, in focusing on meeting their contractual obligations, prison managers had allowed important areas to slip below what was safe and decent; and indeed may have sought savings in precisely those areas," she said. Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, seized upon today's report as an example of the "manifest failings of private prisons". "It exposes the fallacy promulgated by the Home Office that private prisons have helped to improve prison conditions, raised standards or fostered advances in the decent treatment of prisoners and staff. Doncaster shows that this is not the case," she said. "Unsurprisingly, the chief inspector draws attention to the fact that those areas in which the prison is failing are those in which it was not contractually obliged by the Home Office to meet particular standards."

April 12, 2006 The Mirror
DONCASTER prison has been described as "squalid" and showing signs of "institutional meanness" in a damning report by the jails' watchdog. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers expressed concern that prison chiefs had let standards slip at the 800-inmate jail and made savings to meet Home Office contract targets. She claims the medium security jail, which is run by private company Serco - formerly known as Premier Prison Services - had deteriorated since it was last inspected in 2003. Her report said one example of "meanness" was charging inmates 50 pence to change family telephone numbers on the automated phone system, which was branded "particularly unfair" because of the shortage of paying jobs in the jail. The chief inspector said: "Respect was seriously undermined by the physical conditions in which many prisoners lived, which in some cases were squalid. Many prisoners lacked pillows, adequate mattresses, toilet seats, working televisions, notice-boards and places to store belongings. "Some cells, especially on the young prisoners' wing, were dirty and festooned with graffiti." First night cells were "squalid" with no hot water, "lumps of foam" as mattresses and "dirty" bedding, said the report. In other areas, bedding was "heavily soiled". Ms Owers also pointed out bullying problems were not properly addressed at the prison and only 29 per cent of young ethnic minority prisoners reported that staff treated them well. In 2003, Ms Owers said Doncaster was a good jail which needed to increase the amount of purposeful activities available - such as work or education - and improve first night facilities. On her return last November, she found it had not tackled these problems and had slipped back in a number of other areas. But, overall, she said Doncaster was "by no means a bad prison". Making 156 recommendations for improvement, Ms Owers said: "Our main concern was not only that managers had failed to tackle problems we pointed out in our last inspection, but that the prison had deteriorated in some important respects - all in areas not mandated in the prison's contract. Yorkshire and Humberside regional offender manager, Paul Wilson, said: "I am satisfied that Serco has responded quickly and appropriately to the inspectorate's recommendations and that the director and his staff are committed to continuous improvement of standards of offender management."

May 6, 2005 The Mirror
VALENTINE'S Day killer Paul Dyson slit his wrists and scrawled "Sorry" on his jail cell wall before admitting responsibility for his girlfriend Joanne Nelson's death. The former bouncer, charged earlier this week, smuggled a small blade into his prison. A guard found him slumped on the floor of his cell in the early hours. Doncaster Prison, where Dyson is being held, opened nine years ago and was Britain's first private jail. It is run by Premier Prisons, which is partly American owned. The jail has been hit by controversy in the past, with allegations of bullying and high numbers of suicides.

August 14, 2010 The Sun
ONE of Damilola Taylor's killers is claiming £100,000 from prison bosses for failing to stop a lag from slicing off one of his ears. Evil Ricky Preddie, 23, was lured into his attacker's cell and hacked with a home-made knife after a row over a game of pool. Doctors could not sew the lug back on. Preddie is suing private firm Serco, which runs Dovecote Prison, Staffs. Last night Damilola's dad called the claim "outrageous". Richard, 62, said: "He doesn't deserve a penny. Ricky was attacked in prison because he remains as arrogant as ever. "If he had been sentenced properly - and by that I mean the death penalty - then he could only launch his claim in hell." A Serco spokesman said: "Mr Preddie made a complaint that we believe has no substance and have refuted."

January 26, 2010 Derby Telegraph
A FORMER prison officer has appeared in court accused of helping an inmate to escape from a Derbyshire jail. Andrea Clarke is also charged with harbouring an escaped prisoner and leaving a prohibited article for importation into prison. Clarke had been employed at the privately-run Dovegate Prison. But the charges relate to the escape of an inmate from Sudbury Prison, three miles away. The 36-year-old, of Burton, appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court yesterday but entered no plea. The case was committed to Derby Crown Court. Dovegate Prison, in Marchington, near Uttoxeter, is a category B prison run by Serco. A spokesman for HMP Dovegate said: "The individual concerned no longer works for Serco. We continue to fully co-operate with the police."

December 17, 2009 Liverpool Daily Post
A LIVERPOOL prison is among five in the country allowing its inmates to watch satellite television. More than 4,000 prisoners enjoy the privilege in private jails nationwide. Altcourse Prison, in Fazakerley, is among the contractor-run prisons allowing access to a “limited number” of satellite channels. The number of prisoners allowed to watch satellite varies according to behaviour. But Justice minister and city MP Maria Eagle revealed the number was currently around 4,070. The Garston MP was responding to a written question from Tory MP Philip Davies. She said no inmates in public sector jails have access to satellite in their quarters. But they do at Altcourse and other GS4-run prisons in South Wales and Warwickshire. The other private prisons offering satellite television are run by Serco in Staffordshire and Nottingham. Ms Eagle said: “In these establishments, satellite television in cells is generally only available to prisoners on the enhanced or standard level of the incentives and earned privileges scheme.” There are 84,500 prisoners in England and Wales, meaning around one in 20 has access to satellite TV.

December 8, 2009 Yorkshire Post
A JUDGE has urged a thorough investigation into how a dangerous criminal was able to use a mobile phone in prison to organise the punishment shooting of another man who might now lose a leg. Leyon Randall was in Dovegate Prison, Staffordshire, serving an indeterminate jail sentence for robbery, kidnap and firearms offences, at the time he arranged the shooting of Geovannie Meade in Leeds in May this year. Yesterday Randall and his brother Lloyd were both jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court after being convicted by a jury of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Meade. Judge Scott Wolstenholme said: "It is a very serious situation." It appeared Leyon Randall was able not only to communicate regularly via a mobile phone but to organise the "ruthless shooting from the comfort of his jail cell using a mobile phone he had had for weeks if not months". It was also suggested during the case that had been done with the connivance of officers at the jail. "That may be an outrageous lie but it is something I would have thought needs thoroughly investigating," the judge added. He said the shooting was carried out by Lloyd Randall because his brother believed Mr Meade was spending too much time with his girlfriend Amy Farnhill. The fact he was prepared to arrange such lethal violence to settle "petty scores" confirmed the view he was dangerous. It also showed a mobile phone in the wrong hands in prison could be a very dangerous weapon. Sentencing both to life, the judge ordered Leyon Randall, 29, to serve a minimum of eight years and Lloyd Randall, 29 of Recreation Street, Holbeck, Leeds to a minimum of seven years in jail. Both denied any involvement in the shooting. Susanna Holdsworth, 26, a care assistant, found guilty by the jury of perverting the course of justice, was jailed for two years. She gave Lloyd Randall an alibi for the time of the shooting. Farnhill, 18, was cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The jury heard from David Dixon, prosecuting, that on May 9 Mr Meade was invited to Farnhill's address in Lingfield Gate, Moortown, Leeds, but as he arrived in the early hours he was approached by Lloyd Randall and another man, and was shot in the leg by Randall. He had surgery in hospital and further operations since but may still lose his leg. A spokesman for Serco which operates HMP Dovegate said they had worked with West Yorkshire Police in the case: "HMP Dovegate has a leading reputation for reducing and preventing the use of illicit mobile phones. This year alone we have confiscated 46 illegal phones from prisoners or visitors."

September 11, 2009 Burton Mail
A PRIVATE prison near Burton says it has taken action on failings surrounding the death of a prisoner last year. The inquest of Simon Coutts, who was found hanged in his cell at HMP Dovegate, in Marchington, in June last year, concluded yesterday at Stafford Coroner’s Court. The 29-year-old, originally from Manchester, was discovered by prison officers with a ligature around his neck, days after receiving a ‘dear John’ letter from his wife ending their relationship. Details of Coutts’ conviction or how long he was serving were not disclosed at the hearing. The inquest heard from DC Dave Johnstone, the investigating officer from Burton police, that Coutts used a sheet and a towel, wrapped together using electric cable as a ligature. This was fixed to a ligature point — consisting of a hook attached to a small wooden block stuck to the wall using a powerful adhesive glue — with shoe laces. DC Johnstone told the hearing that as well as the hook on the cell wall, there were also makeshift shelves attached, and a bird cage holding a budgerigar, which was permitted in the ‘therapeutic community’ (TC) which houses 200 of the prison’s 700 inmates. Eric Pearson, the investigating officer for prison owner Serco, had told the hearing the previous day that there had been ‘failings’ by prison staff, whom he believed had not carried out cell checks on the night of Coutts’ death. He said both the ligature point and toilet roll used to block the cell door’s glass window should have been spotted and removed if correct checks had been performed.

September 4, 2003
Staff at a private jail were so inexperienced they were unwilling or unable to confront inmates, the chief inspector of prisons said today.  Faults at Dovegate prison in Staffordshire included a "cumbersome" system to deal with insubordination, which allowed prisoners to "exploit the situation" and avoid punishment, Anne Owers said.  Operator Premier Custodial Group was also accused of maintaining a "policy facade" disguising a lack of effective systems.  The report, though praising the jail for its facilities and innovations, was seized on by prison reformers and trades unionists who have long claimed privatised jails were inadequately staffed.  The 800-inmate category B jail near Uttoxeter held sophisticated offenders who were "capable of exploiting any weaknesses or naivety in the staff who supervise them," said Ms Owers.  "There was a worrying lack of experience and confidence among a young, locally recruited staff, few of whom had any previous prison experience and who were operating with low staffing levels and high staff turnover," the report said.  "We observed an inability or unwillingness to confront prisoners appropriately." Few prisoners had privileges taken away even if they misbehaved, leading to the whole system being "seriously undermined".  Inspectors said in their report: "Drug use appeared prevalent, yet drug reduction measures were given low priority."  They also found that a so-called "personal officer" scheme designed to build a personal relationship between staff and inmates existed "in name only".  A survey by Ms Owers' team found that 17 per cent of inmates reported being kicked, punched or assaulted by another prisoner.  But there was reluctance to stop bullying even though an anti-bullying strategy had supposedly been put in place.  Premier has a 15-year contract with the Home Office to run Dovegate, which opened in July 2001, although how much it is paid remains secret.  (Birmingham Post)

September 3, 2003
Homemade weapons and illicit hooch have been found at a privately run prison where staff were so inexperienced that they were unable to confront the inmates, according to a report by the chief inspector of prisons.  The inspection at the 800-inmate Dovegate prison, near Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, was carried out in April and found that in contrast to the staff, the prisoners were so sophisticated that they were able to exploit any weakness among the staff.  Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, said Dovegate, with its young staff recruited locally, provided further evidence for the critics of the private prison sector. The company, Premier Custodial Group, operated the prison with low staffing levels and a high turnover.  But she said the prison, which opened in July 2001, also provided evidence of good relations between staff and prisoners. The prison was praised for its cleanliness and the time spent out of cell by inmates in useful activities.  It was to the credit of the prison that the potentially dangerous mix of sophisticated inmates and inexperienced staff had resulted in a mostly safe prison based on mutual respect, Ms Owers said. But she criticised the "cumbersome" system for dealing with insubordination which allowed prisoners to avoid punishment.  A search carried out the week before the inspection uncovered the weapons and alcohol, suggesting that regular cell searches were not thorough.  Kevin Rogers, Dovegate's director, defended the prison's staffing policies and said it managed with fewer staff than most state-run prisons because of the "open minds of the new recruits" and union agreements which allowed it to run a more flexible working system.  (The Guardian)

Dovegate
Prison, Staffordshire
Jan 8, 2017 dailystar.co.uk
Jail racket busted: Tennis balls used to smuggle drugs into Staffordshire prison
BUSTED: Eight drug packages were smuggled into HMP Dovegate inside of tennis balls. The eight packages had been served up over a perimeter fence early on Christmas Eve. Officers at HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire found them outside the jail’s L wing after getting a tip off. Each ball had been opened, packed with drugs and sewn together again. They were then hurled over the fence from the public side of the category B unit. “Everybody was walking around shouting ‘balls please’”. “It’s one of the more unusual techniques used to smuggle drugs. “But a tennis ball is the ideal object to throw long distances and is pretty inconspicuous. “The theory is an inmate was waiting for the delivery but officers got there first.” The consignment was mainly made up of so-called “legal highs” including Spice. The discovery was made at the private jail, run by Serco, at 8am on December 24.Staff also found a white iPhone during a search. Staffordshire police have now launched their own investigation. Glyn Travis, from the Prison Officers Association, said: “Criminals will use all means to smuggle contraband. “This haul of drugs and mobiles was stopped because of the professional action of staff. “But, because of cuts and lower staff numbers, it is harder to stop smuggling.” Dovegate, near Uttoxeter, opened in 2001 and has room for 1,060 inmates.

Feb 13, 2016 bbc.com

Legal highs may have sparked HMP Dovegate riot
Serco said it was "working extremely hard" to address the issues at HMP Dovegate. So-called legal highs could have sparked a riot at Dovegate Prison in Staffordshire, a report has found. Six prisoners took over a residential wing last March. A "catastrophic failure of basic security procedure" allowed a convicted robber to escape in May, independent inspectors said. The use of so-called legal highs led to widespread debt, bullying and violence among inmates, inspectors found. Serco said the report recognised challenges of psychoactive substances. The Independent Monitoring Board annual report said: "Assaults and weapon finds still give rise for concern." In the nine months to the end of September 2015 there were 38 assaults on staff by prisoners and 106 assaults between inmates. There were 45 fights and 136 weapon finds, the report said. New psychoactive substances "could well have been a major contributing factor" for the events of 26 March, said the report. Six prisoners caused "significant interruption to the prison regime" and the National Offender Management service's riot unit, known as the Tornado team, was called in to restore order.

Dover Asylum Screening Centre

London City Airport
Group 4 (formerly run by Global Solutions)

September 12, 2005 BBC
Immigration detainees have been forced to sleep on tables or plastic chairs because of sub-standard provisions, the prisons watchdog has revealed. Facilities at Gatwick Airport, London City Airport and Dover Asylum Centre were inappropriate for overnight stays, the chief inspector of prisons said. City Airport was "unsuitable" for holding children, the report said. The government said it takes detainees' welfare seriously but that facilities may need independent monitoring. Holding centres at ports and airports hold foreign travellers whose permission to be in the country needs to be examined by immigration officers. But none of the centres inspected, all run by private company GSL UK Limited, had adequate child protection arrangements, according to the report. Inspectors found detainees were sleeping in inadequate conditions, there were no regular healthcare visits and suicide-prevention measures were not good enough.

August 16, 2005 BBC
Facilities at four short-term immigrant holding centres have been condemned as "inadequate" by the prisons watchdog. Dover Asylum Screening Centre, a centre at London City Airport and two at Gatwick Airport are not suitable for overnight stays, its report says.
Detainees were found to have slept on tables or plastic chairs, it adds. Immigrants are only supposed to be detained for a few hours, but Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said people were sometimes held overnight, and occasionally for up to 36 hours. Ms Owers said none of the centres had adequate child protection arrangements. A spokesman for GSL UK Limited, which was in charge of the centres at the time of the inspections, said it was inappropriate to comment as the company no longer ran them. The centres have since been taken over by Group 4 Securicor.

Downview Women's Prison
Banstead, UK
Aramark
March 27, 2007 IC Surrey
REPLACING prison food with over-priced outside catering fare is a recipe for disaster in a women's jail. This is the opinion of prison visitors whose latest report says inmates much preferred 'porridge' the way it is. Aramark, the company which has taken over the canteen at Downview Women's Prison, is typical of the caterers who have taken over the food at many jails. And the report by the Independent Monitoring Board claims the new system is not being welcomed anywhere. The report says: "We were warned in advance by other independent monitoring boards who had experienced a similar change to expect a disastrous transfer - and it has been. "The decision to privatise the canteen may bring cash benefit to the Treasury but the introduction of Aramark to run the prison canteen has so far been a disaster. "For prisoners the canteen is one of the most important facets of their lives but prices have risen sharply,the inventory has shrunk, revisions take ages to implement and the administration is poor. "In contrast the old prison-run canteen at least understood the needs of the prisoners and charged prices that matched their wages. "It worked and this seems to be the same story repeated throughout as prison after prison has lost control of its canteens." In a report which praises "committed and dedicated" staff, the board said all the faults it found with Downview were beyond their control.

Dungavel Detention Centre
Lanarkshire, Britain
Wackenhut
May 8, 2016 bbc.com
Hundreds join Dungavel detention centre protest
Hundreds of campaigners have joined a protest outside a detention centre calling for it to be shut down. Pressure group, We Will Rise, organised the demonstration and members branded Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre "racist and inhumane". Protesters, including former detainees, asylum seekers and refugees, surrounded the centre near Strathaven in South Lanarkshire. The Home Office said detention was part of a "firm but fair" system. They chanted "shut down Dungavel" and held up banners reading "no one is illegal". Former Dungavel detainee, Sally Martinez, told the crowd: "We believe we can end detention in Scotland. To see so many people here is really inspiring. The costs of detention are too great - it has a human cost, a financial cost and a moral cost. Dungavel's time is up." Sonny Adisa, also a former detainee, added: "Not only is the system racist and inhumane, but it's illogical too. Scotland needs immigration, yet it's spending public money on locking people up that could contribute to society." A Home Office statement said: "Detention is an important part of a firm but fair immigration system, helping to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country if they will not leave voluntarily. "Decisions to detain individuals are reviewed regularly to ensure they remain justified and reasonable and, if necessary, they can be challenged through the courts. "We are committed to treating all detainees with dignity and respect and take the welfare of detainees very seriously." Dungavel House, which opened in 2001, holds up to 249 detainees and is the only such centre in Scotland. It is operated under contract to the Home Office by GEO Group Ltd. The protest was part of a Europe-wide day of action against detention centres.

Jul 7, 2015 commonspace.scot

Prisons inspector criticises Dungavel Detention Centre for treatment of rape and torture victims
THE TREATMENT of vulnerable asylum seekers at Dungavel detention centre, some who may have been victims of rape and torture, has been criticised in a report by the UK’s chief prison inspector. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found that vulnerable individuals were being detained in contravention of rules designed to protect vulnerable people from detention. However, it did state that Dungavel was a “safe place” for detainees. The report was from a visit made between 9-20 February this year and has only been made available now. According to the report, in some cases evidence of torture was “compelling but detention had been maintained”. One reply to a detainee’s report of trauma said “you may have been a victim of torture. However, it has been decided that you will remain in detention”. Another case is highlighted where a traumatised women, who reported being the victim of rape, was held in detention too long. Despite the centre’s health team saying that the women was “very traumatised”, “unsuitable for detention” and advising that she “should be released”, the woman was transported to Yarl’s Wood detention centre in England. She was eventually moved back to Dungavel before being released to social services, a total of nine days after the Home Office was alerted to her trauma. “We see people in detention deteriorate before our very eyes.” Kate Alexander, Scottish Detainee Visitors Kate Alexander from Scottish Detainee Visitors said that the report backs up the findings of a parliamentary enquiry into detention. “The biggest problems are that people are detained too long and vulnerable people are detained,” she said. “We frequently see people who are vulnerable and often their mental health problems are a result of long term detention. We see people in detention deteriorate before our very eyes. “There are problems at Dungavel, but the key problem remains the system of detention itself.” The legislation that governs Dungavel, 2001 Detention Centre Rules, requires a report be sent to the Home Office if a person’s physical or mental health is likely be affected by detention, including if they have been tortured. "You may have been a victim of torture. However, it has been decided that you will remain in detention" Response to Dungavel detainee. According to HMIP, the qualities of these “Rule 35” reports was “variable”. “Some were very clear, detailed and persuasive, while others were short and lacked diagnostic findings. Two of the 10 reports we looked at had led to release, but in other compelling cases detention had been maintained,” said the report. The report is also critical of the “unreasonable” length of time that detainees spend in Dungavel. An Iranian man is reported to have spent over 2 and a half years in the centre and the report blames Home Office delays in processing asylum claims for prolonging periods of detention. The UK is the only country in the EU which has no cap on how long people can be detained under immigration powers. In April, the Home Office refused a request from a delegation of political and religious leaders to visit Dungavel detention centre. This followed a hunger-strike from detainees inside the centre, which was reported on CommonSpace (click here to read more). The centre is run by American multinational GEO Group which operates prisons in the United States as well as a migrant operations centre in Guantanamo Bay. The HMIP report is critical of the fact that detainees are transported to and from Dungavel over night and are refused comfort breaks, even on long journeys. It said that too many detainees were unnecessarily handcuffed during external appointments, with 49 of 50 risk assessments studied leading to the handcuffing. Meanwhile also documented is the controversial practise of paying detainees only £1 an hour for work undertaken in detention.  In addition, the vast majority of detainees (67 per cent) said that they had not received any visits from family or friends at the centre. In a statement, the Home Office said: ”Detention and removal are essential parts of effective immigration controls, helping to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country if they will not leave voluntarily. “We take our responsibilities towards detainees' welfare extremely seriously. That is why the Home Secretary has commissioned an independent review of detainees' welfare to be conducted by the former prisons ombudsman Stephen Shaw. This is expected to be completed in the autumn.”

September 21, 2003
Campaigners have reacted angrily to reports that the Dungavel asylum centre's capacity is to be increased . The Home Office has confirmed that it is looking at a £3m project to increase capacity by a quarter to 194. This would involve new pre-fabricated buildings with bars on the windows being built at the centre in south Lanarkshire. The Scottish National Party accused the Scottish Executive of "dishonesty" and of hiding the plans. This is one of a number of plans to increase the size of detention of state Home Office spokesman MSPs have clashed over who is responsible for Dungavel as the UK Government is currently in charge of immigration and asylum, but education in Scotland is a devolved matter. An executive spokesman said again on Sunday that immigration and the operation of Dungavel is reserved to Westminster and the Home Office. Collusion claim A Home Office spokesman said: "This is one of a number of plans to increase the size of detention of state. "If it goes ahead the capacity will increase to 194. But the extra space will not be used for families and instead will house single males." Linda Fabiani, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, accused the executive of colluding with the Home Office. She said: "Ministers are being very dishonest about this. They should be deeply ashamed at what they are allowing the Home Office to do. "They're going to have to take notice of the people in Scotland who know that they are breaching human rights." The MSP claimed the plans were prove that Dungavel was being used like a prison. She said: "They (the executive) have chosen to make this place a prison and are actually building prison facilities with bars on the windows. "They are locking children up in that environment." Labour MSP Elaine Smith, the member for Coatbridge and Chryston, said the plans should have been revealed months ago. Labour MP Michael Connarty, a campaigner against the detention of children at the centre, said he was concerned. He said: "We need to move away from this type of facility. "I'm concerned we seem to be consolidating Dungavel's role. It is a prison establishment and unsuitable for children." (BBC News)

September 11, 2003
Westminster has effectively ruled out educating children held at the Dungavel asylum centre in local schools.  Immigration Minister Beverley Hughes said she wanted the "best possible education" provided for children inside the centre.  In a special debate in the Scottish Parliament, Scottish National Party leader John Swinney appealed to MSPs to follow their consciences and end the policy of detaining children.  The privately-run centre in South Lanarkshire, which can hold up to 150 asylum seekers, has caused controversy by holding children in the former prison for long periods with their parents.  An SNP motion in parliament called for "an end to the detention of children" at the Dungavel Immigration and Removal centre.  It also sought an end to "a system of detention of children at Dungavel which denies them access to social contact and to educational and other services in the local community".  In an impassioned speech, Scottish Socialist MSP Rosie Kane made clear her opposition to Dungavel.  She said: "Detention of innocent people is wrong. Dungavel and other detention centres all over the UK are wrong.  (BBC News)

September 6, 2003
About a thousand people have joined a human rights demonstration outside the controversial Dungavel Detention Centre in Lanarkshire.  The event was planned to coincide with the second anniversary of the centre's opening.  Organisers the Scottish Trades Unions Congress (STUC) said the protest reflected growing public concern over the treatment of asylum seekers there.  A spokesman said it was outrageous that asylum seekers and their families had been detained in Scotland over the past two years, having committed no crime and with no charges against them.  (BBC News)

August 15, 2003
The long-term detention of children in immigration removal centres should stop, the chief inspector of prisons has said.  Anne Owers' call is made in a report on the Dungavel detention centre in Lanarkshire, the only such centre in Britain where children are regularly held for long periods.  Opposition politicians and churches in Scotland have demanded the closure of the 62-bed family unit at Dungavel.  The privately-run centre holds up to 148 failed asylum seekers and other immigration detainees.  (BBC News)

Elmley Prison
Kent, UK
Serco

May 24, 2010  Kent News
Four people, including a prison guard, have been sentenced for conspiracy to supply drugs and mobile phones to convicts. The drugs had a prison ‘street value’ of around £17,000 in HMP Elmley prison, and the judge described the crimes as "very serious offences, as drugs and mobile phones are a form of currency within prisons which can destroy prison life". Prisoner Darren Byrne, 30, of HMP Elmley, received eight years imprisonment for his role as ringleader in the conspiracy. At Maidstone Crown Court Judge Gold said: "You were at the hub of this conspiracy, orchestrating it all from within the prison walls". The court heard how officers had found a mobile phone and Sim card in Byrne's cell and the phone revealed a series of text messages between him and Carly Morris revealing key information about the smuggling operation. Morris, 25, from Dover, formerly a Serco court security employee working at Canterbury Crown Court, was given a total of five years imprisonment for her role in the conspiracy. Judge Gold said Morris "had a responsibility to transport and guard prisoners and that she had abused her position of trust" by passing over drugs and mobile phones to prisoners to smuggle back into HMP Elmley.

June 3, 2009 Little Hampton Gazette
A former prison worker has been remanded on bail after appearing in court charged with trying to smuggle drugs into a Kent prison. Carly Joanne Morris, 24, who has left her post at Serco, was charged with conspiracy to supply drugs into Elmley Prison on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, along with three other people. Prison inmate Darren Paul Byrne, 29, Dino Lewis Gillet, 37, unemployed, of Canterbury Road, Westgate-on-Sea, and his wife, Sahra Naomi Gillet, 35, also unemployed and of the same address, also appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court for a preliminary hearing. All four are also charged with conveying prohibited articles into the prison. Morris, from Dover, and Mrs Gillet were remanded on bail. Mr Gillet and Byrne were remanded in custody until their next appearance at Maidstone Crown Court on June 15. Officers from the serious and organised crime unit within Kent Police's specialist operations directorate made the arrests following a joint investigation between Kent Police and HMP Elmley security department. More than 18 police officers were involved in the investigation and arrests and properties in Grange Road, Ramsgate, and Canterbury Road, Westgate-on-Sea, were searched. The arrests come after another former Serco worker was charged with trying to smuggle drugs into the jail last month.

May 14, 2009 BBC
A former prison worker has been charged with trying to smuggle drugs into a Kent jail. Kent Police charged Zoe Spenser-Campbell, 25, with conspiracy to supply controlled drugs into Elmley Prison on the Isle of Sheppey. The former Serco employee was charged alongside labourer Jason Howsam, 26, who lives at the same address in High Street, Herne Bay. A second man who was also arrested on Tuesday was released without charge. The arrests followed a joint investigation between the serious and organised crime unit within Kent Police's specialist operations directorate and HMP Elmley security department.

Forest Bank Prison
Agecroft, UK
Sodexho (Kalyx)
September 30, 2011 Manchester Evening News
A prison manager demoted over the dramatic escape of a gangster has been found hanged at his home. Tony Purslow was part of an escort taking criminal Michael O'Donnell to hospital in an ambulance when it was subjected to a 'terrifying' attack by a gang of bat-wielding masked men in Salford. O'Donnell, who had been awaiting sentence for conspiracy to rob and commit burglary, was sprung by the gang and spent nearly a month at large. Mr Purslow – who worked at Forest Bank in Salford - was hauled before a disciplinary committee and demoted to the rank of senior custody officer, cutting his salary by £10,000 a year. Three other prison officers who were in the ambulance at the time of the escape were sacked. Mr Purslow, 50, was found dead at his home in Leigh last Thursday. He was immaculately dressed in a suit and had a picture of his family in his top pocket.

February 11, 2011 BBC
A former prison nurse who smuggled a mobile phone into a Salford jail could have put people's lives at risk, police have said. Leanne Cartledge, 23, of Miles Platting, hid the mobile phone in her clothing and gave it to a prisoner she was in a relationship with. She admitted taking a prohibited article into the privately-run HMP Forest Bank prison last year. On Thursday, she was jailed for four months at Minshull Street Crown Court. Det Con Phil Marsh, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Cartledge was employed in a position of a trust - a position she abused when she smuggled a prohibited item into the prison and our investigations revealed her actions had serious and far-reaching implications. "Any time a mobile phone is illegally handed to someone who is in prison, it can give that offender a lifeline to continue their criminality in the outside world which has a knock-on effect for many people, potentially putting them at risk. "It can also lead to fights between other inmates, bullying and witness intimidation so clearly her actions were both foolish and dangerous." A spokeswoman for Kalyx, which runs HMP Forest Bank, said they were not able to comment on individual cases.

November 9, 2010 Manchester Evening News
Young prisoners are being tied up in bed linen and beaten by other inmates, a report said today. The practice, known as "sheeting", is seen as horseplay by some staff at Forest Bank prison, in Salford, Greater Manchester, but the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, condemned it as "serious bullying" which needs to be stopped. "A very vulnerable young man who spoke to us described it as him being tied up inside a duvet cover and 'battered' every night," he said. "A number of prisoners talked to us about 'sheeting' and these were incidents that the prison had recorded on a number of occasions. "A prison officer on a wing described it to us as horseplay. Prison management had limited knowledge of it. We are satisfied this does occur and needs to be stopped." Forest Bank, a category B local prison for adult and young adult men, was operating under its full operational capacity of 1,424 prisoners at the time of the inspection between June 29 and July 9, the report said. The report found that the prison is making improvements in cutting out drug abuse - with only one in ten prisoners failing a random drugs test in 2009 compared with four in ten in 2005. About half of the prison's 110 young adults were held on the A1 landing, where most of the incidents of sheeting took place and inmates there identified "serious concerns about their safety", the inspectors said. "A prisoner was forcibly put inside a duvet cover and the opening knotted so that he could not release himself while perpetrators carried out random acts of violence," Mr Hardwick said. "Prisoners told us that it was common and we met a number of young people who had clearly been victimised in this way." He added: "We were concerned that for a small minority of prisoners, it was not at all safe and in some cases, prison officers on the wings had a passive attitude to bullying and unexplained injuries - however good the policies."

May 28, 2010 BBC
A prisoner who cut off part of his ear so he could escape from an ambulance in Greater Manchester has been arrested. Michael O'Donnell, 29, was on remand at HMP Forest Bank in Salford when he took a razor to his ear while in his cell. He was taken to hospital on 2 May, but on the way the ambulance was held up by masked men and O'Donnell escaped. He was arrested at Pontin's in Southport, Merseyside, on Friday on suspicion of escaping from lawful custody. Two other men, aged 24 and 52, were also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy in assisting an offender to escape from lawful custody. O'Donnell was sharing a cell with his brother when the incident happened. He was being taken to Hope Hospital when a stolen BMW pulled in front of it, forcing it to stop on Agecroft Road. Four masked men then attacked the vehicle with baseball bats and bolt cutters and O'Donnell, who was escorted by three prison guards, escaped. The BMW, which had been stolen in a burglary on 30 April in Levenshulme, was later found abandoned near to Lumbs Lane. O'Donnell was due to be sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday for conspiracy to convert criminal property, in relation to a car cloning crime ring.

May 4, 2010 Manchester Evening News
A prison has launched an inquiry after a dangerous robber was sprung by a masked gang as he was taken to hospital. Michael O’Donnell is believed to have used a razor blade to slice off part of his own ear to set up his escape. The gang stopped the ambulance taking him to hospital from Forest Bank prison in Salford early on Sunday before forcing guards to free him. They then fled in a stolen BMW. His escape was the third in five years from the privately-run jail. In 2006, robber Michael Halligan, then 26, from Salford, gave two Forest Bank guards the slip as he waited for a minor operation in hospital. The year before, car-jacker Neil Brennan was sprung. He deliberately injured his hand and made a phone call from inside the prison to tip-off his hijackers. Forest Bank opened in 2000 at a cost of £46m and is run by Kalyx, which runs four prisons in England and Scotland. The prison will consider how the gang appeared to know precisely when the ambulance was due out of the prison and whether mobile phones may have played a part in the operation. Colin Moses, chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association, said: “Prisons should not be for profit. “It lowers standards and lowers wages. As a result, you get incidents like this. We are in an election when there’s a lot of talk about getting rid of the public sector. If this is how the private sector runs a prison, it’s not very good. “Here we have a prison given over to a group of profiteers and they cannot even keep people in custody.” A spokesman for Kalyx said: “We refute any allegations that our security measures would be compromised for any reason. “We have strict security procedures in place and security training for prison officers is in accordance with MOJ standards.” Detectives from the Major Incident Team of Greater Manchester Police have searched addresses in Stockport and south Manchester for O’Donnell, who has links to the travelling community and had been awaiting sentence for conspiracy to rob. Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “Given the timing and the nature of the attack, there’s clearly a degree of planning gone into it.”

April 29, 2008 Manchester.com
The inquiry into why a man wrongly released from Forest Bank jail in Salford was able to murder a man on a double-decker bus has criticised the criminal justice system. Anthony Joseph was released from the private prison in Agecroft despite an outstanding warrant for his immediate arrest from Liverpool crown court over a burglary offence. Anthony Joseph, 23, stabbed Richard Whelan several times on the top deck of a bus in London in July 2005 only hours after he was released. The report, which was commissioned by the Home Office last December, criticises the "lackadaisical" and "nonchalant approach" of the criminal justice system when it comes to some offenders. Officials at Forest Bank jail in Manchester have said they were not aware there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Mr Joseph. The report also criticises the lack of communication between law enforcement bodies. Earlier this month, government figures revealed that a tenth of the prison drug finds in England and Wales during 2007 were in Forest Bank. But the prison governor claims this reflects the jail's high detection rate.

August 14, 2006 BBC
A prison officer from a private jail has been arrested over claims he made nuisance calls to inmates' relatives. The 41-year-old man, who works at Forest Bank Prison, in Salford, Greater Manchester, was arrested after prisoners and families complained. The officer was held on 2 August and later bailed until 30 August. A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said a man had been arrested on suspicion of misuse of telecommunications systems. Forest Bank, which opened in 2000, is run by United Kingdom Detention Services (UKDS). A spokesman for UKDS said it had nothing to add to the police statement.

December 21, 2005 The Guardian
Inmates threw a bucket of excrement over prison staff as government inspectors toured a privately-run jail, it emerged today. The chief inspector of prisons, Anne Owers, revealed the incident - known in jail lingo as "potting" - as she raised concerns about falling safety standards at Forest Bank jail, Greater Manchester. The 800-inmate men's jail, which is run by UK Detention Services, suffered 25 prisoner assaults a month and there had been 2,500 disciplinary hearings in just six months, she said. Drugs were "rife" with four out of 10 compulsory drug tests coming back positive, her inspection team found. The director of the Prison Reform Trust charity, Juliet Lyon said: "This damning report reveals a prison that has become all too comfortable with violence, drugs and bullying. When a bucket of excrement is thrown at staff, during the inspection itself, you have to ask whether anyone is in control at Forest Bank. "This is the latest in a series of worrying reports suggesting that high staff turnover and lack of control in some private prisons is creating a 'Lord of the Flies' environment that is dangerous for prisoners and staff, and almost guaranteed to increase the chances of re-offending on release."

December 21, 2005 The Times
A PRIVATELY run jail is out of control, with high levels of assaults and a culture on the wings of drug abuse, according to a highly critical report published today. Prison officers were covered with a bucket of excrement by inmates at Forest Bank jail as inspectors toured the building. The incident known in prison slang as "potting" was the latest in a number of similar attacks on prison staff. Anne Owers, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, criticised the culture at the jail which was "steeped in serious drug abuse". In one month alone, more than 2kg of cannabis, 60g of heroin and 4.6g of cocaine were found at the jail, run by United Kingdom Detention Services. Ms Owers was so alarmed by the prison in Salford, Greater Manchester, that she immediately alerted senior Prison Service officials to the extent of the failings. "There had been a significant deterioration in safety so that urgent management attention and remedial action was required to rebuild staff confidence and properly regain control of the prison," the inspection report said. A surprise inspection in July at the jail, run by UKDS, a subsidiary of Sodexho Alliance which runs three prisons, found routine intimidation of staff, prisoner assaults on other prisoners running at 25 a month and staff turnover of 25 per cent a year. There had been 2,500 prisoner discipline hearings in six months and 40 per cent of compulsory drug tests were positive. Ms Owers said: "There were a series of assaults against staff, including one unsavoury incident when a bucket of excrement was thrown into an office and over two staff who were there, while we were at the prison. This was by no means the first such 'potting' incident in the prison's recent history. We were told there were two or three others in the previous couple of months." The report depicts a prison where drugs are rife and that a high level of staff turnover meant custody officers were unable to tackle problems. It is the second report in less than six months in which Ms Owers has found serious problems of control at a privately run jail. In July she found that staff at Rye Hill jail near Rugby had little confidence in controlling prisoners and the premises were "almost out of control". Staff turnover at the prison, operated by GSL, formerly part of the Group 4, was running at 40 per cent a year. Private sector involvement in the prison system has helped to spur the public sector to improve its performance and introduced innovation into the jail system. But staff turnover at private jails is higher than State-run jails - reflecting lower pay for officers compared with those in State prisons. It is also difficult to get information about what goes on in private jails with "commercial confidentiality" used as a reason not to disclose details. One prison watchdog said: "The private sector do not like anyone knowing too much about what goes on in their prisons. If they could get away with giving out no information at all, they would."

March 3, 2005 BBC
Police are searching for a "dangerous" prisoner who escaped while he was being taken to hospital in a taxi. Convicted robber Neil Brennan, 21, was handcuffed to two prison officers as they travelled from HMP Forest Bank to Hope Hospital, Salford, on Wednesday. The taxi was stopped by two men who threatened the guards with a gun, forcing them to unlock the handcuffs. Brennan escaped with the men. Greater Manchester Police said Brennan "may pose a danger to the public". Det Ch Insp Sam Hawarth said the hijacking had been well-planned and that he believed Brennan may have injured himself deliberately as part of the plot. He said he expected the Prison Service to review its means of transporting prisoners in the wake of the escape. "It would appear that using taxis in this manner is a regular practice, but it is not one we were aware of," he said. The prison guards who were taking Brennan from the privately-run HMP Forest Bank were not injured but were left "shocked".

August 18, 2004
A GREATER Manchester prison is at breaking point - according to an officer who has admitted trying to smuggle drugs into it. Norman Edgerton, 40, appeared at Manchester Crown Court last week after pleading guilty to possession of heroin with intent to supply. Now the contents of a letter the former prison officer wrote to the judge, Recorder Cross, have been revealed. In it, Edgerton criticises management at the prison, which is privately run by UK Detention Services (UKDS). The company has rejected the allegations. "It's not good enough to give officers keys, a badge and no radio, and expect two of them to unlock 86 inmates, run the wing, and hope all goes well. "If officers are to have any chance of doing their job effectively and within company regulations, they need and deserve the support and back-up systems that are there on paper only." He claims that officers ring in sick and quit their jobs because they feel "helpless, stressed and can no longer cope". He also alleges that inmates are becoming stressed at the lack of organisation on the wings. In February, up to seven prison staff suffered memory blackouts after their drinks were spiked during a night out. Last year, there was a security alert after allegations that an officer supplied mobile phones to inmates; and in 2002, an early Christmas party for prison officers ended in a brawl with police being called. (Manchester)

Glasgow Royal Infirmary
Glasgow, England
Sodexho
January 25, 2002
THESE were the shocking scenes inside Glasgow's largest hospital this week. A joint management and union inspection team found filthy conditions throughout Glasgow Royal Infirmary in areas used by patients and staff.   Now unions at the hospital are demanding Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm sack the private cleaning contractor Sodexho for failing to deliver decent services.   Bloody surgical "scrubs" from an operating theatre are dumped in a lift used to carry patients' meals. Staff say the area is infested with cockroaches.   DANGER MOVE: A porter moves bags of contaminated material, but is wearing no protective clothing.  Workers say tunnels below the Victorian-built hospital have been turned into firetraps by piles of waste.   And staff have to wash themselves in a stinking bathroom among damaged brickwork that could harbour germs. There are more piles of filth on the floor.   Despite this chief executive Maggie Boyle slammed our investigation and promised: "The cleaning contract for the hospital is routinely monitored and any problems identified are addressed."   However, North Glasgow Unison secretary Carolyn Leckie today called for Sodexho's contract to be terminated.   She said: "What we found is the result of years of under-funding. This is made worse by private firms milking profits and potentially putting patients at risk."   Staff shortages are so severe two men have to shift 10tonnes of linen a day, a job previously done by eight people.   Ms Leckie said: "We want to an end to privatisation.   The Trust can't solve this problem on its own. We desperately need extra resources from the Scottish Executive."  (John McCann)

Global Solutions Limited (now Group 4)
ourkingdom, Nov 20, 2013

Two outsourcing giants who tagged and monitored ex-offenders charged British taxpayers tens of millions of pounds for doing nothing. A new report reveals flagrant and systematic abuses, ahead of executives' interrogation by Members of Parliament today. Earlier this month, in the briefest of press releases, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that it had initiated a criminal investigation into security companies G4S and Serco, following allegations that they had overcharged on electronic monitoring contracts. A few months earlier both companies had pulled out of bidding for the next generation of such contracts. Yesterday the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report on the matter. According to the NAO report, the Ministry of Justice first identified anomalies in data provided by G4S earlier this year, as part of preparations to retender the electronic monitoring contracts. Not satisfied with the G4S explanation the Ministry called in accountants PwC to conduct a forensic audit of the G4S contract. PwC began its work in May 2013, subsequently expanding it to cover the Serco contract in addition to the G4S one. The audit identified three charging practices that are at the heart of the dispute between the Ministry on the one hand and G4S and Serco on the other.

1. Charging based on orders vs charging based on subjects: One individual (the subject) can have more than one order imposed upon them. Even though each subject is monitored only once, Serco and G4S appear to have charged for each order, something the Ministry argues they should not have done. For example, Serco monitored one subject with four separate orders, charging for each order being monitored, rather than just for the subject.

2. Charging a fee after electronic monitoring has ceased: Serco and G4S were continuing to charge a monitoring fee when individuals were no longer being monitored. Examples cited in the report include: An individual sentenced to two years' imprisonment for breach of curfew conditions in September 2011. G4S removed the monitoring equipment in the same month. However, by May 2013 it was still charging a monitoring fee, at the cumulative cost of around £3,000. In another case Serco charged monitoring fees for over two and a half years after equipment had been removed following a breach of bail conditions.

3. Charging monitoring fees whether or not monitoring equipment had been installed: Serco and G4S have been charging from the formal start of the monitoring period even if monitoring equipment has not been installed. In most cases this might have resulted in an extra day of charging. However, the NAO observes that 'in some cases equipment was never successfully installed but charging nonetheless occurred for months or even years'. In an example cited by the report Serco tried unsuccessfully to install monitoring equipment at an address on multiple occasions between July 2008 and April 2012, charging some £15,500 over the five year period, despite the fact that the monitoring equipment was never installed. Monitoring into the next millennium: One of the most striking paragraphs in the report covers the different, and rather arcane, matter of determining end dates in relation to bail orders: 'Although Serco and G4S used different management information systems, our understanding is that both systems required an end date for an order to be entered so that those systems could function properly. As bail orders typically did not have specified end dates that could be entered both providers chose arbitrary end dates as standard, on the basis that otherwise there was a risk that orders might have been closed down before an appropriate authority requested that this occur. In the case of G4S this was set as being the year 2020, and in the case of Serco the year 3000. This meant that charges on individual cases could have continued until an end date was formally notified by an appropriate authority.' Taken together these practices were rather lucrative. The NAO reports that potential overcharges could be in the region of 'tens of millions of pounds'. G4S have offered to repay £23.3 million — in the form of credit notes, an offer the government has, apparently, declined. Serco has said that it will 'refund any agreed overcharges'. A further audit of the contracts is currently being undertaken. Both companies also continue to face investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. This should all provide extra spice to what was already shaping up to be compulsory viewing for policy anoraks everywhere: the appearance this afternoon of G4S, Serco, Capita and Atos executives before the powerful House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

January 30, 2008 Oldham-Chronicle
SECURITY guards were left red-faced after their prison van got stuck in a town centre car park. Global Solutions Limited (GSL) is employed by the Prison Service to transfer prisoners safely between court and jail. But the driver caused a bit of a stir when the van became jammed in the former Co-op car park at the back of Mecca Bingo on King Street. Police went to investigate but found the prisoners had already been dropped off at Oldham Magistrates’ Court. A police spokesman said: “The driver said he had read the height restriction notice but thought the van would be able to clear it.” The driver and his colleague then freed the van by letting air out of the tyres.

Group 4/Securicor (AKA Wackenhut, G4S, ArmorGroup)
G4S teaches UK Border Agency how to care for children: openDemocracy, July 9, 2012, Clare Sambrook. It’s no joke — the world’s biggest security company is training immigration staff in “Keeping Children Safe”.
Who should investigate murder — the police, or a private security company?: openDemocracy, April 13, 2012, Clare Sambrook. Private rent-a-cops to investigate murder?
Police, magistrates and prisons by . Is this what the British people want?: openDemocracy, March 6, 2012, Mel Kelly. Scary story about G4S taking over everything. This is dangerous folks. A must read.
Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit: Expose on immigration by Nina Bernstein at the New York Times, September 28, 2011
Duty of Care: Expose by Clare Sambrook on G4S and the death of Aboriginal elder Mr. Ward. June 8, 2011

27 June 2017 opendemocracy.net
Security company G4S housed six families with babies and toddlers in a fire-trap hostel in Halifax.
“The only way that landlord will do anything is when children die in there,” neighbours warned. “It’s because we are black, they don’t care,” one tenant said. They’re talking about a hostel that is home to six families and their nine children, most of them babies and toddlers. Tenants of the six flats in a converted house in Halifax, West Yorkshire, have told me they are frightened. They say the wiring is faulty, the hallways are blocked, and there’s repeated leaks and flooding. They’ve shown me the evidence. They worry about risk of fire, and how they might escape. I first learned about the hostel a little over two weeks ago, on Friday 9 June. A charity worker who supports one of the tenants asked for my help. She said tenants had struggled to get anybody to act on their concerns about fire safety and repairs. Some feared speaking out, worried that this might affect their claims for asylum. All of the tenants are asylum seekers. The worker told me: “At 8.15pm on Tuesday 6 June I went to the flats. I noticed there was no indicator light on the alarm control panel. I contacted the regional manager for G4S, who called a repair man. He arrived just before 9pm, and began installing smoke alarms in the hallways. I am really worried about how safe people are in there.” I visited the hostel on Saturday 10 June and spent four hours inspecting, taking photographs, listening to tenants’ concerns. The hostel is part of a converted townhouse, just off Halifax town centre, in the borough of Calderdale. The flats sit atop an electrical shop and another shop, apparently abandoned. Directly above the shops are two flats. Another floor up, three more flats. Up another flight of stairs, at the top of the house is Flat 6, with more stairs leading up to a mezzanine within the flat. The hostel is owned by a private landlord and managed under a UK government contract by G4S, the international security company. A subcontractor procured the property. The client is the Home Office. Calderdale Council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services also have responsibilities towards tenants. One dangerous consequence of the privatisation of asylum housing, apparent in this case, is the fog around who is responsible for what. Here’s what some tenants told me. For their protection we’re calling them Mary, Brian, Eric, Helen, Tasmin, Joanne. “One day in January the electric main board was flashing ‘fire in room 3’ and we dialled 999,” Mary said. “The fire engine could not find the address. I was jumping up and down in the street waving my arms to get them to the flats. It took them forty-five minutes to get here from our call. They said that a leak from a boiler in the flat above had caused the alarm.” Brian worked as a builder in his home country. He worries about the risk of electrical fire. “Water pours in everywhere,” he said. “This happened last week.” He showed me a video on his camera. I could see water rushing through the light fittings. “Perhaps the wires are not live there,” Joanne said. “But they frighten the older children who hear us talking about the water and the electrics causing fires.” Signs of water penetration and ceiling repairs were all around. Eric said his G4S cooker had fused the electrical circuits throughout the building. He showed me the replacement two-ring hob that G4S had supplied for himself, his wife and their baby. Joanne took me to the only external door at the rear of the hostel. Because so many families with young children live here, the hallway is full of buggies. “This is our only escape, we have to leave the buggies here, the stairs are so difficult, there is no fire escape,” Joanne said.  A neighbour who knows the flats had told her: “The only way that landlord will do anything is when children die in there.” All the tenants said that over eight months, time and time again, they had contacted the G4S helpline pleading for better and safe conditions for their children. Mary said: “They never do anything, even for the big things, heating and flooding. They don’t care. It’s because we are black, they don’t care.” She told me about when the downstairs corridor flooded: “There was water full of oil and waste from the drain outside.” She showed me video on her phone. The water was ankle deep.  “Always water comes in,” she said. On her phone were pictures of the debris left when the wall unit crashed down, she said, narrowly missing her six-year-old daughter. “Early one morning I heard noises in my living room which woke me and I found a man from G4S there,” one lone mother said. “He said he had used his own key to get in. My daughter was terrified, she has bad memories of men hurting me in the past. For months the door on my toilet and bathroom would not shut. G4S never did anything. I could have been in the toilet or showering when that man came in.” She went on: “The local women’s centre suggested to G4S that I get a chain on my door. They refused, but the women’s centre threatened to get the work done themselves, and G4S put a chain on the door, and one on the door of another woman here — but still refused to fit chains on the other four flats.”
One of the support workers told me: “Three months ago, in March, St Augustine’s community centre sent complaints about the hostel to G4S, but nothing was done about them.” Another tenant recalled a visit from the Home Office: “G4S took them only to the flats where they knew the tenants could not speak good English and were frightened to complain. When I asked why they did not come to my flat, they said the Home Office did not have time.” G4S knows me and my work. I’m a housing academic. I work alongside refugees at South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, SYMAAG. Since G4S won the Home Office asylum housing contract five years ago I’ve published quite a lot about them. On Monday 12 June I contacted G4S and Calderdale Borough councillors and told them that the hostel was unsafe. My intervention prompted an emergency inspection by council officers and West Yorkshire fire service on the Tuesday. On the Wednesday, a G4S welfare officer called in. One tenant suggested an emergency fire drill: “We have never had one, and it would show we cannot get out of the building safely.” The G4S welfare officer allegedly refused, saying: “That’s up to G4S, not me.” Heidi Wilson is Calderdale Council’s head of environment and housing services. After the inspections she told me that the council took reports of risks to tenants “very seriously” and was “giving them a high priority”. They had given G4S a list of actions and a “short time frame”. Should G4S fail to make the necessary improvements the council “would certainly consider enforcement action”. When I called in to check on progress on Thursday 15 June, I found G4S workers making repairs that had been first reported months ago. I was told that the Home Office was going to send someone to inspect the place. I climbed all the way up to the top of the house to see Helen. She lives up there with husband Brian and their three year old son. Another stairway led to the small mezzanine where their son had had access to a floor-level window. On Tuesday the council had noted the “poor guarding to the window”. So G4S workmen had boarded up the stairway. Helen told me: “The G4S boss when he came up here yesterday said: ‘This is a dangerous place for babies.’” As I left the property I saw the G4S supervisor putting up a noticeboard by the front entrance, near the alarm control panel. He had pinned up no-smoking signs, a warning about the absence of fire extinguishers, a fire safety log book and a floor plan. Someone had taken a fat red marker pen and marked out a rough escape route on the plan. All the information was in English. Most tenants are still learning the language. I set about researching fire safety, emailing and phoning the tenants and G4S with more questions. It wasn’t easy. Fire safety regulations are fiendishly complex. G4S’s own spokesman confessed to having difficulty. G4S appeared to be in breach of fire regulations. Before the hostel opened last year, it seems, they should have arranged for a fire risk assessment by a qualified fire safety practitioner — as required by the Fire Safety Order 2005. From what I could see, G4S had an obligation to test the alarm every week and hold a monthly fire drill. Tenants told me these things hadn’t happened. The regulations require that testing dates are recorded in a log book displayed in the building. The log book on the newly erected notice board contained just one entry — for a test dated April 2017. All escape corridors and landings should have smoke alarms and emergency lighting. But the hallway smoke alarms were fitted on Tuesday 6 June 2017, eight months after the hostel opened. Every kitchen should have a fire blanket. And they do. I asked one tenant, who is fluent in English, to open the packaging. She said: “The instructions are confusing. No one has ever told us about fire safety here. There are no instructions on the fire blanket or anywhere else in any language — except difficult English.” My reading of the regulations suggests that G4S has a responsibility to inform and regularly update tenants on fire safety — and to provide safety information in appropriate languages. That landlord will do anything is when children die in there. All of these things seem anyway like basic common sense if you are housing multiple families with small children in a four or five storey house. As landlords of asylum housing for babies and small children, G4S has particular obligations. The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (Section 55) requires that immigration and asylum functions be carried out with respect for the need to “safeguard and promote the welfare of children”. After the Calderdale council inspection on Tuesday 13 June, one tenant told me: “The council man said the bedroom with my children should not be used. He said the window was too small to let light in for them.”  I asked G4S to respond to the issues raised in this article. On 15 June a G4S spokesman said the building had a valid electrical certificate and was “compliant with fire safety standards”. About the flooding, G4S said: “There has been a very recent issue with damp after the landlord installed a new concrete walkway outside the property which is not draining effectively. We are in discussions to have a drain fitted. A roof leak has also recently been rectified and the landlord will be making good any cosmetic damage that arose.” And the intrusion? G4S said: “Our protocol is that when our staff visit a property they knock twice (leaving a gap in between). If there is no answer they unlock the door and call out to announce themselves. If there is still no answer they then proceed into the property, calling out that they are from G4S. We are entirely confident that this procedure is — and was — followed at this property.” At the company’s request — (the spokesman sounded quite flustered) — we delayed publication of this piece to give G4S time to provide further comment. On Tuesday 20 June, I tuned in to BBC Radio Sheffield, for Toby Foster’s breakfast show. He had an interview with John Whitwam, the ex-army officer who is G4S managing director, immigration and borders. Whitwam told listeners that G4S had about 18,000 asylum-seekers in 5,000 properties. “There is a great deal of scrutiny,” he said. “These properties are probably the most inspected in the UK.” Whitwam said the G4S helpline took 4,000 calls last month. Toby Foster cut in: “5,000 houses, 4,000 calls! Nearly every house is ringing you every month!” Whitwam replied: “These aren’t all complaints.” And then: “That’s not to say many of them aren’t.” I was still waiting for the company’s response to my queries on Tuesday evening, when a tenant called to say that an extractor fan had fallen off the wall in Flat 2. She said she was only slightly injured, but her four year old child was hysterical. On Tuesday evening, Brian was back in touch. He said the G4S welfare officer had been round to tell them: “The Home Office are coming tomorrow, you have to say everything is fine in the flats.” On Wednesday afternoon Brian called again. He said the woman from the Home Office had been round, she’d done more talking than listening and assured them that if there’s a fire, they’ll have plenty of time to get out. On Thursday another tenant called to say that workmen were, at last, fitting smoke alarms in tenants’ rooms. A curious response from G4S. Also on Wednesday came the company’s detailed response to my queries. It was odd. G4S offered a series of curious assertions that neither confirmed nor denied tenants’ allegations about fire safety, but, rather, bypassed their concerns. For example, G4S noted: “Smoke alarm and fire alarm tests as recorded in our monthly property inspection report.” On the absence of fire drills, G4S claimed: “Drills are not mandatory for private dwellings.” Private dwellings? G4S: These properties are probably the most inspected in the UK. And: “All fire safety information is provided as part of the induction when asylum seekers move into the property and information in 71 languages is available in the home.” About the absence of fire log books, G4S claimed: they “are sometimes taken away and used as notebooks by residents.” And the apparent failure to arrange a fire risk assessment on the building until after I got involved? G4S claimed: “All fire alarm systems are checked monthly.” About the Fire Service inspection of 13 June, prompted by my interventions, G4S claimed: “All adjustments recommended have now been completed. Any observations made by the fire services regarding door fittings or openings were rectified within two days.” About the alarm control panel that had either been turned off or was defective, G4S said: “We require service users to report defects to control panels and we operate a 24 hours turn around policy to fix or replace such systems.” G4S has claimed repeatedly that it loses money on asylum housing. The company, which had no prior experience of housing asylum seekers, won the Home Office contract after a computer-based reverse auction. G4S bid £8.42 per family member per night (according to contract details revealed in a High Court judgement here). At that price, packing 17 people into the Halifax hostel brings the monthly take to around £4,300. Until last Thursday, Calderdale Council’s website told asylum-seekers in the borough that their housing was provided, not by G4S, but by another company, Cascade Homes. The council supplied a phone number tenants could call if they needed help and advice. I called the number. An angry man picked up. He said he was fed up with getting calls and he had nothing to do with Cascade.  I told the council about that — they corrected the online advice. They said Cascade no longer managed properties in Calderdale, only procured them. G4S confirmed: “Yes, all properties in the Halifax area are provided by Cascade.” I was sorry that Cascade had been given any role to play. Over years I’ve reported on their shoddy behaviour. How Cascade asylum properties in Leeds were infested with cockroaches and slugs. Male staff harassed women tenants. Cascade failed to pay energy bills and council tax bills. My evidence has been cited in Parliamentary inquiries and debates. Speaking in the Commons on 27 February 2013, Mark Durkan MP said: “What is especially alarming is that the neglect and suffering go on, regardless of this kind of public and Parliamentary exposure. There has been little impact on the everyday practice of G4S and their subcontractors.” In February 2014 G4S announced that they had dropped Cascade. ‘I watched that place burn’ While we were working on this piece, on Wednesday 14 June 2017, fire gutted a tower block in West London with appalling loss of life. The block was called Grenfell Tower. The residents were mostly people of colour, and poor. The first victim to be named was Mohammed Alhajali, a Syrian refugee. Grenfell tenants had warned repeatedly that the flats were unsafe. Their warnings were variously dismissed, ignored, and met with legal threats. “White tenants said their concerns were ultimately ignored, but officials were more likely to listen to them,” British journalist Dawn Foster wrote in the New York Times. “Black and South Asian survivors told me they felt the implicit message from everyone they contacted before the fire for help with the building was ‘you are a guest in this borough, and a guest in this country, you have no right to complain’.” Back in the Halifax hostel, the tenants have come from East Africa, West Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Up in the top flat, Brian told me how Grenfell had shocked him: “I watched that place burn,” he said. “I thought I couldn’t get out of this flat if there is a fire.”

Jun 27, 2015 eveningtelegraph.co.uk
PRISON VAN DRIVER CHARGED AFTER MULTI-VEHICLE CRASH ON EDGE OF DUNDEE

The driver of a van which crashed while carrying three prisoners has been charged with careless driving. The 44-year-old man was given an on-the-spot fine following the smash near Longforgan yesterday which also involved two other lorries. There were three male prisoners and two staff members inside the G4S van at the time of the crash about 11am. While the prisoners were all accounted for following the impact — a gaping hole was left in the side of the van. The ambulance service also attended and three people were taken to Ninewells Hospital with minor injuries. The collision caused significant traffic delays on the westbound carriageway, with police asking motorists not to slow down as they looked at the crash. One eyewitness told the Tele they believed the G4S van had collided with the back of one of the lorries. He added: “I was just driving towards Perth along the A90 and about two miles past the Bullionfield garage, just before the Longforgan turn-off, it looked like there was a nasty crash between a lorry and a prison van. “The traffic was down to one lane and there was a long build-up of cars and lorries. “I got a good look at it and it looks like one of those white prison vans that goes back and forward to court was involved. “The left-hand door of the prison van was completely ripped off. “I didn’t see any prisoners, but I passed two ambulances going back to Ninewells, so they must have been carrying people. “To me, it looked like the prison van has collided with the back of the lorry — it’s caved in at the back.” A spokeswoman for Police Scotland confirmed officers were investigating. She added: “Three people have been injured after two lorries and a van collided near to the Bullionfield filling station. “The extent of the injuries is not known, but an ambulance was in attendance.” One lane was closed for about two hours while emergency services dealt with the incident, but it reopened just before 1pm.

Apr 18, 2015 mirror.co.uk
Union leaders criticised the security company after guards were given the notices on Wednesday in swoops on hospitals in Scotland. Union bosses have slammed 'disgraceful' G4S bosses after security guards were given redundancy notices – while handcuffed to dangerous prisoners. The stunned workers were escorting cons on visits to hospitals when bosses broke the news that their contracts were being ripped up. Union leaders said they were given the choice of redundancy or cuts to pay and hours that would cost more than £4000 a year. They said 56 guards got the letters, and at least 10 of them were cuffed to prisoners at the time. Steve Farrell of the guards’ union, Community, said: “In 20 years, I’ve never heard of such an inhumane way of treating staff. “It was humiliating, degrading and a total disgrace. G4S should be ashamed. “In 2015, there are many ways of communicating with people. It’s a terrible indignity to serve such a letter in front of someone else, never mind a handcuffed prisoner.” The guards were given the letters on Wednesday in swoops on hospitals in Perth, Glasgow and Wishaw, Lanarkshire, reports the Daily Record. Other workers affected had letters hand-delivered to their homes the next day – by colleagues who normally monitor offenders on tags or early release programmes. Mr Farrell said police were called to one house after a guard’s wife refused to accept the letter and the person delivering it was “persistent to the point of causing offence”. He claimed G4S were scrambling to save money after signing a “loss leader” Scottish Government contract that they couldn’t make pay. He urged bosses to negotiate. G4S said overall staff numbers in their prisoner escort business had increased, but 50 roles were being made redundant as part of a “restructuring”. A spokesman said: “We have taken steps to help these colleagues through this change. All those affected  have been offered alternative roles, financial support and protection of their hours. “We took the decision to inform all those affected at the same time, and regrettably this meant some colleagues were on duty. We are sorry for any distress this caused.”


Mar 1, 2015 shropshirestar.com

Riot jail inmates were overseen by just two prison officers from security firm. Just two prison officers were in charge of 59 prisoners, including one from Telford, when a riot broke out at HMP Oakwood that saw staff lose control for nine hours, the Shropshire Star can reveal. Inmates caused damage estimated at £171,000  as they ran rampage at the £160 million super-jail, which takes prisoners from Shropshire. Security firm G4S, which runs the prison in Featherstone, and the Ministry of Justice say the staffing level on the day was “comparable” to those at public sector jails. The prisoners took over two levels of Cedar wing at 5pm on January 4 last year, barricading themselves inside and putting glue in locks to prevent them from working. Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said officers had to be highly trained. She said: “It is not just a case of number crunching, it depends of the environment. If you have got violence, bullying, attempted suicides and drug problems, which we know there have been at Oakwood, then you need staff with that expertise and knowledge. For there to be a riot with two officers covering 59 prisoners it makes you question what they were doing.” Prisoners threw TVs and even tried to tunnel out as they ran amok. Windows were smashed and booby-traps set, while a pool table was tipped over and large flat-screen TVs thrown down the stairs. A 62-strong riot team with dogs was needed to restore order. Six prisoners were given sentences for their roles in the riot last week, including Daniel Jeffrey Rust, 23, from Telford. A Prison Service spokesman said: “Staffing levels across the estate are strictly risk-assessed and we will always ensure that there are enough staff to deliver safe and effective prison regimes. Oakwood prison staffing levels are comparable to those in similar prisons in the public sector.” The prison, close to the M54 in Staffordshire, serves Shropshire and the West Midlands. South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson said: “The issue here is that you have to make sure you have enough staff to respond quickly to disperse and prevent incidents such as this quickly. Obviously this did not happen in this case but we have to remember it was the atrocious and unforgivable behaviour of a number of prisoners as to why this violent disorder broke out.”

 

Feb 18, 2015 staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk
BULLYING, self-harm, and drug addictions – a penal reform charity has responded to continued problems at Oakwood Prison in Featherstone. The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report, published today, on the G4S-run prison. When inspectors visited Oakwood in June 2013, they found high levels of violence and self-harm. Prisoners even claimed that “you can get drugs here but not soap”. The report, based on an announced follow-up inspection conducted last December, noted some improvements but rated Oakwood as “not sufficiently good” at keeping prisoners safe and providing purposeful activity. Self-harm remained a serious problem – there were 358 recorded incidents in the six months prior to the inspection – and the number of men on suicide watch was very high. Inspectors noted that the prison was calmer than before and staff had become more experienced, but bullying and victimisation were rife, mainly linked to drugs, medicine and debt. The worst violence was found on the vulnerable prisoner wing, where many prisoners felt unsafe. Use of force incidents were double the number in comparable prisons. Use of segregation was high and had increased since the last inspection. The regime on the segregation unit was poor and only one in four prisoners said they had been treated well by staff.  Healthcare had improved since the last inspection, but still suffered from chronic staffing shortages. Drugs were still easily available, with use of the legal high ‘black mamba’ being a particular problem. More prisoners than elsewhere said that they had developed a problem with drugs at the prison. Many reported that alcohol was available. One in five prisoners was locked up during the working day. This was an improvement since the last inspection, but still not good enough. Much of the work was unskilled, mundane and without accreditation. Teaching quality varied significantly and was rated as “requires improvement” by Ofsted. Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The powers-that-be seem to be living in a Wonderland where there is no recognition that there are still safety problems in Oakwood. "Thousands of people have gone through the prison. Many have come out more dangerous and even acquired a drug addiction. “Oakwood only opened in 2012, but the years of failure will have created thousands of extra victims and the powers-that-be are ignoring the plight of those victims. “We are told that lessons are learned but every single private prison ever opened has started with huge problems – and some both continue to have, and to cause, huge problems.”


Aug 23, 2014 theguardian.com

Campaigners have criticised private firms for using immigration detainees as cheap labour inside detention centres after research suggested this saves them millions of pounds. Some detainees said they were being paid as little as £1 an hour to cook and clean. Home Office figures showed that in May this year, detainees in centres run bySerco, G4S and other contractors did nearly 45,000 hours of work for a total of nearly £45,500 in pay. Had they been paid at the national minimum wage, the cost would have been more than £280,000. Over 12 months, the figures suggest that the firms – which also include Mitieand GEO – could have saved more than £2.8m, according to research group Corporate Watch, which obtained the data, and said firms were "exploiting their captive migrant workforce". The Home Office insisted, however, that detainees had a choice whether or not to work and that inspectors had praised the practice of allowing them to work while they await removal from the UK. One female detainee, who spent months in the Yarl's Wood centre in Bedfordshire, where she was employed as a cleaner, said she believed the detainees were being used to do essential work in place of staff paid the minimum wage. Another detainee, Ralph Ojotu, who works as a cleaner in Harmondsworth detention centre, said that it was hypocritical of the British government to ban him from working to support his two children in the outside world, but to allow him to be employed on around £1 an hour in a detention centre run by its contractor GEO. "We are not allowed to work out there, but in here, they are handing out jobs like pieces of cake," he said. The figures relate to seven centres: Yarl's Wood and Colnbrook, which are operated by Serco; Brook House and Tinsley House, which are run by G4s; and Harmondsworth and Dungavel, which are managed by American firm GEO. The seventh centre, Campsfield, is run by Mitie. Two government-run centres, Dover and Morton Hall, also employ detainees on £1 per hour, potentially saving more than £1.4m per year. Phil Miller, a researcher at Corporate Watch, said: "These companies are potentially saving millions of pounds by exploiting their captive migrant workforce on a grand scale. Our research has shown that the detention centres would grind to a halt without the amount of essential work done by detainees on a daily basis – cooking and cleaning." The status of immigration detainees held in centres while their cases are decided is distinct from that of convicted prisoners. Yet, like prison inmates, they do not qualify for the national minimum wage. They are also barred from any other form of work, yet must pay for essential goods such as toiletries. The latest financial figures from G4S in the UK and Ireland show that the company made £122m in pre-tax profit in 2013, while Serco made £106m in the same period. Mitie's accounts show it made £127.5m in the 12 months to June 2014, while GEO's US-based parent, GEO Group Inc, reported £184m in pre-tax profit. On behalf of the firms, a Home Office spokesman said: "The long-standing practice of offering paid work to detainees has been praised by Her Majesty's inspectorate of prisons as it helps to keep them occupied whilst their removal is being arranged. Whether or not they wish to participate is entirely up to the detainees themselves. This practice is not intended to substitute the work of trained staff." Wyn Jones, of Serco, said the paid work was voluntary and in accordance with Home Office rules. He added: "It is offered to residents alongside other constructive activities to help reduce boredom and improve mental health and, if not conducted, would have no effect on the running of the [centres]. Serco refutes any implication that we use residents to conduct work in place of officers or staff at any of the IRCs that we manage and thereby increase profits."

Jul 19, 2014 ft.com

G4S, the private security company, has lost a contract to run detention cells in Wales, in a blow to a sector that had been expecting a wave of police outsourcing work. South Wales Police Force said it was scrapping plans to issue a fresh contract for the management of so-called custody suites, including risk assessments, identity checks and guarding detainees. G4S had been paid £3m over the past five years for the contract, which it had held for a decade. The move follows a decision by Avon and Somerset Police not to outsource custody suites, despite running a year-long competition among private sector providers to provide detention centres, detainee transport and identification services. Both forces said it was cheaper to run the services in-house. Alun Michael, police and crime commissioner for South Wales, and a former Labour home secretary, said keeping the staff in-house was the “most effective and cost-efficient system for dealing with custody across South Wales”. Peter Vaughan, chief constable for the South Wales Police Force, agreed it would “provide a better organisational fit”. Analysts suggest that police outsourcing has stalled partly as a result of the election of police and crime commissioners, which has politicised the process in some areas. About a third of the UK’s 41 PCCs, elected on a dismal voter turnout in November 2012, had campaigned on a no-privatisation manifesto, according to a study by the University of Leeds. Stuart Lister, senior lecturer in criminal justice at Leeds, said that although many chief constables are supportive of greater moves towards outsourcing given the need for forces to make 20 per cent cost savings by 2015, PCCs are more concerned with public perceptions because they need to be re-elected. “You’ve got professional police officers suggesting one thing and elected police commissioners doing another,” he said. “The short-term political imperatives appear to be a buttress against the trend towards outsourcing but the wider political and financial pressures suggest it will remain a realistic prospect. The government also remains supportive of the push towards outsourcing.” Around 16 Conservative police and crime commissioners were elected; 13 Labour and 12 Independent. “Where they are red and where they are blue you may find different political approaches to how costs are reduced,” said Mr Lister. The prospects for police service outsourcing were badly damaged by criticism of a £1.5bn deal proposed by West Midlands and Surrey forces in March 2012. Facing far-reaching budget cuts, the force wanted to save cash and bridge a £126m funding gap, but the plan was cancelled by Bob Jones, a recently deceased Labour police commissioner, within days of his election after concerns were raised about the inclusion of operational police duties such as carrying out patrols. Companies argue that much of the political controversy is unwarranted and that the biggest savings come from administrative improvements rather than operational and frontline services. Staff account for about 80 per cent of police expenditure. They say that by taking over more mundane roles, trained police officers will be freed to do their traditional jobs and that cuts to police budgets mean authorities will have little alternative to outsourcing if they are to preserve frontline services. “We would have expected to have seen much more movement in the market by now,” said one private sector operator. “There’s a lot of failed bids right now; organisations are holding the competitions and then failing to award the contracts having spent the time and money on the procurement process.” The private sector’s hopes had been raised by Lincolnshire police’s trailblazing deal with G4S, which encompassed the widest spectrum of services offered in a single contract by a British police authority. The £200m, 10-year contract involved the transfer of half the force’s civilian staff to the private security company. A report on the second year of operation is expected soon after the first year showed it had delivered 18 per cent savings and trimmed £5m from the force’s budget, while improving services and increasing frontline staff numbers. But unions warn that companies are achieving cost reductions by employing civilian rather than police staff. Research by Suffolk Police shows that such savings are significant: a uniformed drugs liaison officer, for example, would earn £45,229 a year – 39 per cent more than a civilian doing the same job at £27,443; a uniformed sergeant would earn £54,651 if employed directly by the state, compared with £34,030 by the private sector.


Jun 30, 2014 opendemocracy.net

• For almost an hour after Steve Ham was found unresponsive, G4S guards failed to call an ambulance

• Panic, inexperience, understaffing and lack of transparency exposed at UK's flagship private prison

In the early hours of Thursday 6 February 2013, in his cell at Oakwood Prison, Edward Ham, known to friends and family as Steve, rang the emergency bell. He told officers he had chest pains. The time was 3.29 am. Guards at the Birmingham jail, which is run for profit by security company G4S, monitored Ham, but failed to call a doctor. On checking Ham at 4.52 am, G4S officer Anita Duggal “knew something was wrong because there was no response from him.” She told the inquest into Ham’s death at Stafford Coroner's Court last week: “I went in his cell after getting approval from my manager to see if there was a pulse but there wasn’t.” Even though all staff were trained in first-aid it took 12 minutes before anybody attempted CPR. It was 53 minutes before an ambulance was called. “They all thought one of them had called an ambulance when in fact none of them had,” paramedic Neil Weaver said in a statement read out at the inquest. Prison officer Sarah Hollyhead told the court: “It was my belief that there was a defibrillator available but it was locked away.” She said: “We were given demonstrations on defibrillators but were not allowed to test them out.” The inquest heard that the two private prison officers had less than two years’ experience between them. Both officers accepted that they had panicked. One was too fearful to enter Ham’s cell. When paramedics arrived at 6.20am, almost three hours after Ham had complained of chest pains, it was immediately apparent to them that he was dead. Steve Ham was 54 years old. Last week South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh concluded that Ham had died of ischemic heart disease. The cause of death was “natural causes in a man who received sub-optimal care”. The coroner said he would make a report regarding staffing levels at the jail. HMP Oakwood is run by G4S, the self-styled “world’s leading security company” that is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for inflating fees on public contracts. Under what’s known as a “manage and maintain” contract, over 15 years G4S is due to get £349 million of public money for running Oakwood. (That’s according to Ministry of Justice FOI response reference 82754 June 2013). When the prison opened two years ago, minister of justice Chris Grayling, a former PR man, told Parliament: “We have a very good model for prison development in Oakwood… To my mind, it is an excellent model for the future of the Prison Service.” [Hansard, 5 February 2013] G4S declared Oakwood's ambition to be, within five years, “the leading prison in the world”. The prison would be “‘restorative’ in the widest sense of the word,” said G4S. And here’s how: “Prisoners and staff will be encouraged to repair individual or group harm as soon as possible and at the lowest level.  Staff will contribute to reducing re-offending by acting pro-socially and modelling socially acceptable and desirable traits.”

Eh? Ever since the first prisoners moved in (before the builders had moved out) in April 2012, G4S has failed to deliver the basics. In July last year even the Ministry of Justice expressed “serious concern” over Oakwood, granting the prison its lowest possible rating. The Howard League for Penal Reform called that a “damning indictment” of for-profit companies’ involvement in justice. In August, Oakwood’s Independent Monitoring Board reported that:

• A very high level of staff had little or no prison experience, and high rates of sickness left too few staff for front-line duties.

• Cell furniture was made of cheap fibre-board that was easy to break up into weapons

• The stairwells, out of sight of CCTV cameras, were perfect for assaults

• Hooch, drugs and mobile phones were plentiful; it was easy to throw contraband into the grounds, there being only one perimeter fence instead of the usual two

• Self-harm was a worry — several prisoners had gone over the landing railings; there were no nets

(You can access the PDF here).

In October HM Inspectorate of Prisons (reporting on their unannounced visit in June) found those faults and more. Well over a third of inmates were locked up during the working day. Prisoners found it was easier to get drugs than soap. Levels of self-harm were high. “Many staff were passive and compliant, almost to the point of collusion,” said Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick, “and there was clear evidence of staff failing to tackle delinquency or abusive behaviour.” He went on:

The inexperience of staff was everywhere evident and systems to support routine services were creaky, if they existed at all . . . Against all four healthy prison tests: safety, respect, activity and resettlement, the outcomes inspectors observed were either insufficient or poor. In January this year, G4S and their Ministry of Justice handlers tried to pass off serious disturbances at the prison as “an incident of concerted indiscipline”. G4S insisted that only 15 to 20 prisoners had been involved. But a member of the emergency “tornado team” brought in to quash the disturbance told BBC’s Radio 4’s investigative programme The Report that many more prisoners had been involved and they had taken over an entire wing of the jail. “Wires had been strung as tripwires at leg level and at chest and neck level as well, to try and prevent us from moving in an orderly fashion down the wing and sort of break us as we went through,” said the tornado team officer. “I would sum it up as a full-scale prison riot and we were very lucky that it only took place on one unit and didn’t spread.” Chris Grayling's exemplar of private sector efficiency has leaned heavily upon publicly funded police and ambulance emergency services. In the year before the riot, 128 emergency calls had been made from the prison to Staffordshire police, according to information obtained by the Wolverhampton Express & Star under the  Freedom of Information Act. In the year after Ham’s death, Oakwood staff called an ambulance 358 times — more than twice as much as any comparable jail, the BBC revealed. The week after Steve Ham died, the Prisons Ombudsman’s investigator visited Oakwood to try to establish what had happened. In accordance with normal procedure the investigator issued notices to staff and prisoners inviting anyone with information to contact the investigator. Nobody came forward. That’s HMP Oakwood, the blueprint for a privatised future. By G4S, “Securing your World”. Note: Quotations from witnesses’ evidence are taken from Wolverhampton Express & Star court reports, and an account supplied by No5 Chambers; barrister Ian Brownhill represented two members of Ham’s family at the inquest. A Report by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen CBE: Investigation into the death of a man in February 2013 at HMP Oakwood, completed August 2013, to due to be published soon.


Mar 22, 2014 presstv.ir

UK private security firm under fire for death of Angolan Father of five, Jimmy Mubenga died on October 12th, 2010 and his family have spent nearly four years campaigning for the G4S officers they hold responsible for his death to be brought to trial. Now Colin Kaler, Terrence Hughes and Stuart Tribelnig are facing manslaughter charges. Kuka Nyoh fought his own deportation and says the officers are poorly trained and the companies only interested in the bottom line. When the three men, scheduled to stand trial at this court on April 7 make their first appearance, there'll be a sense of disappointment from some quarters who believe standing beside them in the docks should have been senior officials from G4S who should have been brought up on corporate manslaughter charges. The CPS ruled that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the world’s largest private security contractor. Campaigners want an oversight body to monitor deportations and for the use of private contractors to be scaled back. The three accused all maintain their innocence.

 

Mar 22, 2014 opendemocracy.net

On Thursday the Crown Prosecution Service announced that three former G4S guards, Stuart Tribelnig, Terry Hughes and Colin Kaler, would stand trial for the manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga on a BA plane in October 2010. Long before Mubenga's death, Lord Ramsbotham was among those who warned repeatedly that Home Office contractors used dangerous methods of restraint. Jimmy Mubenga died aged 46 under restraint by three G4S guards in October 2010. When, in 2012, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it had decided not to bring any charges against the three G4S detainee custody officers, under whose restraint Jimmy Mubenga, who was being returned to Angola, died in an airliner at Heathrow, I described the decision as ‘perverse’. I did so because, at the time, I was chairing a National Independent Inquiry into Enforced Removals, during which we had been told that the restraint techniques used on Jimmy Mubenga, had also been used by G4S staff in Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, resulting in the death of 15 year old Gareth Myatt in 2004. Gareth Myatt died aged 15 under restraint by G4S guards in 2004The Coroner at Gareth Myatt’s inquest had both condemned the techniques, and instructed the Home Office to issue a warning about their use. In the report of our inquiry, which I gave to the Home Secretary in December 2012, I explained that we, and the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, had also been told that the Home Office continued to require plainly inappropriate, pain-compliant, Prison Service restraint techniques to be used by detainee custody officers, not having bothered to find out that these had been rejected both by NHS special mental hospitals and such as the Liverpool police on Mersey ferries. Warnings dismissed: Outsourcing Abuse (Medical Justice, 2008) Foreword by RamsbothamFurthermore, in 2008, on behalf of Medical Justice and other organisations, I had given the then Home Secretary a dossier of 78 cases of injuries inflicted during enforced removals, long before Jimmy Mubenga was unlawfully killed. Therefore I hope that, now that the CPS has changed its mind, and the three G4S employees are to be charged with manslaughter, the Home Secretary will do the same, and, at last, take firm action to ensure that Home Office enforced removal processes and procedures are made not just fit for purpose, but no longer something of which a so-called civilised nation should feel ashamed. The CPS change of direction came the day after Channel 4 news had disclosed another appalling case involving the death of someone during Home Office immigration procedures. Alois Dvorzak, an 84 year old Canadian citizen, in transit from Canada to Slovenia, having landed at Gatwick, was removed from his flight to Slovenia by officials and taken to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre. Alois Dvorzak died aged 84, handcuffed by GEO Group guards, Harmondsworth 2013As he was both elderly and frail, and neither claiming nor seeking UK nationality, the doctor at Harmondsworth tried to alert both the Home Office and the Canadian High Commission to his plight, saying that he ought to be released, so that he could continue his journey to his family. However, for reasons that Ministers have yet to explain, Mr Dvorzak was in handcuffs when he died, in the Harmondsworth Health Care Centre, three weeks later. Lord Reid, when Home Secretary, famously said that the then Immigration and Nationality Directorate was not fit for purpose. What these two cases prove is that neither was its successor, the UK Border Agency, and nor, yet, is there any proof that the new arrangements, announced by the Home Secretary last year, are any better.  The overall situation is not helped by 500,000 uncompleted cases, which are swamping the under-staffed immigration bureaucracy. This backlog has not just arisen, but has built up over a number of years, and represents a millstone around the Home Secretary’s neck, which will impede any progress for years to come.  But what all this makes abundantly clear, as many people and organisations involved with the immigration and asylum process have been trying to get across to successive Home Secretaries for years, is that, if there is not to be more avoidable damage, such as the tragic deaths of Messrs Mubenga and Dvorzak while in the care of Home Office contracted staff, urgent remedial action must start now.


Feb 8, 2014 expressandstar.com

Claims of cover-up over trouble at HMP Oakwood are denied Government chiefs have flatly denied there had been a cover-up to hide the scale of the trouble at HMP Oakwood, amid suggestions of a ‘full-scale riot’. Conflicting reports emerged after trouble broke out on a wing at the G4S-run prison last month. An Oakwood prison officer made the riot claims, alleging that doors were booby-trapped and an entire wing of the £150 million superjail was trashed. The official word from G4S and the Ministry of Justice was that the incident was ‘concerted indiscipline’ which took nine hours to resolve and involved up to 20 prisoners, who threatened officers and caused damage to cells. However, during a heated debate in the House of Commons, Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright flatly denied the riot allegations. He told the House: “There’s been no cover-up here. I went to Oakwood 10 days ago. I spoke to an officer engaged in the incident, I also spoke to a prisoner who was there at the time – though not involved – and I saw some of the CCTV coverage too. “So I’m very clear about how serious that incident was. But to describe it as a full-scale prison riot is, in my view, inaccurate. “There were 20 prisoners involved in this incident out of a total of 1,600 in Oakwood. The wing is now back in use and the issue was professionally resolved.”The minister was responding to a question from Labour MP Paul Flynn, who told the Government to abandon its ‘PR spin’ and ‘tell the truth’ about what had happened. During the session shadow justice minister Jenny Chapman said more progress should have been made in the two years the prison had been open. She told Mr Wright: “You are being way too complacent about the failure of G4S at Oakwood and given the delay in the implementation of the probation changes due to fears of public safety, how do we know you are not going to be equally as tolerant with failure when you privatise probation?” The minister replied saying there was no complacency and said it was not unheard of that prisons which are running-up in the first two years of operation have difficulties.


23 January 2014 JONATHAN BROWN 

A nine-hour disturbance at a private prison run by controversial operator G4S has been described as a “full scale riot”.  An unnamed member of the so-called Tornado squads sent in to quell the violence at HMP Oakwood near Wolverhampton earlier this month has claimed that inmates set tripwires and threatened officers as they were leaving a wing strewn with debris, including iron bars. G4S said the incident was "emphatically not a riot". A spokeswoman said: "It was a disturbance involving 20 prisoners out of a prison of 1,600 which was confined to one wing. Oakwood – which has been dubbed “Jokewood” by critics – is England’s largest prison and has been hailed by the Government as a blueprint for the prison service of the future.  At the height of the violence inmates barricaded themselves in and overturned pool tables. It took 10 days to return Cedar wing to full operation. The officer told BBC Radio 4’s The Report that specially trained teams sent in to quell the trouble were warned that the prisoners were “armed and dangerous”. “They'd interfered with locks to try and prevent staff getting into the wing and they were destroying everything they could get their hands on. I did hear prisoners shouting threats, saying, 'We're ready for you, come on - we're gonna get you' and words to that effect,” he said. “Wires had been strung as tripwires at leg level and at chest and neck level as well, to try and prevent us from moving in an orderly fashion down the wing and sort of break us as we went through. “I would sum it up as a full-scale prison riot and we were very lucky that it only took place on one unit and didn't spread.” G4S said in a statement that the indiscipline involved 15-20 inmates and that the trouble was rapidly contained. It was initially reported that the disturbance had lasted for five hours although it later emerged that it had taken nearly twice as long to bring the situation back under control with G4S and the Ministry of Justice denying claims that prison officers had been taken hostage. Jerry Petherick, director of custodial and detention services at G4S was challenged over claims that alcohol caused the violence and that illegal home brewing it was a particular problem at Oakwood. He said illicit drink was a constant feature of all prisons and that staff conducted routine searches, confiscating and destroying alcohol found whilst those caught producing it were punished. He said of the disturbance: “I've made it clear this was a significant event. And of its type, in the spectrum of such events, it was at the lower end of that spectrum.” An investigation is underway into the cause of the incident. The £180m jail which is home to 1,600 category C offenders was the scene of rooftop protests last year. HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) reported inexperienced staff and high levels of violence and self-harm. Prisoners claimed that it was easier to come by drugs including heroin than it was to get soap. Labour has described the jail as “failing”. G4S was heavily criticised for its botched handling of its Olympics security contract in 2012 and has been under review by the Government following revelations it overcharged for criminal-tagging contracts. G4S also denied that drugs were readily available in the jail. The company said it had invested heavily in anti-drug measures since the HMIP report.

 

Jan 11, 2014 ft.com Financial Times

When private security contractor G4S opened Oakwood jail nearly two years ago, it said the facility would soon be seen as “the leading prison in the world”. Its star-shaped housing blocks form a constellation in the Wolverhampton countryside but despite the modern design and bold ambitions, a nine-hour protest by Oakwood inmates this week has cast further doubt on the competence of G4S and raised questions about prison outsourcing in the UK. The most recent disturbance – euphemistically described by a company executive as “an incident of concerted ill-discipline” – is embarrassing for justice secretary Chris Grayling, who two months ago said Oakwood was a “first class” prison, It also fuels union claims that putting prisons under the control of private contractors means compromising security. Even before the Sunday night disturbance, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons had criticised the inexperienced staff, high levels of violence and easy access to drugs that have earned this jail the nickname “Jokewood”. Seizing on this week’s unrest, Labour has suggested G4S should be given six months to improve performance or lose the contract. The party’s attempt to curtail justice outsourcing is in direct opposition to Mr Grayling’s plans for an austerity-driven “rehabilitation revolution” that will open not only prisons but also probation services to private sector competition – bringing new contracts worth £500m a year into the criminal justice market by early 2015. While this new drive has attracted controversy, it fits Britain’s past form. The UK is far more relaxed than the rest of Europe about private involvement in state security provision – only the US and Australia have comparable levels of prison outsourcing. Currently 14 of 119 jails in England and Wales are under private management, with contracts divided between G4S and its rivals Serco and Sodexo. Bernhard Frevel, a criminal justice expert at the University of Applied Science of Public Administration in North Rhine-Westphalia, explains this would not happen in Germany, where they have “different feelings” about private security. “We say that security and management of prisoners is a sovereign duty of the court, and that should not be handed over to private organisations, they should not become entangled in this,” he said. Criminal justice charities in Britain have raised similar concerns. Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, is keen to avoid repeating the common stereotype of “public good, private bad”, but she is wary of vested interests. “Any company wants to grow a market, but in criminal justice the last thing you want to do is to grow a prison market – you should be trying to shrink it,” she says. The US experience shows that such fears are not unfounded. Under the 2008 “cash for kids” scandal, two judges in northeastern Pennsylvania were found guilty of handing out unusually long jail sentences to juveniles, in return for payment from prison building and management companies who were keen to swell the jail population. In the UK, prison officers’ unions have more everyday anxieties. They argue that privatisation has led to lower staff wages, less training for new officers and fewer staff per prisoner, leading to a higher likelihood of protests and that they will get out of hand. The Ministry of Justice will not disclose exact prisoner to staff ratios, but officials suggested that in Oakwood the figure is not dissimilar to the one officer to 30 inmate ratio common in the public sector. However, the reality may be more nuanced. Following a series of scandals, including ongoing fraud investigations, media interest in G4S means that while the Oakwood incident was widely reported, three protests at publicly-run Nottingham prison in early January were not. G4S said this week that any new prison was “complex and challenging” operation and that disturbances happened throughout the prison estate. “We know there is much to do to bring Oakwood up to the standard we have achieved at our other prisons,” the company said. One prison expert said that disturbances at new year were predictable, given that prisoners were more likely to be consuming home brewed alcohol made from fruit they had been given for Christmas. Tom Gash, director of research at the Institute for Government, believes that prison contracting has been handled well. “I would say this is one area where government has gone about using private sector services more effectively than other areas, because they have quite robust ways of assessing which prisons are doing a good job and they can keep track of that,” Mr Gash said. He even argues that outsourcing has been a “net gain” for the UK prison system. “Competition between the different sectors has actually pushed up performance overall,” he says. “That public versus private rivalry spurs the best in both.”

Jan 2, 2014 theguardian.com

Labour would take control of privately run prisons if their managers failed to meet a six-month "buck up" deadline, the shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, has said in the wake of a damning report on a flagship jail run by G4S. Tougher contracts would be negotiated, including stiffer financial penalties, after the chief inspector of prisons reported that inmates find it easier at HMP Oakwood to get hold of illicit drugs than soap, Khan said. He accused Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, of a "catastrophic misjudgment" after he praised the "supersized" 1,605-place Oakwood in Staffordshire as his favourite prison. Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, said in October that the first official inspection report into Oakwood had shown that a retrieval plan for the prison was urgently needed. Hardwick said prison staff were inexperienced and were so unwilling to challenge inmates that they came close to colluding. In an unannounced two-week visit to the prison in June inspectors reported that "on more than one occasion we were told by prisoners that you can get drugs here but not soap". Khan said: "It's clearly not working at Oakwood. I can't remember a week going by without a disturbance, or a damning inspection. I've actually been and seen at first hand the problems in the prison and I came away really worried about conditions for prisoners and staff. As things stand, it's not delivering what the public should expect of the millions being paid to G4S to run it." The shadow justice secretary described Grayling as a "repeat offender" after he responded to the report by describing Oakwood as a first-class facility. Grayling told the Express & Star during a visit to Wolverhampton in November: "It's a newly opened prison. Every new prison has teething problems, whether public or private. I am very optimistic for Oakwood. It is a first-class facility. It is the most impressive set of facilities I have seen on a prison estate. Clearly the management of the prison need to address the problems but it's a prison that will be very good." Khan said: "I'd have done things very differently than Chris Grayling. I'd have summoned in the management of G4S and told them they've got six months to buck up their ideas or they're out. Simple as that. If there's no improvement in six months, then I'd be prepared to take control of Oakwood prison away from G4S back into the hands of the public sector. "I'd do just the same for a failing public prison – give them six months to sort themselves out, and if they fail, impose new management that will sort it out. I see no difference whether the underperformance is in the public, private or voluntary sector – I'd apply the same laser zero tolerance. We shouldn't tolerate mediocrity in the running of our prisons." Construction started on the £180m Category C prison in 2009. The contract to run it was awarded to G4S by the then justice secretary, Ken Clarke, in March 2011. Khan said: "We can't go on with scandal after scandal, where the public's money is being squandered and the quality of what's delivered isn't up to scratch. The government is too reliant on a cosy group of big companies. The public are rightly getting fed up to the back teeth of big companies making huge profits out of the taxpayer, which smacks to them of rewards for failure. " If we are going to get the full bang for the public's buck then we need a totally new approach."


The Guardian, 12 November 2013

G4S has been barred from government contracts while claims of overcharging are investigated. G4S has launched an internal investigation after a judge referred a number of its employees for prosecution for forgery and contempt of court in a "truly shocking" case of what he called disgraceful behaviour. In the high court, Mr Justice Mostyn said three employees from G4Srunning Brook House immigration removal centre in Gatwick, East Sussex, had been involved in forging a document and contempt of court after giving witness statements during an immigration appeal involving allegations of torture at the hands of a foreign government. In an excoriating judgment which has been referred the attorney general and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mostyn said G4S employees Tamara Burns, Marilyn Bennett and Matthew Newman were involved in "corruptly redacting" an official certificate, an action which helped bolster the case against an immigrant who was being deported from the UK. Last week the Guardian revealed the Home Office is in discussions with G4S to expand Brook House by 30% despite a freeze on new government contracts for the multinational security company while it is investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for allegations of criminally overcharging taxpayers. The asylum seeker, who is not allowed to be named for legal reasons, claimed he had been tortured and beaten with a heated metal rod on arrival at his country of origin after UK officials refused to remove paperwork from his luggage which identified him with anti-government organisations there. Mostyn found that after his room at Brook House was cleared of belongings, a certificate was drawn up by officials making reference to "various paperwork". But during court proceedings, centre staff submitted a second "doctored" certificate, which scrubbed all mention of the paperwork. "The conduct of the secretary of state's agents in falsifying the room clearance certificate is corrupt and truly shocking," Justice Mostyn said in his judgment Thursday. "The original clean certificate was only produced by the secretary of state following a request made by the claimant's solicitors after the doctored certificate has been produced in evidence as exhibits to the witness statements of Tamara Burns, Marilyn Bennett and Matthew Newman," said Mostyn. The three officials behaved disgracefully, the judge said, adding: "When agents of the state falsify documents it undermines, if not fatally then certainly very seriously, the trust of the people in the operation of the rule of law. "It makes no difference if, as here, the agents are private contractors to whom the secretary of state has outsourced her powers. Corruption by state officials is insidious and corrosive and it is the duty of the authorities where it is found to root it out ruthlessly." Mostyn referred his findings of forgery and providing false witness testimony to the DPP and the attorney general. However, he added that his "finding as to the turpitude of the agents of the secretary of state" did not detract from the "lack of credibility of the claimant", and he dismissed the appeal. G4S said one employee was no longer with the company and the remaining two had been suspended with immediate effect. "The allegations made in respect of the conduct of our employees are extremely serious, and we have launched an immediate internal investigation," a G4S official said. "Due to the nature of these allegations, we have suspended the two personnel concerned with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the investigation. "We will, of course, co-operate fully with any inquiries the appropriate authorities may pursue in connection with this case."


30 October 2013 Our Kingdom

That's G4S, experts in "robust employee screening". A murder conviction raises fresh doubts about a government outsourcer's competence and integrity. Last November a 42 year-old pharmaceutical worker from Thailand took part in a conference about HIV treatment at Glasgow's Clyde Auditorium. Her name was Khanokporn Satjawat. A G4S guard checked Satjawat's ID. He didn't like her manner. Later he followed her into the toilets and bludgeoned her to death with a fire extinguisher. Yesterday, at the High Court in Glasgow, Clive Carter was found guilty of Khanokporn Satjawat's murder. The court heard that the 35 year-old G4S man tended to become enraged when women contradicted him. In a police interview his wife described him as "violent and manipulative". His GP had referred him for anger management counselling. A few days before the killing, Carter had knocked on a woman’s door at the Holiday Inn Express hotel, carrying a fire extinguisher and claiming there had been a report of a fire. G4S works on police investigations, runs prisons, children's homes and detention centres, among other privatised public services. They're having a very bad month. Their UK flagship Oakwood Prison is in crisis. In South Africa, the state has taken back control of G4S Mangaung Prison; guards are accused of torturing inmates. Yesterday's murder conviction raises fresh doubts about G4S's fitness for public service. "A robust employee screening programme helps organisations minimise the risk of making inappropriate recruitment decisions," G4S tells potential customers. "We have a wealth of experience in developing and implementing background checks and security clearance for companies in the private and public sector." But are they any good at it? What evidence is there of G4S's commitment to the safety of people who fall into the company's hands? Earlier this year OurKingdom revealed that the health and safety manager for G4S Children's Services was involved in the death of child prisoner Gareth Myatt nine years ago. We noted that the Coroner criticised G4S for ignoring repeated warnings about the use of force and other problems at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre near Rugby. (PDF here) Another G4S employee approved by the company's screening process was Danny Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper passed fit for work in Iraq. Ahead of Fitzsimons's deployment in 2009, a fellow worker sent a series of emails warning G4S about the man's instability. "I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public," wrote the whistleblower, who signed one email "a concerned member of the public and father". Another email warned: "Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust. I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing." Within 36 hours of arriving in Baghdad’s Green Zone in August 2009, Fitzsimons had shot and killed fellow security contractors Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare. In 2011 the Karkh Criminal Court of Iraq sentenced him to life in prison for the murders. His parents said he was suffering from PTSD and should never have been employed in a war zone. Clive Stafford Smith, director of the charity Reprieve, said: “If G4S had done the proper checks and risk assessments when Danny applied to work with them, they would have quickly seen that he was suffering from serious PTSD, a consequence of loyally serving his country. Instead they conducted minimal checks and sent him off to Iraq. Now Danny could spend the rest of his life in a hostile prison hundreds of miles from home, when he should be receiving psychiatric treatment.” Last year a BBC Scotland investigation unearthed the whistleblower's repeated attempts to alert G4S to Fitzsimons's instability. Why did the company fail to act? G4S issued a statement, admitting that its screening of Danny Fitzsimons "was not completed in line with the company's procedures". The statement included a curiously worded assertion about the whistleblower's warnings: "We are aware of this allegation but following an internal IT investigation it is clear that no such emails were received by any member of our HR department." Note that G4S is not denying that the company received the warnings, only denying that the human resources department received them. Such assertions are known among reporters as "non-denial denials". BBC Scotland put a further question to G4S: "When did the company first become aware of the emails and did anyone else - outside of the company's HR department - become aware of them?" A G4S spokesman replied: "I'm sorry I can't track down the relevant individual so I am afraid we can not comment further on when we received the emails." G4S's competence and culture were found wanting yet again earlier this year during the Inquest into the death of Angolan asylum seeker Jimmy Mubenga. The Inquest jury found that Mubenga had been unlawfully killed by G4S guards during an attempted deportation in October 2010. After the killing, police checks on guards' mobile phones revealed numerous racist texts that were extremely offensive. Assistant deputy coroner Karon Monaghan QC said that the quality and number of racist texts, and the fact that they were circulated widely among G4S guards, suggested not a couple of "rotten apples" but evidence of "a more pervasive racism within G4S". [PDF here] The Coroner wrote: "For example, one message read as follows: 'fuck off and go home you free-loading, benefit grabbing, kid producing, violent, non-English speaking cock suckers and take those hairy faced, sandal wearing, bomb making, goat fucking, smelly rag  head bastards with you.'” G4S, among other Home Office contractors, had for years been warned about the dangers of excessive force and guards' racist abuse, most resoundingly in the Medical Justice dossier Outsourcing Abuse, published in July 2008, more than two years before the killing of Jimmy Mubenga. Today, in response to questions relating to the guard convicted of murdering Khanokporn Satjawat, G4S told OurKingdom: "Clive Carter passed screening in May 2010, following receipt of two employment references and two character references. He had a Security Industry Authority licence and therefore went through Home Office screening including a criminal record check." They went on: "His instability only became apparent after the murder . . . The incident at the Holiday Inn was not reported to G4S and only came to our attention during the trial. Had we received any complaint concerning him at that time, we would have immediately launched an investigation and if necessary suspended him from duty whilst that investigation was underway."

 

11 Oct 2013 birminghammail.co.uk

Three prisoners in protest at heavily-criticised Wolverhampton jail. Three prisoners climbed on to a roof for a protest at Oakwood Prison on Friday. The inmates began their protest at Wolverhampton's privately-run prison at about 11am. A spokeswoman for G4S, which runs the prison, said: “We can confirm that three prisoners have been involved in a rooftop protest at HMP Oakwood since this morning. “The Ministry of Justice was informed immediately and established contingency plans were put into place. "A team of specialist negotiators, trained to work at height, are being deployed and our hope is that this situation can be resolved quickly and peacefully. “The normal prison regime has been unaffected and there is no danger to staff, prisoners or the public. “An internal investigation has been launched.” It is not known what the protest is about but the Category C prison was slammed in a recent report from inspectors, which said it needed to urgently address its approach to its near 300 sex offenders, many of whom were due for release without their offending having been addressed. The scathing report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons came after a surprise visit, which said it had inexperienced staff and high levels of violence and self-harm.

 

August 25, 2013 express.co.uk

There is speculation that the company may mount a cash call. Ashley Almanza, chief executive since June, is set to announce underlying earnings for the period of £207 million down from £236 million last year. He is not expected to reveal the outcome of his strategic review. G4S fell from grace when it failed to recruit enough staff to guard London Olympic venues. It has since suffered the departure of long-standing boss Nick Buckles and been hit by accusations that it overcharged taxpayers for tagging and monitoring offenders. The accusations prompted the threat of a Serious Fraud Office investigation. An analyst said: “We expect to see a messy set of results following a number of restatements and looking at the underlying performance of the firm at the Olympics last year. “The question is how the company plans to deleverage, with disposals likely to be the preferred route, although we do not think an equity rights issue can be fully discounted.” Swedish-based investment company Cevian Capital has taken a 5.11 per cent stake. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is also a major shareholder in the group.


22 August 2013 morningstaronline.co.uk

A penal reform charity threatened the government with legal action today for failing to protect vulnerable children in privately run detention centres. The Howard League for Penal Reform threw a spotlight on the government over its failure to implement an effective procedure for children who are abused while detained in privately run secure training centres. The centres house many vulnerable children and the charity warned that many of them are regularly subjected to mistreatment, including the use of physical force by staff. Figures published by the Ministry of Justice in January revealed that there were on average 111 incidents of physical restraint per month during 2011-12 in the centres. In the same year, 68 restraint incidents resulted in injury. The charity pointed out that the law requires children with credible allegations of mistreatment should have access to an effective and independent investigation. But while children and adults detained in prisons have access to an independent complaints system, no such system exists for children in the secure training centres. And prisons are also subject to Freedom of Information, but the secure training centres - run by G4S and Serco - are exempt. The charity's legal team wrote an open letter to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, calling on him to confirm that he will begin plans to change the system, within a fixed-time frame, or face a judicial review. It said that the current complaints procedure was "wholly inadequate" and "unfair, discriminatory and contrary to the protections afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights." It called on Mr Grayling to implement a complaints system for children in the centres "that is fit for purpose and includes an accessible right of appeal to an independent body." Howard League chief executive Frances Crook said: "These child jails for profit have existed for 20 years yet there has been no proper public scrutiny of what has happened to the billions of taxpayers' money. "We have to make sure children know they will be listened to by someone fair and impartial when things are going wrong if we are to change the culture of impunity, change poor practice and avoid children being seriously mistreated." A Ministry of Justice spokesperson added: "It is not true that children in custody cannot raise complaints. "There are a number of routes for young people to take, if they have a complaint regarding their treatment in custody. We are looking into the points raised by the Howard League and will respond in due course." Two children have died in secure training centres. Adam Rickwood, 14, took his own life at the Serco-run Hassockfield secure training centre in Co Durham in 2004 after being subjected to an unlawful use of force. In the same year, Gareth Myatt, 15, died while being restrained by staff at the G4S-run Rainsbrook secure training centre in Northamptonshire.


March 08, 2013 getsurrey.co.uk

A DOUBLE amputee from Woking died from head injuries when his unsecured wheelchair tipped over in a G4S ambulance that the driver had not been properly trained to use, an inquest jury has found. Palaniappan Thevarayan, 47, of Hawthorn Road, Barnsbury, was being transferred to St Helier Hospital in Sutton on May 4 last year when his wheelchair came free from the built-in clamps and he fatally hit his head. The jury at Westminster Coroner’s Court ruled on Thursday (March 7) that Mr Thevarayan had not been securely clamped into the back of the ambulance. Driver John Garner and fellow G4S staff were insufficiently trained to transport hundreds of patients from their homes to clinics and hospitals across London and the south east, the inquest heard. The court was told drivers were aware of problems with the clamps prior to the incident, and were then told to stop using them immediately after Mr Thevarayan’s death. New vehicles were introduced in November 2011. The former newsagent was being moved from a dialysis treatment centre in Epsom to St Helier’s when he had to be diverted because his catheter had become blocked, the inquest heard. After hearing that Mr Garner’s manual handling training had not been refreshed since 2009, jurors decided: “Patient transport service staff were not sufficiently trained in the safe transportation of patients by ambulance.” Mr Thevarayan, who was born in India, had been undergoing dialysis three times a week for nearly three years when he died and was only using the Epsom centre because his usual facility in West Byfleet had been temporarily shut down in April 2011 due to storm damage. Mr Thevarayan’s wife and full-time carer Nirmala told the inquest she wanted answers about his treatment by G4S and why it took so long to get him into surgery. She said her husband was given a 50:50 chance of survival if operated on immediately after the injury but nearly six hours passed before he went for surgery. “I want to know why they didn’t look after him properly,” she told the court on Monday. “And in hospital, why did they take so long to treat him?” Mrs Thevarayan said her husband had called to say he would receive antibiotics and be back home that night. But he was given a bleak outlook when assessed by doctors on arrival at St Helier’s, the inquest heard. Despite his condition, it was not until 10pm that he was transferred to St George’s in Tooting for surgery and a further four hours until he went into the operating theatre. The inquest heard Mr Thevarayan, a devoted family man, was diagnosed as diabetic when he was 23 and developed kidney problems later on in life. He was forced to retire when both his legs were amputated after he developed circulation difficulties, and had a heart bypass in 2009. But Mrs Thevarayan said her husband remained fiercely independent, despite his health problems. “He was a very capable man, and what he could do, he would do,” she told the inquest. “He never asked anyone for any help.” She added he was nearing the top of the kidney transplant list when he died and was also due to be fitted with a prosthetic leg. “The next day he had an appointment with the transplant surgeon and he was so looking forward to that,” his wife said. Mr Thevarayan died of an acute chronic subdural haematoma and head injury contributed to by chronic renal failure and diabetes. Assistant deputy coroner Kevin McLoughlin said to Mrs Thevarayan and her son and daughter, who sat through the four-day inquest: “I pay tribute to the calm dignity which you and your family have conducted yourself through what must have been heartbreaking evidence.”


22 Feb 2013 itv.com

Two employees who stole thousands from a cash collection depot in Maidstone have been jailed for four years each. Barry Jackman from Ashford and Mark Knight from Maidstone, were charged after an internal investigation by G4S, who contacted police when they noticed money going missing. The pair were employed as depot manager and deputy of the Maidstone depot, which conveys money to banks and financial institutions. Jackman and Knight came under suspicion after they were allegedly seen in a car park exchanging what appeared to be a bag of money. Police officers searched Knight’s home and found eight cash bags, each containing £500 in £2 coins. At Jackman’s house, £100 in £2 was found in a box in the garage. Mark Knight was also sentenced to four years in prison Credit: Kent Police  -- The two had come up with techniques to remove money from the depot, bypassing the searches that they were subjected to when leaving the premises. It's estimated that between January 2010 and September 2011 that £90,000 went missing from the depot. **Knight blamed temptation as the main factor. One of the methods involved moving a loose ceiling tile, allowing access to the roof space, and leaving the bags in the space. Once through the security checks, Jackman or Knight accessed the roof space via the ladies toilets to collect the cash. The pair also took real money, but balanced the books by sending counterfeit cash that the depot had sorted back out to financial institutions to ensure that there were no anomalies.


February 13, 2013 express.co.uk

The group said the final settlement with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), would cover its failure to provide all the 10,400 security guards needed to protect the event last summer. Military personnel had to be drafted in to cover the shortfall with G4S boss Nick Buckles hauled before Parliament to explain why it had not met its targets. G4S had previously forecast a £50million loss from the £284million contract but said its decision to waive a larger chunk of its management fee had sent the bill higher. It is also taking a further £18million hit including the cost of Games marketing and a £2.5million goodwill donation to a military charity. However the overall loss was less than the £150million speculated by some in the City leaving G4S shares flat at 280½p. Buckles said: "Whilst we are extremely disappointed to find ourselves in this position we are pleased to have concluded these negotiations. "The Government is an important customer and it was in our interests to bring this matter to a close in a professional manner without the need for lengthy legal proceedings." A G4S spokesman said the settlement had drawn a line under the affair and it was now keen to "restore its reputation" with the Government, which accounts for about half of its UK revenues.

12 October 2012 Scotsman.com
Police had to cover “thousands” of extra shifts at the London 2012 Games after private security firm G4S failed to recruit and train enough guards. Officers working overtime covered around 500 shifts, earmarked for G4S staff, in London alone. Regional events such as the football competitions meant this figure jumped “significantly” outside London during the Games, the national Olympic security co-ordinator, Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said. He told London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee: “It was significantly more than that [500 shifts in London]. I think it was in the thousands that we had to do nationally.” G4S confirmed the shortage just weeks before the Games began. All the forces, such as Strathclyde Police who took over ­responsibility for security at the Olympic venue in Glasgow, are being reimbursed by G4S, Mr ­Allison said.

October 1, 2012 AP
The security contractor at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee was fired Monday after authorities said three protesters cut through fences and vandalized a building in an unprecedented break-in. Security contractor WSI Oak Ridge said it has started winding down operations and will transfer its protective force functions to B&W Y-12, the managing contractor at the plant, over the next several weeks. The Department of Energy had earlier recommended that WSI's contract be terminated. The security contractor was criticized for its poor response when the protesters, including an 82-year-old Roman Catholic nun, cut through fences on July 28 and defaced a building that stores the plant's weapons grade uranium. Peter Stockton, a Department of Energy adviser on nuclear security during the Clinton administration, called the firing long overdue. "This the most egregious thing we've ever run into," said Stockton, a senior investigator with the Project On Government Oversight. "It's the worst of the worst."

September 28, 2012 The Upcoming
Two senior executives from G4S (Group 4 Securicor) have resigned after a report blamed management failings for the Olympics’ security fiasco. G4S, the world’s largest security firm, failed to provide the contracted and adequate number of security personnel to cover the Olympics in a public blunder that nearly overshadowed the successful Games. Nick Buckles survives the G4S management cull in the wake of the Olympics scandal. G4S chief operating officer, David Taylor-Smith, and the managing director for G4S Global Events, Ian Horseman-Sewell, are stepping down in wake of the scandal.

September 22, 2012 Reuters
G4S's bill for its embarrassing London Olympic staffing failure could rise after a government committee demanded the embattled security firm waive its management fee and compensate Games staff neglected in its chaotic recruitment drive. The world's biggest security firm has been under fire since admitting just two weeks before the Games began that it could not provide a promised 10,400 venue guards, embarrassing the government - a key customer - and forcing British troops to cancel holidays and fill the shortfall. G4S has already estimated a 50 million pound loss on the Olympic contract relating to the cost of deploying additional police and military personnel and the likely penalties the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will impose, but that may prove conservative. In a report published on Friday, the Home Affairs Committee, which twice hauled in G4S chief Nick Buckles to explain the Olympic debacle, said responsibility for the failure was with G4S and that its most senior personnel should be held accountable for making misleading staffing assurances to security officials so close to the start of the Games. "Far from being able to stage two Games on two continents at the same time, as they recklessly boasted, G4S could not even stage one," said Keith Vaz, Chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee, referring to an interview managing director of G4S Global Events, Ian Horseman Sewell, gave to Reuters in July. "G4S should waive its 57 million pound management fee and also compensate its staff and prospective staff who it treated in a cavalier fashion." LOCOG has so far parted with only 90 million pounds of the 237 million pound contract and earlier this month insisted the remainder would have to be negotiated.

September 10, 2012 POGO
Shortly after the security breach at Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28, the Independent Oversight Program at the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters sent a team to Y-12 to conduct performance tests on the effectiveness of the Wackenhut Services Inc Oak Ridge guard force, according to a POGO source at the DOE. Two days ago, The Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor reported that a federal inspector discovered copies of questions and answers from the written portion of the performance test in a guard force vehicle. The newest security director of Y-12, John Garrity, who took over the position after the break-in a month ago, has now been administratively re-assigned. This incident of cheating on a performance test at Y-12 is nothing new for Wackenhut. Prior to the break in at Y-12, POGO had received an anonymous tip voicing concerns about cheating on security tests that sounded credible. We could not verify the allegation so were not able to release it at the time. But after another source contacted POGO and the latest revelation about guards with test questions and answers, there is certainly justification to do so now. The source stated that “Wackenhut has a history of cheating on performance tests at Y12 and other locations. All of the in house testing that is scheduled to occur is relayed in advance to the security personnel so they always do a great job. All drills and tests done for the occasional outside agency are relayed ahead of time as to what they will be. There is no honest testing taking place. The security force cannot do any response without practicing and rehearsing ahead of time as they almost always do. Even though Wackenhut was caught cheating during an IG investigation in 2004, they were allowed to not only keep their contract, they were allowed to continue testing themselves. This is clearly a conflict on [sic] interest as it has been and it continiues [sic] to go on.” And in June 2003, a test using four different force-on-force scenarios was conducted at Y-12 to determine the effectiveness of the guard force. It turned out that the guard force performed too well on all four scenarios. An Inspector General (IG) investigation of the 2003 incident found that the tests had been compromised when leaders of the guard force gained access to the attackers’ plans: Several individuals told us, for example, that controlled (test-sensitive) information was shared with SPOs [Security Police Officers] prior to their participation in a given performance test. These concerns paralleled our findings regarding the June 2003 performance test. When queried as to the nature of the information that had been shared with SPOs in prior years, they provided a number of examples, including the following: •The specific building and wall to be attacked by the test adversary; •The specific target of the test adversary; and •Whether or not a diversionary tactic would be employed by the test adversary. In a memorandum attached to the IG report, Inspector General Gregory Friedman said, “We found that shortly before the test, two protective force personnel were inappropriately permitted to view the computer simulations of the four scenarios. This action compromised controlled (test-sensitive) information. As a consequence, the test results were, in our judgment, tainted and unreliable.” Additionally, the 2003 IG review stated that inspectors were provided with information that inappropriate actions had occurred going back to the mid-1980s in connection with performance tests at the department’s Oak Ridge Complex. In the last month, dozens of officials at Y-12 have either been transferred or allowed to retire as a result of both the break-in and the cheating debacle. This is nothing short of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Merely firing a single low-level guard, Kirk Garland, is hardly enough to address the larger issue of Wackenhut cutting corners on security. Garland was like a canary in a coal mine—in a real attack he would have been the first victim. His bravery was rewarded with a termination letter while those truly responsible for the break-in and cheating remain gainfully employed. Each performance test costs the better part of $100,000. Wackenhut has now been caught cheating twice and there are additional reports of cheating from sources like our anonymous whistleblower. How many more times will DOE allow Wackenhut to waste taxpayer money on tainted and unreliable tests before it terminates the security contract and provides adequate security that is tried-and-true?

September 9, 2012 The Guardian
Home Office ministers have ordered weekly reports on the progress of two new contracts with the private security companies G4S and Serco to house and provide support services for thousands of asylum seekers and their families. The chief executive of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Rob Whiteman, has confirmed that serious concerns about the ability of the two companies to find housing for thousands of asylum seekers across the north of England by November has led to closer monitoring at the most senior levels of the Home Office. The £883m a year Compass contract to provide support services for dispersed asylum seekers is the largest project run by the Home Office. The two private security companies took over the five-year asylum housing contracts in four of the six UKBA regions across Britain from social landlords, including councils, in March. The companies were expected to start moving people in June. But after a contractual dispute G4S dropped its housing subcontractor for the Yorkshire and Humberside region, United Property Management, in June and its new subcontractors have yet to find enough homes. Two councils, Sheffield and Kirklees, have raised concerns about their ability to deliver the housing contract within the expected timetable. Kirklees council said that a fortnight ago, only one family out of 240 asylum seekers had been moved as part of the transition from the council to the new providers. "There are 240 asylum seekers being assisted. We understand the subcontractors are finding it difficult to procure accommodation and the council has been asked to continue to provide assistance until the end of October. There is no suggestion however that the council's contract will be renewed after this time," Whiteman has told the Commons public accounts committee there were also concerns about the two Serco contracts, one covering north-west England and the other Scotland and Northern Ireland, including the "speed at which properties are being acquired". He said the issue had been "escalated" to directly involve himself and Jeremy Oppenheim, the UKBA director of immigration and settlement. Weekly reports are also being sent to ministers. "It is not at this stage anywhere near penalties because they are acting within the contract in terms of how the work is handed over to them," Whiteman told MPs. "We do have concerns about mobilisation. We are escalating this and I have been involved in meetings on that but it is at a relatively early stage." He added there were other remedies available under the contracts but he hoped the difficulties would be resolved.

September 7, 2012 Reuters
Embattled security firm G4S will be forced to relive its embarrassing London Olympics staffing failure on Tuesday when its boss returns for a second showdown with British lawmakers demanding to know how the debacle was allowed to happen. Group Chief Executive Nick Buckles and David Taylor-Smith, who is the group's UK and Africa CEO, w ill be pressed for further explanation of the recruitment failure which has hit shares and raised questions about its prospects on future deals. "Everyone now accepts that G4S let the country down before the Olympics began. We need to ascertain the reasons why this happened and who else was responsible for the pre-Olympics shambles," Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee and a member of Parliament for the opposition Labour party, told Reuters. Vaz said the committee had quizzed Home Secretary Theresa May, who is in charge of domestic security, on Thursday, and had received a detailed letter outlining the department's oversight of the contract and the minister's meetings with Buckle and the Olympics organizers during the run-up to the Games. G4S, the world's largest security firm, which in Britain runs services for airports, prisons, immigration and the police, admitted just 16 days before the Games began that it could not supply a promised 10,400 venue guards. It eventually raised 7,800 at peak times, leaving the military to make up the shortfall. The failure embarrassed the government, one of G4S's core clients which accounts for more than half of its 1.8 billion pounds British revenue. More than 20 percent of its pipeline of potential UK work also stems from that market. Those numbers mean the UK public sector is one of the biggest global clients for the group, whose revenue for 2012 is forecast at just over 8 billion pounds according to a Reuters poll of 21 analysts. G4S has said it expects to take a 50 million pound ($79.7 million) loss over the contract failure, but the potential for a longer-lasting reputational blow goes beyond the UK market. A week before it conceded recruitment problems, the company told Reuters it expected its work at the 2012 Games would help it win a bigger share of a four-year cycle of global events whose safety and security budget has been estimated at more than $10 billion.

August 20, 2012 Reuters
G4S is set to pull out of Pakistan amid an increasingly hostile environment for foreign security companies, the Financial Times reported on Monday. The company, which trades under the name Wackenhut Pakistan Ltd, has agreed to sell the business to its chairman in the region for about $10 million. Ikram Sehgal, chairman of G4S's Pakistani operation, who already owns a 50 percent stake in the company, is expected to buy the company's Pakistan interest. "The Pakistani government has decided it doesn't want foreign security companies in the region, which makes it tough for outsiders to operate," Sehgal is quoted as saying. G4S, the world's largest security firm, employs 10,000 staff in Pakistan, where it provides security for the UN and multinational corporations. G4S is under fire over its failure to provide enough guards at the London Olympics.

August 19, 2012 The Independent
G4S boss Nick Buckles once said that he "never had any ambition of working for anyone else". Early retirement it is, then, for the 51-year-old with the odd mullet haircut, because there is no way he should be allowed to continue at the world's second biggest private-sector employer. This is not because of the security fiasco at the Olympics, when G4S failed to stump up enough security guards so that the army had to step in to protect the event. Don't get me wrong, the epic failure at a global event that means the company has ruled itself out of bidding for contracts at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil was certainly deserving of his head. Nor is this about the disastrous failure to buy ISS for £5.2bn last year, when shareholders effectively vetoed his plans and were proven right last week when the Danish cleaner was valued some 20 per cent below that level in a stake sale. And, obviously it's a bit odd how corporate advisers, brokers and a chairman lost their jobs with G4S when Buckles goes around boasting that his role nowadays is "reputation and pricing bids". Of course he should have gone over the Olympics. Of course he should have gone over the ISS fiasco. But, to go for those reasons alone means that all the other shambles and controversies during his eight-year leadership then would be forgotten. Buckles should go for the many, many awful mistakes the company has made during his reign. It's difficult to know where to start, so I'll trot out the rebuttal that many shareholders will make against my argument: G4S has gown hugely under Buckles, the share price hovered below 120p in mid-2004 and since 2009 has traded at well over double that. Yes, the financial performance is impressive, with consistently strong turnover, profit and dividend pay-out figures. But, the operational performance has been shameful and when the industry is something as crucial as security, it is not enough to use accounts as a defence. Buckles is not personally responsible for any of the following, but the list is long enough to suggest that he has failed to impose the right culture on G4S's employees: In 2007, staff at US subsidiary Wackenhut were found asleep while "securing" a nuclear power plant, resulting in the loss of its contract with the US's biggest energy provider; In 2008, Aboriginal elder "Mr Ward" died of severe heat stroke in the back of a G4S prison van in Australia. G4S was fined after pleading guilty to charges of failing to protect the 46-year-old's health and safety; In 2010, father-of-five Jimmy Mubenga, who was being deported from the UK to Angola, was restrained by three G4S security guards and died of cardiac arrest. Last month, the Crown Prosecution Service did not bring charges to the guards over insufficient evidence, a decision that a former chief inspector of prisons branded "perverse"; In 2011, G4S lost a major government contract after a record 773 complaints by immigration centre detainees, including nearly 50 of assault. Current chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick found that G4S guards used "highly offensive and sometime racist language". Individually, these are hardly the fault of the boss of one of the world's most sprawling empires. It is also hard to say when enough emerged that Buckles should have taken a hard look at himself and admit that he hadn't corrected what appears to be cultural deficiencies. But the list has gone well beyond whatever that point is and he should go.

August 18, 2012 The Sun
A ROBBER dressed as a G4S guard walked out of a store with £14,000 takings — while the real security man was sat outside reading a paper. Duped staff at Poundland became suspicious after handing over the cash. They went outside to the waiting G4S van and told the driver: “We’ve just given the money to your mate.” But the stunned security guard put down his newspaper and replied: “What mate?” Cops reckon the robber had watched the G4S staff’s regular routine before “mocking up” a uniform — complete with crash helmet and body armour. A source said: “The real G4S guys often take a quick break when arriving in their security wagon. On this occasion the guy was reading a paper in the cab. “The robber has been caught on CCTV appearing from the back of the van, as if he’d got out of the passenger seat. “Staff had no reason to think he wasn’t a G4S man. He handed them two cash containers which they filled up. “He then calmly walked out and disappeared. He must have been laughing his head off under his helmet.” Police are appealing for witnesses to Thursday’s heist in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks. It is the latest embarrassment for gaffe-prone G4S after its failure to provide 10,400 Olympic security staff. A spokeswoman said: “We’ll be working closely with Poundland and Warwickshire Police.”

July 31, 2012 Manchester Evening News
Embattled security firm G4S was booted out of Old Trafford before the first Olympics football match there, the M.E.N. can reveal. Hundreds of G4S staff workers were supposed to patrol United’s home ground while it hosted matches at the 2012 Games. The arrangement was part of a £284m contract between Games organisers Locog and the crisis-hit company. But a string of problems led to the decision to drop G4S at Old Trafford and bring in security firm Controlled Event Solutions, (CES) which looks after the stadium for Reds’ matches. A United source said the final straw for Olympic bosses had come when G4S sub-contractors walked out, claiming they had not been paid. The source added: “Someone has looked at it and said enough is enough and they have sent them packing and brought in CES.”

July 25, 2012 Aiken Standard
A civil lawsuit against Wackenhut Services Inc. at the Savannah River Site claiming discrimination should proceed to trial, a U.S. magistrate judge recommended in federal court documents last week. Judge Paige Gossett recommended granting in part and denying in part motions for summary judgement in the case of Marvin Timothy Oerman, who filed a lawsuit in 2010 claiming he was demoted by former employer Wackenhut because he is white. The judge's July 17 recommendation said the lawsuit should proceed on a race discrimination claim, but not on a sex discrimination claim. "It is our understanding that the magistrate issued recommendations partly in our favor and partly against us," said WSI spokesperson Rob Davis. "If the recommendations are upheld, the case will proceed to trial on one of Mr. Oerman's claims." Davis said that Wackenhut continues to deny any discriminatory actions against Oerman. Oerman, who is no longer employed with Wackenhut, worked for the contractor for more than 25 years, and claims that he was demoted while a less experienced black male was selected for the position of manager of Wackenhut's training operations department. The complaint states Oerman later learned that another manager planned to leave the department, and that Randy Garver, general manager of WSI-SRS, did not post the position before choosing another black male with less experience. Oerman filed a second lawsuit in 2011 against Wackenhut claiming retaliation once it became known that he had filed the initial lawsuit. He claimed Wackenhut Services Inc. selected individuals on the basis of race and gender and has "instituted an ad hoc racial and gender quota system," according to the complaint. Court documents state that, according to Garver, "there were continuing performance failures at the barricades for which [Oerman] was responsible," and as a result, he selected a new manager to oversee perimeter protection and transferred Oerman elsewhere. "Unfortunately, there were a significant number of employees who lost jobs through downsizing at SRS over the last several years, and this is our only lawsuit related to that downsizing," Davis said.

July 23, 2012 Ekklesia
The Howard League for Penal Reform has revealed new findings from polling firm Populus showing that half the public oppose privately run prisons. While just 37 per cent describe themselves as comfortable with private prisons, 49 per cent are uncomfortable, including 23 per cent very uncomfortable. The gap is even wider amongst women (32 per cent comfortable, 50 per cent uncomfortable) and the electorally crucial over-65 age group (32 per cent comfortable, 59 per cent uncomfortable). When the specific example of G4S running a local prison is presented, just one in four (26 per cent) describe themselves as comfortable with the idea and even fewer (23 per cent) view the service as suitable for a payment by results approach. Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, which campaigns for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison, said: “It’s clear that the public understands the dangers of putting such a key service as the prison system into the hands of unaccountable companies, who are driven by cutting costs rather than cutting crime. "The scandal of the Army having to step in to provide security at the Olympics after private firm G4S failed to do its job proves yet again that when private firms underperform, the public pays through the nose and safety is compromised. We shouldn’t be allowing the same thing in our prison system.”

July 16, 2012 The Guardian
The slide in the G4S share price on Monday reflected the Olympic-sized blow to the private security company's reputation, not only in Britain but throughout its global operations. The company has been here before. In its former incarnation as Group 4 in the early 1990s it became a national joke in Britain, as its first contracts to escort prisoners from courts to jail were hit by one high-profile escape after another. Since those dark days – helped by the fact that it was not then a publicly quoted company with a share price to protect – Group 4 not only recovered but has gone on to become a global success story, with 657,000 employees in 125 countries. G4S is now the largest player in global security, with 8% of the market and contracts that include protecting ships from pirates in the Indian Ocean and supplying security systems to the Pentagon. But its proud boast to be "securing your world, in more ways than you might realise" has been dealt a massive blow by overstretching itself on such a high-profile contract. While Olympic tier-one sponsors such as British Airways and Adidas have paid more than £700m to ensure they harvest a positive boost to their profiles, G4S is experiencing a turbocharged PR meltdown. Will this prove fatal to the company's UK reputation as the go-to contractor for everything in the criminal justice system from running police stations to managing prisons? Replacing its chief executive, Nick Buckles, 51, may not prove sufficient to repair the damage, especially if he pockets, as he will be entitled to, £20m in pay and benefits if he goes. The company will already have written off its hopes of winning the security contracts at the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, both in Brazil.

May 30, 2012 Our Kingdom
On Tuesday 8 May a Bradford asylum seeker and her twelve week old baby were given barely a week’s notice by private landlord UPM to quit their home. On Thursday 17th they were transported forty miles to a tiny flat in Doncaster with no cooker, table or chair, and only a tiny sink to wash dishes and clothes. Campaigners in Bradford and Doncaster supported the mother and engaged with local medical services and the Red Cross, and protested to the UK Border Agency and local authorities. The protests prompted a Border Agency inspector to visit the Doncaster flat. On Monday the Border Agency declared the flat “contractually non-compliant” and “not suitable in its present state for mothers and babies”. The Border Agency claimed it had instructed UPM to relocate the mother and baby as a matter of urgency. But they remain in the Doncaster flat, marooned 40 miles from anybody they know. This is the new world of asylum seeker housing controlled by G4S, the world’s biggest security company. In March G4S won a massive £30 million UK Border Agency contract to house asylum-seekers in the Midlands, the East of England, the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside. Using the “prime contractor model”, which G4S tells investors is “attractive”, the company granted subcontracts to UPM and the charity Migrant Help. UPM, or United Property Management (slogan “Serve like a charity. Perform like a business”), describes itself as “a market leading provider of accommodation and support services to people from all walks of life.” They’re based just up the road from Manchester’s Victoria Station. Beatrice Botomani, a worker at Bradford Refugee Action Forum who has coordinated protests and emergency help for the Bradford women and children, said: “We met UPM at the end of April and they gave a long list of pledges about not taking children out of Bradford and away from social and medical services and schools, and giving adequate notice on removals. Only a few days later they started evictions and removals with less than a week’s notice. Some of these women and children have been in Bradford for two years or more awaiting decisions on asylum claims. UPM has not told us where people are going and we cannot alert local support services to contact them – many of these people are already traumatised and have fled from terrible conditions in their home lands, UPM is adding to their stresses.”

March 30, 2012 Journal-Sentinel
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.'s plan to privatize courtroom bailiffs won't fly - at least not for now. Judge Dominic D'Amato ruled that Clarke could not place private security guards in courtrooms, a move the sheriff had already started by issuing a $1.4 million contract with G4S Secure Solutions. The firm, formerly known as Wackenhut, is an international company that provides personnel and technology services. D'Amato issued a temporary injunction halting the deployment of 25 part-time G4S guards, siding with the county Deputy Sheriffs' Association. Clarke argued that he had the power to hire the G4S guards as an emergency stopgap and wanted that to avoid paying full-time bailiffs overtime. Clarke issued the G4S contract on an emergency basis after his 2012 budget was cut and eliminated 48 deputy jobs. The budget also called for creating a new category of part-time hourly bailiffs, who would be county employees but not deputies. Until now, the county has used only full-time deputies for courtroom security. The deputies' union has resisted opening the door to part-time bailiffs or private security for the courtroom. Under current staffing, felony courts have two bailiffs each, while misdemeanor and civil courts have one. Roy Felber, president of the Deputy Sheriffs' Association, said Friday the ruling was "a big win for us. I'm very disgusted that we are trying to privatize law enforcement." Private security guards would be loyal to their company, not to the county, Felber said.

January 13, 2012 The Guardian
The chairman of the company tasked with protecting athletes and visitors at the London Olympics has paid the price for a failed deal to take over a cleaning company and fallen on his sword. Alf Duch-Pedersen, who has headed the world's largest security firm G4S for the past five years, said he was "sad" to be stepping down this year but accepted the time was right to find a successor. Chief executive, Nick Buckles, is still in a job but Duch-Pedersen is to go after shareholders rebelled against a rights issue for a planned £5.3bn takeover of Danish cleaning firm ISS. Investors would not support a £2bn money-raising exercise unveiled last October – which would have allowed a merger to create a group with more than 1.2 million staff worldwide – at a time of deep economic uncertainty. Many analysts argued at the time that G4S – the result of an earlier merger between Group 4 and Securicor – should concentrate on its core protection work where it had won a groundbreaking contract to deliver back office functions for Lincolnshire police – the first of its kind by a British Police Authority.

November 22, 2011 The Guardian
Serious injuries or other life-threatening warning signs have been detected on 285 occasions when children have been physically restrained in privately run jails over the past five years, according to Ministry of Justice figures. The figure reflects the number of "exception reports" submitted by the four privately run secure training centres to the youth justice board since 2006. The warning signs triggering an exception report include struggling to breathe, nausea, vomiting, limpness and abnormal redness to the face. Serious injuries are classified as those requiring hospitalisation and include serious cuts, fractures, concussion, loss of consciousness and damage to internal organs. The MoJ figures, which have been disclosed for the first time, show that there were 61 such exception reports made last year. There have been 29 so far in the first 10 months of this year. Their disclosure comes as a two-day High Court challenge is due to get underway over the MoJ's refusal to identify and trace hundreds of children who have been unlawfully restrained in the privately run child jails using techniques that have since been banned. Children's rights campaigners believe they should be entitled to compensation. The Children's Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has brought the case challenging the justice secretary, Ken Clarke's, refusal to contact former detainees dating back to 1998, when the first secure training centre opened. The legal challenge follows a second inquest earlier this year into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood, who was found hanging in his room at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, where he was on remand in 2006. It concluded there was a serious system failure which gave rise to an unlawful regime at the child jail. The use of several "distraction" restraint techniques, that involved inflicting pain with a severe blow to the nose or ribs, or by pulling back a child's thumb, were banned in 2008. The use of physical restraint techniques to control teenagers simply for the purposes of "good order and discipline" was also ruled unlawful by the court of appeal. Carolyne Willow, Crae's national co-ordinator, said their lawyers will argue there had been a chronic failure by the authorities to protect vulnerable children over many years. "It was not children's responsibility to know about, challenge and stop unlawful and abusive treatment," said Willow, adding there were potentially thousands of former detainees who should now be contacted. "Children in custody are among the most disadvantaged in society and they were held in closed institutions where unlawful restraint was routine and ordinary. It was the state, and the private contractors, who were duty-bound to protect the welfare and rights of vulnerable children." She said that government officials now had a duty to notify potential victims that their rights had been infringed. The abuses should no longer remain hidden and unchallenged. The security company, G4S, which operates three of the four child jails is also joining the case as an 'interested party'.

October 21, 2011 BBC
Birmingham Prison inmates were locked in their cells for almost a full day after a set of keys fitting every cell door went missing. Keys to the jail, which was taken over earlier this month by private security firm G4S, disappeared on Tuesday. The firm said all prisons had established contingency plans for incidents of this nature and there was no risk to public safety. The jail is the first in the UK to be transferred to the private sector. It is not known if the keys have since been found or what action is now being taken at the prison.

October 17, 2011 BBC
Shares in G4S, the world's largest security group, fell almost 20% after it announced a £5.2bn ($8.2bn) takeover of Denmark's ISS. G4S will pay ISS's private equity owners cash and shares, and will raise £2bn from existing shareholders to help fund the deal. ISS operations range from catering to cleaning, while G4S services include running prisons and army training. The takeover will double the size of G4S, giving it revenues of about £16bn. G4S said the deal would create an estimated £100m of annual savings for the combined business by 2014.

October 11, 2011 Canberra Times
The Commonwealth Government is suing its former immigration detention operators for failing to protect it against lawsuits lodged by people kept in detention facilities. The case will be heard in the South Australian Supreme Court on November 21. It is part of a long-running case launched by former asylum-seeker Abdul Amir Hamidi, who won a confidential settlement against the Federal Government after almost five years in detention. As The Canberra Times revealed on Saturday, Mr Hamidi's lawyers predict that the confidential settlement will spark dozens more claims for damages. In a case to be heard on November 21, the Commonwealth will claim its former detention centre operators - GSL and Australasian Correctional Services - breached their contracts by exposing the Government to the legal action. The Commonwealth will argue both companies agreed to indemnify it against damages based on their running of Australian detention centres. Australasian Correctional Services operated Australia's mainland immigration detention facilities until early 2004. Group 4 Falck Global Solutions Pty Ltd (which later changed its name to Global Solutions Limited, or GSL) commenced management of the centres in late 2003. Both companies will fight the claim, with ACS arguing it had insufficient time to respond to the allegations and the terms of its agreement included dispute resolution measures. GSL says it is not responsible for indemnifying the Commonwealth for any ''negligent, wilful, reckless or unlawful acts or omissions of the Commonwealth, its employees, officers or agents''. Between 2000 and March 2010, detainees in Australian immigration detention centres were paid more than $12.3million in compensation for personal injury or unlawful detention.

September 11, 2011 Scotland on Sunday
HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money is being spent holding asylum-seekers at Dungavel detention centre for months at a time. Scotland on Sunday has learned that almost £500,000 has been spent housing 13 long-term detainees, several of whom have been at the former prison in South Lanarkshire for more than a year. Asylum-seekers are supposed to stay at so-called pre-departure centres for no more than a week. But in a number of cases, delays in the deportation system mean the UK Border Agency is holding people for an unspecified period. For the duration of detention, the Home Office pays security firm G4S £110 a day for each asylum-seeker. At Dungavel, two men have been held for two years and four months, while others have been held for more than a year, at a cost to taxpayers of about £480,000. Detaining Christian Likenge, 27, a former law student from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who has been held for 28 months, has cost £100,000 to date. Likenge, a Christian preacher, is being held after the UK rejected his application for asylum but officials in his native country refused to give him the necessary identification to return home. "It's very difficult and frustrating being here this long," he said. "It's mental torture. I feel depressed. You miss your people, you miss your friends. You feel half-dead."

September 7, 2011 The Age
Specialist security guards at a mental health hospital that houses some of Victoria's most disturbed patients have been locked out over a pay push for an extra $2 an hour. The union representing the guards now fears there could be security breaches at the Thomas Embling Hospital, in Fairfield in Melbourne's north-east, which houses psychiatric patients from the prison system, some of them killers found not guilty on the grounds of mental impairment. The Health and Community Services Union said about 10 guards found themselves denied access to the hospital this morning and replaced by guards sent there by security contractor G4S. The hospital's guards have been campaigning for nine months to be paid the same as security officers who worked at public hospitals. They were about to put in place bans on working overtime and filling out paperwork, the union said. Union state secretary Lloyd Williams said the guards were paid about $18 an hour, despite requiring specialist qualifications in dealing with patients in a mental health hospital. The rate is about 10 per cent lower than they received by guards who patrol public hospitals. He said his members wanted pay parity with colleagues at public hospitals. Mr Williams doubted whether the replacement guards had the appropriate skills to work at the hospital, and lacked the detailed knowledge of patients and daily running of the centre. He warned of a risk to the safety of patients, hospital staff and even the public if security was breached. "That's our concern, that when - and not if - there is a security problem, these people who are there now will not be able to respond appropriately," he said. The hospital experienced one security breach yesterday, when a man considered by police to be dangerous failed to return after being sent out on day release. Dwayne Lee Spintal, 37, was apprehended peacefully by detectives in South Yarra this morning. Mr Williams said the standing down of the hospital's guards had been felt already, as one patient who was scheduled to be taken to another hospital for medical treatment had to have his treatment cancelled. "They clearly don't know how to run the facility because senior management are shadowing them as we speak, making sure that something doesn't go wrong," he said. "We know already because of the situation that a patient who needed to go out of the hospital for [medical] treatment had to have that treatment cancelled. "Clearly [G4S] are putting their profits ahead of patient treatment." G4S said in a statement it replaced the guards under provisions of the Fair Work Act.

August 29, 2011 UKPA
Two members of staff at a private security firm have been sacked after an electronic tag was put on an offender's false leg, the company said. Christopher Lowcock, 29, wrapped his prosthetic limb in a bandage and fooled G4S staff who failed to carry out the proper tests when they set up the tag and monitoring equipment at his Rochdale home. Lowcock could then simply remove his leg - and the tag - whenever he wanted to breach his court-imposed curfew for driving and drug offences, as well as possession of an offensive weapon. A second G4S officer who went to check the monitoring equipment also failed to carry out the proper test. Managers became suspicious last month, but when they returned to the address a third time Lowcock had already been arrested and was back in custody accused of driving while banned and without insurance. A G4S spokeswoman said: "G4S tags 70,000 subjects a year on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. Given the critical nature of this service we have very strict procedures in place which all of our staff must follow. "In this individual's case two employees failed to adhere to the correct procedures when installing the tag. Had they done so, they would have identified his prosthetic leg. Failure to follow procedure is a serious disciplinary offence, and the two employees responsible for the installation of the tag have now been dismissed." A Ministry of Justice spokesman added: "We expect the highest level of professionalism from all our contractors, and there are strict guidelines which must be followed when tagging offenders. "Procedures were clearly not followed in this case and G4S have taken action against the staff involved. Two thousand offenders are tagged every week and incidents like this are very rare."

July 8, 2011 POGO
Private security contractor ArmorGroup North America Inc. (AGNA) agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle whistleblower allegations that it violated procurement rules that put the security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan at risk. AGNA's parent company said the settlement was made solely "to avoid costly and disruptive litigation—and that there has been no finding or admission of liability." This is the same company whose employees are depicted in lewd pictures POGO made available in fall 2009—which demonstrated a serious breakdown in discipline among the security personnel defending the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian called it a 'Lord of the Flies' environment. Former AGNA director of operations James Gordon was the whistleblower who filed the lawsuit—he will receive $1.35 million from the $7.5 million AGNA has agreed to pay. According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, these are the whistleblower allegations that were resolved by the settlement: •"AGNA submitted false claims for payment on a State Department contract to provide armed guard services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan"; •"[I]n 2007 and 2008, AGNA guards violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) by visiting brothels in Kabul, and that AGNA’s management knew about the guards’ activities"; •"AGNA misrepresented the prior work experience of 38 third country national guards it had hired to guard the Embassy"; and •"AGNA failed to comply with certain Foreign Ownership, Control and Influence mitigation requirements on the embassy contract, and on a separate contract to provide guard services at a Naval Support Facility in Bahrain." Gordon’s lawsuit was filed in September 2009. Nearly a year and a half later, DOJ joined Gordon’s whistleblower lawsuit on April 29, 2011. Slightly more than two months later, AGNA settled. According to DOJ statistics, whistleblower lawsuits (or qui tam lawsuits) that allow insiders to sue on behalf of the federal government have a much higher success rate when the government intervenes and joins the whistleblower, known as a relator, in their lawsuit (or parts of their lawsuit). In 2009, Gordon stated that he filed his lawsuit “to hold ArmorGroup accountable for the blatant disregard of its obligations to ensure the safety and security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In an industry where good people are required to face extreme risk on a daily basis it is essential that those companies who disregard the rules be removed as they not only endanger their own staff but also endanger the mission, all in order to increase profit.” On September 14, 2009, POGO’s Executive Director Danielle Brian provided testimony on the breakdown of discipline among many of AGNA’s employees in Kabul before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shortly after the Commission hearing, Brian was contacted by Samuel Brinkley, Wackenhut Services, Inc. (WSI)’s Vice President of Homeland and International Security Services, who offered to work with POGO on behalf of WSI and AGNA to identify and remedy mistreatment of victims of this hazing, retaliation against some of the whistleblowers who had come to POGO, and other matters raised in POGO’s disclosures. WSI is AGNA’s parent company. During the intervening months, Brinkley and Brian had many discussions regarding the fair and appropriate treatment for POGO’s whistleblowers and others not involved in the wrongdoing. As a result, POGO was pleased that WSI/AGNA resolved the employment concerns of those five personnel at issue. WSI issued a statement yesterday as well in response to the DOJ press release announcing the settlement. WSI disputed the DOJ’s assertion that there was a violation of the False Claims Act, that it did not have an anti-trafficking policy in place, and that it violated rules regarding third country nationals, and foreign mitigation requirements. It also said “the sole individual confirmed to have frequented prostitutes was fired by AGNA in normal course when his conduct became known.” WSI noted that the period of AGNA’s alleged behavior predated WSI’s acquisition of AGNA. Regarding the violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Gordon’s allegations are more serious than they sound in the DOJ press release. Last year, the Washington Post/Center for Public Integrity wrote about Gordon’s case in the context of a perceived lack of U.S. enforcement regarding alleged sex trafficking by U.S. contractors and subcontractors: In Afghanistan, evidence of trafficking came to light when 90 Chinese women were freed after brothel raids in 2006 and 2007. The women told the International Organization on Migration that they had been taken to Afghanistan for sexual exploitation, according to a 2008 report. Nigina Mamadjonova, head of IOM's counter-human trafficking unit in Afghanistan, said the women alleged in interviews that their clients were mostly Western men. In late 2007, officials at ArmorGroup, which provides U.S. Embassy security in Kabul, learned that some employees frequented brothels that were disguised as Chinese restaurants and that the employees might be engaged in sex trafficking. A company whistleblower has alleged in an ongoing lawsuit that the firm withheld the information from the U.S. government. James Gordon, then an ArmorGroup supervisor, alleged that a manager "boasted openly about owning prostitutes in Kabul" and that a company trainee boasted that he hoped to make some "real money" in brothels and planned to buy a woman for $20,000. The settlement is a victory for accountability, but ultimately may be unsatisfying for critics of the government's less-than-robust oversight of contractors. Can we really expect other contractors to see this settlement as a wake-up call? The State Department fell asleep at the switch with AGNA and still has yet to prove that it's serious about contract oversight and enforcement of trafficking in persons regulations.

July 6, 2011 WA Today
The family of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, who died in custody, is calling for any court fines due to be issued today against those responsible for the death to be invested in a community Environmental Science Centre. Warburton man Mr Ward, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died from heat stroke in the back of a prison van, with no working cooling system, after being driven 360 kilometres from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in 42-degree heat in 2008. State Coroner Alastair Hope conducted an inquest into the death in 2009, concluding the department, private prison security firm G4S and the two drivers had contributed to Mr Ward's death. The state government and G4S have since pleaded guilty to failing to prevent the death of Mr Ward, after charges were sought by WorkSafe WA earlier this year. Both parties are due to be sentenced in the Kalgoorlie Magistrate's Court today and are expected to face heavy fines of up to $400,000 each. In anticipation of the decision, Ward family spokesperson Daisy Ward has written to Attorney-General Christian Porter asking for the fines to be reinvested in the development of a beneficial science centre in the remote community of Patjarr in the Gibson Desert rather than being put back into government revenue. Ms Ward wrote: "I believe that when the magistrate brings down his sentence, the penalty put on your government will come from consolidated revenue and then be paid back into consolidated revenue. "This is both hurtful and painful to us. This pain does not go away from us. Where is the penalty? ... Any penalty that the company, G4S, has to pay will also go back to your government. "... If the government is getting the money, could you think about giving us the penalty monies because then it really is a penalty." An environmental science centre would reflect the work carried out by Mr Ward to educate environmental science students about indigenous land management, according to his family. "We believe that this will give our families and communities some justice for what happened, and will act as a living legacy of his work," Ms Ward said. "If the fines imposed are paid to the government, this will not bring any justice for what happened to my cousin."

July 5, 2011 The Advertiser
A PRIVATE security firm responsible for prisoner transport has been fined $50,000. This comes after a review into the March escape from custody of Drew Claude Griffiths. The review found private security firm G4S had failed to secure a controlled entry point and van door on March 22 in the prisoner hold area of the Parole Board's Adelaide premises, allowing Griffiths to escape. He was recaptured on March 25 by STAR Group officers. Correctional Services Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the fine sent a strong message to G4S. "This is a message for G4S that any escape is unacceptable," Mr Koutsantonis said. "I am getting sick and tired of prisoners escaping secure custody."

May 20, 2011 Palm Beach Daily News
A limited liability company associated with Richard R. Wackenhut of the security-services fortune has paid a recorded $11.5 million for a landmarked oceanfront home at 930 S. Ocean Blvd. The Palm Beach County Clerk’s office on Friday recorded the warranty deed of sale for the house, which was built in 1929 by noted society architect Maurice Fatio for his own use. Broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates acted on behalf of the buyer, listed on the deed as 1111 Partners LLC, whose sole managing member is Richard Wackenhut, according to state records. He is the son of the late George Wackenhut, the Miami founder of the Wackenhut security-services company. Richard Wackenhut served as CEO and president of the company that went through ownership changes beginning in 2002. Today it is part of G4S Secure Solutions, which last year changed its name to drop a reference to Wackenhut. G4S Secure Solutions-North America is based in Jupiter. The house was not on the market at the time of the sale, said Moens, who arranged the deal privately. Moens said he had no comment about the buyer or details of the sale. The house was sold by Steve and Linda Horn Inc., an entity affiliated with Steve and Linda Horn of New York. The company had bought the house for $9.45 million in 2005. Linda Horn, who owns an antiques and decorative accessories shop in New York, said Friday she had no comment on the sale. Fatio and his wife, Eleanor Chase Fatio, lived in the house at the intersection of South Ocean Boulevard and Via Bellaria. Fatio designed the home in the Florentine Renaissance style with an exterior featuring coral key stone, one of his favorite building materials. The two-story, L-shaped home has a poolside covered loggia featuring an arched colonnade and a pecky-cypress ceiling. The house also has a 500-square-foot basement. Architectural features include French doors — with sidelights and fanlights — that open onto the pool area and side gardens. The Fatios lived in the house until 1930, when Fatio sold it to Franklin Simon, a New York City department store owner. County property records show that the limited liability company that purchased the house this week bought other property owned by Richard Wackenhut. He and a land trust paid $3.95 million for a home at 338 Eagle Drive in Jupiter’s Admirals Cove in 2001. Wackenhut took full ownership of the property a year later. Last November, Wackenhut, acting with his wife, Marie, transferred ownership of the Jupiter home to the same LLC that bought the South Ocean Boulevard house.

April 15, 2011 All Africa
The Mozambican judicial authorities on Thursday ordered the release of the 24 workers from the firm Group Four Securicor (G4S) who were jailed in Maputo awaiting trial on charges relating to demonstrations outside the G4S offices on 6 April. The decision was made by Judge Ana Felisberto Cunha of the Maputo Judicial Court, on presentation of declarations of identity and residence by the strikers. The release of the workers comes after the company withdrew the criminal complaints it had made against the group. According to G4S managing director, Pedro Baltazar, the decision to withdraw the charges was taken during a meeting of the Board of Directors held in Maputo on Monday as part of efforts to find a peaceful solution to the labour dispute at the company. The workers' lawyer, Salvador Nkamati, said that the 24 will have to wait for new developments, and must comply with certain obligations imposed by the law. "They will have to appear before the Court whenever requested, as well as other relevant authorities such as the police and prosecutors" he explained. Riot police used excessive force to disperse workers who were protesting outside the human resources department of the Maputo branch of G4S. A riot police unit was ordered to the scene after protestors broke windows and tore up fencing. According to the newspaper "O Pais", despite having been beaten and arrested, the security guards are still loyal to the company and are all set on returning to work. However, the General Secretary of the National Union of Private Security Workers (SINTESP), Julio Sitoe, argued that they should be entitled to compensation from the company for injuries sustained when members of the riot police violently attacked the demonstration.

February 16, 2011 The Street
After fiery closing arguments in the Smith v. Walmart trial, a jury found Wackenhut, but not Wal-Mart(WMT), liable for inadequate security in a store parking lot where a customer was murdered. The jury awarded over $1M in damages. Michael Born was murdered in a Wal-Mart parking lot while replacing his car's headlight. The plaintiffs claimed that Wal-Mart knew the store was located in a high-crime area, and that police were repeatedly called to the site. However, neither Wal-Mart nor its hired security service, Wackenhut, took adequate measures to protect Wal-Mart customers. Plaintiff attorney Mont Tanner reminded the jury that there had been more than a hundred similar incidents of serious crimes at the store, such as battery and robbery, most within the two years prior to the murder. However, said Tanner, there was no annual security assessment at this "crime magnet" by either Wal-Mart or Wackenhut, and the Wackenhut patrol officer was not trained to identify or deal with suspicious persons. Wal-Mart also allegedly failed to comply with its own security guidelines.

February 8, 2011 The Guardian
The Guardian has obtained a training video used by Securicor - now G4S - to instruct guards deporting asylum seekers on flights. The footage forms part of a dossier of evidence produced by G4S whistleblowers. The inaugural flight to Afghanistan should have been a showcase for a multinational company vying for the lucrative contract to deport foreign nationals on behalf of the British government. The plane heading to Kabul on 26 January 2004 had been chartered by a company that would go on to become part of the world's largest private security firm – G4S. Its cargo included refused asylum seekers in handcuffs. A number had their legs bound with tape and had been placed in the first-class cabin. But according to new evidence some of the guards on that flight, recruited to supervise the deportation, had not completed a full training course, and they included a number of inexperienced prison staff. Some had not even received Home Office accreditation. Shocking details about that flight and dozens more are contained in previously unseen evidence to parliament obtained by the Guardian. The documents reveal how G4S employees spent several years raising concerns about the potentially lethal methods being used on refused asylum seekers. The most disturbing technique involved bending deportees over in their seats and placing their head between their legs. The procedure became known within the company as "carpet karaoke" because it would force detainees, struggling for breath, to shout downwards toward the floor. Although an apparently successful method of keeping disruptive detainees quiet, it can lead to a form of suffocation known as positional asphyxia. Its alleged use is documented in written testimony by four G4S whistleblowers, submitted to the home affairs select committee in the aftermath of the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan who died on a British Airways flight from Heathrow in October last year. The cause of Mubenga's death remains unknown. Passengers on BA flight 77 reported seeing three guards heavily restraining the 46-year-old, who they said had been bent over and complained of breathing difficulties before his collapse. Police later arrested the guards in connection with the death and recently extended their bail until next month. Grievances -- All four whistleblowers have registered personal grievances against G4S, including some that have been settled out of court. Some are understood to have been themselves accused of inappropriate behaviour or later barred from conveying their concerns to the press. However, they now accuse G4S managers of presiding over a "macho" corporate culture that ostracised staff who showed compassion towards detainees or questioned the safety of their treatment. One of the whistleblowers, the company's serving charter operations manager, concedes that his detailed dossier to parliament is likely to result in his dismissal. The dossier records how he repeatedly wrote to his seniors expressing concerns, including one letter in which he stated that some G4S employees were playing "Russian roulette with detainees' lives".

December 26, 2010 The Guardian
A security company has recruited two former senior civil servants, sparking an outcry about the "revolving door" between Whitehall and the company. G4S, formerly Group 4 Securicor, hired Dr Peter Collecott, the one time director of corporate affairs at the Foreign Office, and David Gould, the Ministry of Defence's former chief operating officer in charge of defence equipment, according to a government report. The company, whose guards are under investigation over the death of deportee Jimmy Mubenga, supplies armed guards for embassy staff around the world. It has recruited former ministers including Lord Reid as well as senior figures in offender management. The disclosure comes two weeks after Sir George Young, the leader of the Commons, said he would examine the "revolving door" between Whitehall and defence companies. Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham, called for a closer examination of civil servants before they are allowed to take private sector roles that may overlap with their former public duties. "There is great excitement over politicians and outside interests but the real issue is the gilded path from Whitehall where billions of pounds worth of public spending decisions are made into employment with companies that gained from such contracts and contacts," he said. "We need new rules so that anyone in public service cannot go straight into employment with companies to which they previously awarded contracts." Harry Fletcher, the assistant general secretary of the probation union Napo, who has been critical of the way G4S has recruited senior civil servants from the Home Office, said: "Appointments such as these give G4S a commercial advantage over their rivals and will encourage others to go down the same route." The appointments are listed in the latest report from the Advisory Committee of Business Appointments, released earlier this month. Collecott, 60, was the ambassador in Brazil from 2004 to 2008. He was a member of the Foreign Office's senior leadership forum that brought together the most senior heads of mission overseas. G4S said he has worked for their company on two separate domestic projects – once in 2009 and again this year, a contract which ended in September. The company has declined to explain the nature of the project. Gould, the MoD's former chief operating officer of defence equipment and support – which put him in charge of billions of pounds worth of procurement contracts – took up a consultant post with G4S last year. He left the MoD in 2008, and has also had roles at Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems Ltd. A spokesman for G4S said he worked on a specific project with G4S in 2009. Last month, G4S prompted an outcry by hiring Philip Wheatley, the former director general of the National Offender Management Service. Wheatley's G4S role, which he takes up just as Ken Clarke launches a plan to privatise much of the probation service he managed until June, has been criticised by probation unions. Wheatley's appointment is part of a pattern of G4S lobbying over probation privatisation. The company paid for a meeting at the last Conservative conference, where G4S "offender management" executive Jerry Petherick, spoke alongside the prisons minister, Crispin Blunt.

October 29, 2010 Financial Times
G4S, the security group, is to be replaced on a £30m-a-year ($48m) contract to deport detainees from the UK, the Home Office said. The loss comes after three security guards employed by G4S were arrested over the death of an Angolan man last week. However, the UK Border Agency said its decision to award a new four-year “escort services” contract to Reliance Security rather than G4S, which had done the job for the past five years, had no connection with the incident. Jimmy Mubenga, a 46-year-old deportee, died after he collapsed onboard a British Airways flight that was preparing to depart to his homeland from London’s Heathrow airport. The Home Office declined to disclose the sums involved in the G4S or Reliance contracts, citing commercial confidentiality. However, G4S said that it would take a hit of £30m in revenues and £2m in profits next year – a fraction of the company’s £7.4bn forecast sales and £393.7m pre-tax profits in the year to the end of December. Shares in G4S fell 4.8p at 261.7p. G4S said it was disappointed at the decision to hand the contract to its privately owned rival.

October 28, 2010 The Sentinel
A SECURITY guard who stole £20,000 worth of takings he collected from supermarkets has avoided an immediate jail sentence. Group 4 van driver Stuart Grey would park up after collecting cash from Morrisons, Asda or Somerfield and remove a bundle containing £1,000, Stafford Crown Court heard yesterday. He was caught when Morrisons launched an internal investigation over missing money and laid a trap with marked notes from its store in Stone. Pat Sullivan, prosecuting, said a collection from Stone in April was £1,000 short when it reached the company's headquarters. Police carried out a search of the defendant's Stoke-on-Trent home and found £460 of the company's money hidden in a washing machine and a mug, plus a bank deposit slip for £260. Grey explained how he had been stealing cash. He said he drove away from the store, pulled over a short distance away, opened up sealed plastic bags and took one bundle of notes containing £1,000. Grey had done it a total of 20 times over a period of 14 months from January last year. How he got away with it for so long was yet to be explained.

October 15, 2010 Bloomberg
Computer Sciences Corp., an information-technology company that relies on government business for almost 40 percent of its revenue, won $4 billion in U.S. contracts in fiscal 2009 after failing to pay more than 250 employees the wages and benefits they were owed. Computer Sciences, based in the Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia, topped a list of 15 companies that received more than $6 billion in federal contracts despite records of wage, health or safety violations, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. chicken processor; Corrections Corp. of America, the nation’s biggest private operator of prisons; and Wackenhut Services Inc., owned by U.K.- based security contractor G4S Plc, are also among the contractors identified. The names of the companies, not revealed in the public report released Oct. 1, were provided by Representative Robert Andrews, a New Jersey Democrat who criticized the awarding of contracts to companies that didn’t meet required standards. “If a company has a pattern of violations, at the very least, it should raise greater scrutiny before they get government contracts,” Andrews, chairman of the panel that requested the investigation, said in a telephone interview. “There doesn’t seem to be much incentive to follow the laws because you can still get a contract anyway.” The report by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, covered a sample of contracts in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2009. ‘Work to Do’ -- Computer Sciences, which was awarded the $4 billion from the Defense Department and NASA, was assessed $1.6 million in back pay by the Labor Department covering a five-year period. Tyson, with more than $500 million in Defense, Agriculture and Justice department contracts, was cited for more than 100 health and safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the GAO said. Wackenhut, which received $200 million in security contracts with the Defense, Agriculture and Homeland Security departments and NASA, violated fair-labor laws, according to Labor Department data cited by the GAO. “Some companies that continue to receive lucrative government contracts not only pay rock-bottom wages, but have long histories of labor and workplace safety violations,” Representative Patrick Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat who joined in requesting the GAO report, said in an e-mailed statement. “We have a lot of work to do to ensure that the federal contracting process encourages safe and good-paying jobs.” Workers Misclassified -- In addition to the pay violations, Computer Sciences didn’t provide protections against cave-ins for employees working in a trench more than 10 feet (3 meters) deep, according to a 2006 inspection by the occupational safety agency cited by the GAO. Chris Grandis, a company spokesman, said Computer Sciences paid the back wages to employees assigned to a U.S. immigration office in Vermont in 2009, after the Labor Department found they had been misclassified as contract workers entitled to less compensation. The company also received a minor citation from the occupational safety agency and agreed to pay a small fine, he said. Computer Sciences, a government contractor since 1961, received 37 percent of its $16.1 billion in revenue from federal contracts in the fiscal year ended April 2, according to a regulatory filing. Army, Immigration -- It ranked 12th in U.S. government contracts in fiscal 2009, the year studied by the GAO, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its biggest federal contract that year was with the U.S. Army to provide engineering and logistics support for the Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command. Computer Sciences also has a contract with the Homeland Security Department for a processing system used in applications for immigration benefits and services. The company said on Oct. 4 that it was one of four firms that will share in a $2.8 billion contract by the Social Security Administration for consulting and information technology services. Tyson has received more than 100 U.S. health and safety citations, including for an incident in which a worker died after being asphyxiated in a pit of wastewater debris, according to the GAO report. Last year, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson won $500 million in federal contracts, the GAO’s report showed. Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman, said the company seeks to comply with federal regulations and the report doesn’t give “the full context of the issues involved, nor does it report the measures our company takes to operate responsibly.” Corrections Corp. -- Corrections Corp., based in Nashville, Tennessee, was cited for five safety violations since 2005 and for failing to follow labor laws when firing an employee for union participation, according to the GAO. Last year, it was awarded $800 million in contracts, the agency said. Steve Owen, a Corrections Corp. spokesman, said the U.S. contracts are subject to oversight and accountability. He declined to comment on safety and labor violations cited in the GAO report. Wackenhut, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, received $200 million in contracts, the GAO said. From 2005 through 2009, the Labor Department said the company owed $4.4 million in back wages to more than 2,100 employees, and OSHA cited the company for seven cases of health and safety violations, resulting in $9,000 in fines. The company agreed this year to pay $290,000 in back pay and interest to 446 rejected black job applicants. Susan Pitcher, a Wackenhut spokeswoman, said the company had no response to the report. Violations by other federal contractors included hiring undocumented workers, failing to meet environmental standards and fraudulently billing Medicare or Medicaid, according to the report.

August 27, 2010 Yahoo
Judge James Cacheris of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has denied Defendants ArmorGroup North America ("AGNA"), ArmorGroup International, Wackenhut Services, Inc., and Cornelius Medley's motions to dismiss whistleblower James Gordon's lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act. On September 9, 2009, Mr. Gordon, former Director of Operations of AGNA, filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit under the False Claims Act in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, charging that ArmorGroup management retaliated against him for whistleblowing, internally and to the United States Department of State ("DoS"), about illegalities committed by ArmorGroup in the performance of AGNA's contracts with the United States to provide security services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and at the U.S. Naval base in Bahrain. The Complaint charges that during Mr. Gordon's seven-month tenure as Director of Operations, he investigated, attempted to stop, and reported to DoS a myriad of serious violations committed by ArmorGroup, including: •Severely understaffing the guard force necessary to protect the U.S. Embassy; •Allowing AGNA managers and employees to frequent brothels notorious for housing trafficked women in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act; •Endangering the safety of the guard force during transport to and from the Embassy by attempting to substitute company-owned subpar, refurbished vehicles from Iraq rather than purchasing armored escort vehicles as promised to DoS; •Knowingly using funds to procure cheap counterfeit goods from a company in Lebanon owned by the wife of AGNA's Logistics Manager; and •Engaging in practices to maximize profit from the contract with reckless disregard for the safety and security of the guard force, the U.S. Embassy, and its personnel. In his Memorandum Opinion (August 27, 2010), Judge Cacheris noted that "Plaintiff alleges and Defendants offer no facts to dispute that Defendants ... began to try to constructively discharge [Mr. Gordon] by 'making [his] working conditions intolerable.'" Judge Cacheris further noted that "Plaintiff alleges, and Defendants have not offered any evidence refuting the fact, that [Defendant] Medley excluded Plaintiff from management meetings, shunned him, and relegated him to a position of persona non grata in the office" and that "Medley made clear to Plaintiff by his behavior, and to other staff members by his direct boasts, that his priority was to force Gordon to quit." In denying Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, Judge Cacheris concluded that "there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding the continued nature and duration of the allegedly illegal acts Plaintiff was requested and required to participate in." The parties will now proceed into the discovery phase of the litigation. According to Debra S. Katz, counsel for Mr. Gordon, "this is an important victory for conscientious employees, like Mr. Gordon, who blow the whistle on fraudulent practices by defense contractors and wind up then paying the ultimate price. The court's decision today makes clear that such employees can bring federal claims under the False Claims Act to obtain redress."

July 29, 2010 WA Today
The family of an Aboriginal elder who roasted to death in searing heat in the back of a prison van will receive a $3.2 million compensation payment from the WA government, one of the largest such payouts in Australian history. It is an ex-gratia settlement by the government to the family of Mr Ward, whose full name cannot be used for cultural reasons, and includes a $200,000 interim payment already awarded. Attorney-General Christian Porter today revealed $1.4 million of the money would go to Mr Ward's widow, Nancy Donegan, with amounts of $400,000 to be placed in trust accounts for each of her four children. Mr Ward, 46, of Warburton, died in January 2008 while being transported 360 kilometres from Laverton to Kalgoorlie to face a drink-driving charge. Temperatures in the van, operated by private security company G4S, reached more than 50 degrees after it was revealed the air-conditioning in the van was broken. The compensation - which Mr Porter said was one of the largest ex-gratia payments by a government in Australian history, as well as that of common law countries - came after negotiations with the family's lawyers, the Aboriginal Legal Service, and on receipt of legal advice detailing what action could be brought against the state, and what that case might look like. It represented an "unequivocal apology" by the government. "It's meant to show contrition... deep, deep, remorse for what has occurred," Mr Porter said. It also took into account the fact that no criminal charges would be laid. While it did not come with an admission of liability, Ms Donegan could still take legal action if she chose. An "initial view" was that legal action would be likely, Mr Porter said. "I don't know if that position will change by virtue of this payment," he said. "If this does not bring finality to the family, (if civil action was to be launched), we don't want to stand in the way of Ms Donegan embarking on that action." ALS chief executive Dennis Eggington said that his organisation would consult with Mr Ward's family about possible civil proceedings against both the government and G4S. The ALS also requested further information to determine whether it would apply to have a coronial inquest into the death reopened. He described the culpability of G4S as "astronomical" and called on the company to apologise. "That's the least G4S can do," he said. "They have been very quiet in all of this. We've been very disappointed." ALS director of legal services Peter Collins said the role of G4S in Mr Ward's death was "absolutely diabolical". "It was their van, their employees driving the van, at a bare minimum (G4S) should be offering compensation to the family," he said.

July 28, 2010 Scoop
A private prison company that is bidding to run Mt Eden remand prison is under scrutiny in Australia for failing to make recommended changes after a high profile death in custody, said the Green Party today. An Australian parliamentary inquiry this week has heard that G4S has not implemented all the recommendations of an inquiry into the death of an Aboriginal elder in 2008. In particular, G4S has not been providing training to its workers in remote areas, according to Ian Johnston, the Australian Department of Corrective Services Commissioner. Green Party Corrections spokesperson David Clendon said “All of the prison corporations bidding to run Mt Eden remand prison have skeletons in their closets. It’s time for John Key’s Government to review whether any of these companies are suitable to operate in New Zealand,” said. “It is not good enough for the Minister to hide behind the tender process. She needs to let the public know what the minimum standards are for prison corporations who want to operate in New Zealand.” There had been two damning reports of G4S UK operations in the last month and now their Australian operations were coming under scrutiny, added Mr Clendon. “New Zealand’s public prisons are a long way from perfect but the evidence shows that privatisation is no magic bullet. It will not make our prisons safer, better or cheaper. “The community and public sector have lots of good innovative ideas about how the prison system can be improved. The Government should listen to them rather than flogging off prison management to corporations. “Private prisons have to make a profit, which means either cut backs on staff levels and rehabilitation, or charging more per prisoner. The perverse incentive to make a profit out of prisoners is at the heart of the problem,” said Mr Clendon.

July 2, 2010 APP
Protesters over an Aboriginal elder's death from heat stroke in a prison van have accused the West Australian Director of Public Prosecutions of racism for not laying charges. More than 100 people rallied outside DPP Joe McGrath's office in downtown Perth office on Friday chanting "Racist Police" and "Racist DPP". Mr McGrath announced on Monday that no charges would be laid against two security guards over the 46-year-old elder's death because there was insufficient evidence of criminal negligence.

June 27, 2010 The Western Australian
The State's top prosecutor has told the family of an Aboriginal elder who died of heatstroke in the back of a prison van that criminal charges will not be laid over his shocking treatment. The West Australian understands that DPP Joe McGrath flew to the remote community of Warburton over the weekend where he broke the news to relatives of Mr Ward. The decision is expected to get an angry reaction from family members who have long called for charges to be laid over the matter. The West Australian was unable to contact Mr Ward's relatives today. A spokeswoman for the DPP declined to comment. The latest development comes a year after State Coroner Alastair Hope handed down a damning report on the disgraceful treatment of Mr Ward, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons. Mr Hope found two transport guards, Nina Stokes and Graham Powell, the Department of Corrective Services and private prison transport company G4S had contributed to Mr Ward's death. Mr Ward died after being driven 360km in a prison van from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in 42C without air-conditioning in January 2008. Mr Ward's cousin told The West Australian earlier this month that that the matter had dragged on too long and the family wanted both drivers charged as soon as possible over the death. Daisy Ward said at the time that family members were getting frustrated about the lack of action and wanted justice. "I still want them to lay a charge," she said last month. "If it was an Aboriginal person that did that, they would get thrown behind bars. My cousin was like in a furnace…like he was cooked alive in the back of the van." Deaths in Custody Watch Committee Marc Newhouse said this afternoon that he was shocked and dismayed to learn that the DPP would not press charges against the two guards who transported Mr Ward. He said the information on how the DPP reached the decision needed to be released publicly. "There has basically been a lack of transparency in this whole process," he said. "It just highlights that there are some serious flaws in our justice system that when something of this nature happens and no-one is brought to account for negligence." Mr Newhouse said Mr Ward's family and community of Warburton would be devastated by the decision. "It is a complete kick in the guts," he said. "It is going to do nothing for Aboriginal people's confidence in the criminal justice system and particularly where Aboriginal people are the victims." "The community has been very, very patient, including the family, and that patience has just ended." Mr Newhouse said the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee would seek legal advice to determine whether charges could be brought against the Department of Corrective Services or private prisoner transport company, G4S. Mr Hope referred his report to the DPP under a section of the legislation which allows his findings to be sent to prosecutors on the basis that he believed indictable offences may have been committed. But in his written findings, Mr Hope recognised that legal issues relating to the involvement of various individuals and organisations were "complicated". "I do not wish to create unrealistic expectations on the part of the family or in the hope that they will see 'justice' as a result of such a report (to the DPP) being made," Mr Hope said.

April 7, 2010 Info 4 Security
G4S Wackenhut is changing its name to G4S, in turn reflecting the company’s vision of providing comprehensive security solutions. Brian Sims reports. By building on Wackenhut’s proven success in the States as "the premier supplier of manned security services" G4S has aggressively positioned itself to deliver a new category of integrated security solution that combines manpower and technology. Through a series of acquisitions that includes the Nuclear Security Services Corp, Touchcom Inc, Adesta and AMAG Technology, G4S will continue to evolve its core competencies from its Wackenhut roots to deliver integrated security solutions for greater performance and efficiency. “Our transformation from G4S Wackenhut to G4S is not something that happened overnight,” explained Drew Levine, president of G4S Secure Solutions. “Since before Wackenhut became part of the G4S family of companies, we’ve been developing new and more efficient means of supplementing our security officers with powerful technologies such as our Secure Trax Management Software platform." Levine added: "Now, with the global resources of G4S behind us, we can deliver a wider range of services – including security consulting, design and engineering; compliance and risk management; facilities management and remote video monitoring. That being the case, we can offer truly integrated security solutions, unlike any other company in the industry.”

February 16, 2010 Grand Rapids News
Less than a month after a federal judge rejected James and Glenna Chandler's bid to punish the security company that employed five men convicted of killing their daughter in Holland in 1979, the couple has filed an appeal, pushing their case forward. Janet Chandler's father filed the appeal Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District in Cincinnati, records show. The Chandlers have claimed Wackenhut Corp. -- which employed five of the six people convicted of Janet Chandler's slaying -- did not conduct sufficient employee background checks, or properly supervise their workers. They also contended Wackenhut helped hide the employees' involvement in the murder, which took nearly three decades to solve. The family was seeking cash damages for the mental pain and suffering inflicted by the death of Janet, a 22-year-old Hope College student. On Jan. 19, U.S. District Judge Janet Neff dismissed the Chandlers' claims against the Florida security firm, which hired guards during a strike at a Holland area plant. Neff said the allegations were filed after a three-year statute of limitations.

February 16, 2010 Miami-Herald
Heading to an end: the long-running dispute between Miami-Dade County, Wackenhut Corp. and a whistleblower named Michelle Trimble over millions in alleged overbillings for phantom workers at Metrorail. On Thursday county commissioners are scheduled to vote on a proposed settlement in which all parties would drop their competing lawsuits, Wackenhut would pay $7.5 million, and Miami-Dade would end its bid to keep the private security firm from doing business with the county. It would promise not to use the facts of this case against Wackenhut on current or future contracts. Out of the $7.5 million Wackenhut has agreed pay, $3 million would go to the county, $1.25 million to Trimble and $3.25 million to her attorneys, led by plaintiffs lawyer Mark Vieth and the Miami firm Josephs Jack. The proposed settlement comes nearly a year after a final audit by Miami-Dade County concluded that taxpayers were overbilled by Wackenhut -- which provided security at the county's Metrorail stops for two decades -- by $3.3 million to $5.8 million. In the proposed settlement, the county also agreed to clarify its final audit by Miami-Dade's chief auditor Cathy Jackson, saying her comments ``should not be construed to mean that the principals or management of Wackenhut engaged in fraud.'' In a memo to commissioners, County Manager George Burgess defended the proposed settlement, writing that the deal avoids the risks associated with trial and required ``all parties to make some compromises.'' Drew Levine, Wackenhut's president, declined to comment. Trimble could not be reached for comment. Vieth, who has been leading the civil case against Wackenhut since August 2005, did not return calls. Michael Josephs of the Josephs Jack firm declined to comment. If approved, the settlement will end a dispute that's been part of a broader history of waste and mismanagement underscoring the county's stewardship of the transit system. In this case, the county has been criticized for responding slowly to allegations that taxpayers were paying for guards who did not show up at Metrorail stops. In August 2005 the whistleblower lawsuit against Wackenhut was filed alleging phony billing practices; the suit is called a Qui Tam action, in which a private citizen sues on behalf of the government. Trimble worked as a guard at the county's Juvenile Services Department, where Wackenhut also previously provided security services. The county balked at participating in the case, instead ordering its own audit that was not finished until 2008. The inquiry found that Wackenhut billed the county for service not rendered. It wasn't until a year later, in April 2009, that a final audit was issued -- again concluding taxpayers were bilked. County manager Burgess had said he would replace Wackenhut once its contract expired in November and pledged to bar the firm from doing business with the county in the future. Burgess also said the county would cooperate with the Qui Tam lawsuit. At the time, plaintiff attorney Vieth said the ``evidence of overbilling has been overwhelming and existing for four years.'' For its part, Wackenhut denied wrongdoing and subsequently filed a $20 million suit against the county, saying the future damages it will suffer ``as result of this unfair and malicious taint'' on the firm's reputation ``are incalculable.'' Last month -- on the eve of trial in the whistleblower case -- the proposed settlement was reached, according to Burgess' memo.

February 11, 2010 KATU News
In a Seattle bus tunnel a 15-year-old girl was viciously attacked while security guards did nothing but call 9-1-1. The incident, in addition to sparking outrage, has many asking whether security guards in Portland are allowed to step in. Disbelief and disgust was the reaction by people who were shown surveillance footage of a girl being repeatedly kicked in the head by another girl while private security guards stood by at arm’s length and did nothing but call 9-1-1. “I know the transit isn’t exactly the same over there (Seattle), but I know it’s still good and that’s, that’s horrible,” said one man after watching the video at a MAX station. “Somebody’s getting hurt, I mean you don’t want them to get hurt, I don’t know, like, do something,” said another man at a MAX station. TriMet and its private security contractor Wackenhut, said if one of their guard’s is near a fight, they won’t just stand back and dial 9-1-1. Wackenhut project manager, Maj. Ellis Bremer, said there’s no question employees can and will get directly involved to stop fights. “We will not stand by,” he said. “We are here to protect the employees and assist the employees of TriMet and in so far as the ridership goes, of course, protect the ridership and inform the ridership.” The state only requires eight hours of classroom work to get a license to be a private security guard, but Wackenhut said it requires its people to go through an initial minimum of 80 hours and then a 16-hour refresher course every year. Most riders said they believe security should mean more than just dialing 9-1-1. Transit officers in Seattle say they are reconsidering the limits put on their private security guards.

December 8, 2009 Reuters
The State Department will not renew the contract of a security company embroiled in a scandal involving the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, where guards were accused of drunken conduct and sexual hazing. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday Virginia-based ArmorGroup would not have its contract renewed when it expires in June, although it will receive a six-month extension to allow the contract to be put up for new bids. Toner said officials had reviewed the contract and "concurred that the next option year should not be exercised and that work begin immediately to compete a new contract." He said the review included both recent misconduct allegations against ArmorGroup personnel and the company's "history of contract compliance deficiencies." This week a report by the non-partisan Government Accounting Office identified a number of shortcomings in the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security including staffing shortage and increased reliance on contractors in high-risk posts. The Kabul embassy scandal broke in September, when a watchdog group accused ArmorGroup of jeopardizing security at the embassy by understaffing the facility and ignoring lewd, drunken conduct and sexual hazing by some guards -- and provided graphic photos as evidence. ArmorGroup North America, now owned by Florida-based Wackenhut Services, was also hit by a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that said it had ignored brothel visits by guards and other misconduct because of what a lawyer said was a "myopic preoccupation with profit" in its five-year, $187 million contract with the State Department. State Department officials said the safety of embassy staff was never in jeopardy. But they subsequently said 12 embassy guards had been removed or resigned, ArmorGroup's entire senior Kabul management replaced and alcohol banned at the group's camp. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered a thorough review of how contractors are used. The GAO report noted that worldwide, the U.S. diplomatic security budget had grown to $1.8 billion in 2008 from just $200 million in 1998, when truck bomb attacks on U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed more than 300 people including 12 Americans. The bureau's workforce has also doubled over the same period but is failing to keep pace with rising security threats including those faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, it said. "Staffing shortages in domestic offices and other operational challenges -- such as inadequate facilities, language deficiencies, experience gaps, and balancing security needs with State's diplomatic mission -- further tax its ability to implement all of its missions," the report said. The report urged the State Department to develop a strategic plan to directly address the rising demands of diplomatic security including increased staffing.

November 24, 2009 The Guardian
The brutal truth of child detention 2,000 asylum seekers' kids a year are locked up, and the only beneficiaries seem to be firms running centres like Yarl's Wood A report by the novelist Clare Sambrook of End Child Detention Now, which campaigns against the detention of 2,000 asylum seekers' children every year, asks the very reasonable question: who does this expensive incarceration benefit? Clearly not the children who, according to every study ever written on this issue, suffer acutely from being taken from their homes on the orders of the UK Border Agency and placed in a confined space for an indeterminate period. Many argue that society benefits because it is protected from the asylum seekers and their families. Sambrook wonders how that can be when there is no evidence that asylum seekers are likely to abscond. So who benefits? Clearly the private companies that run so much of this operation have a lot to gain. G4S, the company that operates Tinlsey House, one of three detention centres where last month 10-year-old Adeoti Ogunsola tried to strangle herself after being forcibly redetained, recently reported rising profits and growth in government business which had offset weakness in commercial sectors. As Sambrook reports: "Last year G4S handed chief executive Nick Buckles a £1.4m pay package. That's £3,835 every day. He owns £4m in G4S shares, tipped by the Daily Telegraph recently as, 'a solid buy for these uncertain times'." Someone else who may reasonably be said to benefit from this policy is Christopher Hyman, the chief executive of Serco, who also earns in the region of £3,000 a day. His company runs the notorious Yarl's Wood detention centre where children have been detained far beyond the 28-day with charge maximum allowed for terror suspects. "Traumatised child inmates, who must carry ID cards at all times, refer to Yarl's Wood as 'prison' and 'the camp'," says Sambrook. Among the indirect beneficiaries she also identifies John Reid, the former home secretary, who is paid £50,000 a year as a consultant to G4S for, among other things, hosting government and security industry breakfasts. Meanwhile children are suffering. The Lorek report in the peer review journal Child Abuse and Neglect says detained children experience "increased fear due to being suddenly placed in a facility resembling a prison … the abrupt loss of home, school friends and all that was familiar to them". Some exhibit "sexualised behaviour". Older children are so stressed they wet their bed and soil their pants. Who benefits from this expensive and harsh policy? Sambrook answers her own questions with this – " some extremely wealthy grownups".

November 23, 2009 Wall Street Journal
G4S PLC (GFS.LN), an international security solutions group, said Monday it Monday it has bought Champions of the West, Inc--trading as All Star International from the Junge Revocable Trust and John P. Junge individually, by its U.S. Government Services business, Wackenhut Services, Inc. for $59.9 million in cash, on an enterprise value basis.

November 6, 2009 West Australia Today
The ongoing contract with a private prison transport company responsible for the death of an Aboriginal elder in January last year has sparked legal retaliation. The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee has told radio 6PR that it was seeking independent legal advice to appeal the decision to keep the $25million a year contract between the State Government and contractor G4S. The State Coroner found that the company was responsible for the death of 46-year-old Mr Ward, who had been arrested for drink driving and was being transported 350kms to a Kalgoorlie Court when he suffered heat stroke from the 50C heat inside the unairconditioned truck. "It is outrageous and unimaginable that they [G4S] could continue their contract. They have been responsible for six deaths in Australia in less than nine years," committee spokesman Mark Newhouse said. He said the company, under its current terms, could still be responsible for two more deaths in custody and not have its contract terminated before it expired in 2011. "What is even more concerning is that in one incident, if there are four to five deaths, that is not considered a breach of contract, which is outrageous," he said. The group is also planning on mounting a public campaign to improve proper approvals for public contracts and improving the monitoring of those being transported while in custody. Mr Newhouse said there had been no evidence from the company that any improvements had been made. G4S have refused to comment on the grounds that it was a confidential contract. The Attorney General Christian Porter was also unavailable for comment.

October 11, 2009 Weekly Standard
There seems no end to contractor abuse scandals in countries fighting terrorism or undergoing "nation-building." The latest to be reported in the media involves ArmorGroup North America, a private security firm guarding the American embassies in Iraq and Afghanistan. It began in Baghdad on August 9, when an ArmorGroup employee shot two of his colleagues dead. The victims were Darren Hoare, 37, an Australian, and Paul McGuigan, 37, a Briton and ArmorGroup executive. The alleged killer, Daniel Fitzsimons, 33, is also British. ArmorGroup North America is owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc., a Florida-based company, which is a division, in turn, of a Danish enterprise, G4S, that advertises itself as the world's largest security company. The shootings reportedly occurred late at night, inside the ArmorGroup compound in Baghdad's international area known as the Green Zone. Fitzsimons, according to a Baghdad source who declined to be named, is said to have shot his coworkers because they claimed he was homosexual. After killing them, he shot an Iraqi, Arkhan Mahdi, in the leg, then was arrested by Iraqi police (who now patrol the Green Zone). Fitzsimons faces a possible death sentence. He will be the first foreigner employed in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 intervention to be held to account under Iraqi law. Fitzsimons says he cannot remember the incident. According to the London Sunday Times, Fitzsimons was seen on an earlier occasion injecting Valium and morphine into his leg while already drunk. Another trail of misconduct has led to an uproar in Kabul, where 16 U.S. embassy guards provided by ArmorGroup were fired in early September for alleged drunkenness and for forcing those under their control to engage in deviant and humiliating behavior. U.S. press coverage of the Fitzsimons case has been minimal, and even the contractors' misbehavior in Kabul, although documented by video, has mostly been handled with discretion by the print media. The New York Times mentioned "lurid details" and "lewd conduct" at weekly parties hosted by embassy guards. The Kabul carousing was disclosed when the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released a report on September 1. More information emerged in a suit filed September 9 by James Gordon, a New Zealander and former operations director of ArmorGroup North America. Gordon says he is a "whistle-blower," forced out of his job after warning company executives and the U.S. Department of State about the situation at the embassy. According to the New York Times, the POGO report stated that victims of "deviant hazing" included Afghans, whose conservative Muslim culture left them especially repelled by such behavior; those who refused to submit were dismissed from their jobs. The report described a "
'Lord of the Flies' environment." Fitzsimons, the accused Baghdad shooter, has been treated in the British media as a case of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his prior military service in Iraq and the Balkans. But it would be a mistake to blame such dissolution on the stress of war alone. The Green Zone syndrome of alienation from the local population, as chronicled by critics of the Iraq war, is a ubiquitous feature of life among foreign administrators in conflict and post-conflict areas across the globe. Sex trafficking and corruption of locals have become prominent wherever operations are conducted by transnational bureaucracies like the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) along with the attendant ranks of nongovernmental organizations and private contractors. I have observed similar patterns in the Balkans for a decade.

September 30, 2009 ABC
The West Australian Government has officially responded to the coroner's findings in the case of Mr Ward, who died of heatstroke in a prisoner transport vehicle. The coroner said the Aboriginal elder's death in searing desert heat was a disgrace, as the van was "not fit for humans". But the Government has decided not terminate the contract of the private company which transported Mr Ward. The Government says it supports all of the coroner's recommendations - some of which have already been acted on. But the full response has come three months after the coroner handed down his findings, and 20 months since the tragedy occurred. The Government agrees there should be more training and monitoring of staff, and there should not be transportation of prisoners over long distances. But the Attorney-General Christian Porter says the contract with private operators G4S is likely to continue. Mr Porter has suggested the company may have to pay a penalty. "The penalties that you've spoken of, for a death for instance, I understand are $100,000 which seems to me to be ridiculous in the scope of what occurred here," he said. "But again, the question about termination is very unfortunately a question about the legality of being able to terminate under the terms of the present contract." The coroner called for the prisoner transport fleet to be completely replaced. This will not happen until the end of next year. Mr Porter says responsibility for transporting prisoners could be brought back to the public sector. "The final decision as to whether or not this service will be public or private has not yet been made but I can say that if a determination is made to keep this service in the private sector, the contract that governs the process will be a completely different type of contract to the one that presently exists," he said. The Deaths In Custody Watch Committee says Group 4 and GSL staff have contributed to the deaths of six people in Australia. The committee's Marc Newhouse says the contract should have been terminated. "We're completely outraged that the contract with G4S - he hasn't announced the termination of it, it has to be terminated," he said. "They've been subject to critical reports by the Australian Human Rights Commission. This company is not fit to operate in this country and they should be terminated." Noongar elder Ben Taylor says he believes racism in the system is causing Aboriginal people to suffer. "There's a lotta racism there and the only ones who're gonna suffer are my people, Aboriginal people," he said. "This is got to go wider, and I'm on the Watch Committee with Marc and we're going to keep hanging on here because there's more lives that are going to be taken, and that's going to be blackfellas, Aboriginal people, my people, and that's the full stop." Mr Newhouse says the committee had also called for a speedier response in the wake of a death in custody. "That the Coroner's Act is amended in line with the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommendations, that a system of mandatory reporting be put in place so that government and other relevant bodies have to report within a certain time frame," he said. "The point of it is to save lives and to prevent lives being lost." But Mr Porter says the Labor state government should have ended the contract with the company. But the Opposition Leader Eric Ripper says there were other considerations. "You can't just terminate a contract without there being financial consequences for taxpayers and the government does have a responsibility to both protect prisoners and the interests of taxpayers," he said. "That's why this matter needs careful examination rather than a kneejerk reaction."

September 18, 2009 AP
A top executive of the private security contractor hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan was informed in July 2008 of alleged illegal and immoral conduct by guards, attorneys for a whistleblower suing the company said Friday. The claim contradicts the sworn testimony of Samuel Brinkley, a vice president for Wackenhut Services, the owner of ArmorGroup North America. Brinkley told the Commission on Wartime Contracting under oath on Monday that he and other corporate officials outside of Afghanistan didn't know until a few weeks ago of problems that reportedly included lurid parties and ArmorGroup employees frequenting brothels in Kabul. But in a 10-page letter to the commission, the attorneys say their client, James Gordon, told Brinkley during a meeting on July 15, 2008, of alleged guard misconduct. The meeting took place in Brinkley's office in Arlington, Va., Gordon said in a separate e-mail through the lawyers. Gordon was ArmorGroup's director of operations until February 2008. He says he was forced out of the job after trying to get the company to fix a long list of shortcomings with the $189 million embassy security contract that the State Department awarded ArmorGroup in March 2007. He filed a lawsuit earlier this month in federal court claiming the company retaliated against him for telling the department about the deficiencies. Brinkley and Wackenhut did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a previous statement on the lawsuit, a Wackenhut spokeswoman called Gordon's claims baseless and said he voluntarily resigned from the company. Clark Irwin, a spokesman for the wartime contracting commission, said the congressionally mandated panel is reviewing the letter. At the commission's Sept. 14 hearing on ArmorGroup's performance, Brinkley portrayed himself and other company executives as being blindsided by the misconduct of a small number of employees. "I am not here to defend the indefensible," Brinkley said. "Certain of our personnel behaved very badly." During a series of heated exchanges, commissioners pressed Brinkley to explain why he didn't tell the State Department of reports that guards were behaving inappropriately, potentially putting security of a key U.S. diplomatic outpost at risk. Brinkley said ArmorGroup managers in Afghanistan only told him about an Aug. 11 incident involving nine employees who got drunk at a bar near their living quarters. Those workers were counseled by the on-site manager and a temporary ban on alcohol was imposed. He said the State Department was informed of this incident on Aug. 26. Brinkley said he wasn't aware of the scope and duration of the misconduct until Sept. 1 when a watchdog group released a report with photos showing guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol. The watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, also said guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors who created a hostile work environment. The letter from Gordon's attorneys says they are concerned Brinkley's testimony did not provide the commission with a "full and accurate understanding of many of the events in question."

September 14, 2009 Government Executive
The State Department should terminate ArmorGroup North America's contract for security services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, witnesses and panelists said during a Commission on Wartime Contracting hearing on Monday. The recent photographs and report from the Project on Government Oversight detailing alleged lewd, drunken behavior by guards at the embassy just describe the latest and most egregious violation by ArmorGroup, witnesses told the panel. State Department Undersecretary of Management Patrick Kennedy testified that the contract has required "extensive oversight and management." Since awarding the contract to ArmorGroup on March 12, 2007, State has issued seven deficiency notices addressing 25 deficiencies, one cure notice and one show-cause notice. Each notice demanded separate correction action plans to resolve contractual issues and several involved serious allegations, including that the contractor had deceived the government in its contract proposal. Despite these problems, State has not terminated the contract with ArmorGroup and has, in fact, exercised an extension of the contract period. State officials said they are awaiting the results of an ongoing investigation into the contractor's conduct at the embassy. Commissioner Clark Kent Ervin pressed Kennedy to pledge State would terminate the contract if the probe validates the allegations made against the contract employees. While Kennedy was hesitant to speculate on a hypothetical situation, he said he could imagine an outcome of the investigation that would lead the agency to terminate the contract. "We're seeing a serious case being made for termination," he said. William Moser, deputy assistant secretary of State for logistics management, told the commission a public hearing was not the proper forum to talk about future contract actions. Regardless, he said the department is discussing potential alternatives and approaching the reevaluation of the contract "with a great deal of seriousness." Danielle Brian, executive director of POGO, said the organization's investigation shows State officials were notified of serious issues relating to the ArmorGroup contract repeatedly, and took limited action. "For the two years of this contract, State's response to whistleblowers' sustained complaints and to its own finding of severe noncompliance consisted mainly of written reprimands and the renewal of ArmorGroup's contract," Brian said. "Simply documenting a problem or even levying a fine is not effective oversight when those same problems continue to occur." Brian said State has been "stubbornly defensive" in not recognizing its own failures, and how those failures have caused misconduct and potential lapses in security. While POGO strongly believes the contract should be canceled and ArmorGroup -- or its parent company, Wackenhut -- should be debarred from doing business with the government, that will not prevent future problems, Brian said. To ensure proper conduct by contractors overseas, State must shorten the rotations of its regional security officers, perform more frequent audits and independent verification of contractor reports of compliance, and prioritize accountability, she said. "This cultural shift will be aided by canceling contracts when the contractor consistently underperforms -- which will have the added benefit of acting as a deterrent to future contractors -- and by disciplining the State Department officials who are responsible for the failed oversight of the ArmorGroup contract," Brian said. Commissioner Linda Gustitus said State already lost authority with industry by not terminating its contract with Blackwater Worldwide in the wake of the Nissor Square shooting incident in Iraq. "That helped to send a message to other contractors that you can do a lot and not have you contract terminated," Gustitus said. Several commissioners joined Brian in urging Kennedy to hold accountable the State employees responsible for managing Armor Group by firing them, withholding bonuses or taking some other disciplinary action.

September 14, 2009 Wayne Madsen Report
At a September 10 press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, two former managers for ArmorGroup North America (AGNA), headquartered in McLean, Virginia and a subsidiary of ArmorGroup International (AGI), revealed a litany of contract fraud and abuse charges against AGNA and AGI and provided further details of sexual deviancy among AGNA security guards in Kabul tasked with protecting the U.S. embassy. ArmorGroup is now owned by Wackenhut Services, Inc., headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The two former employees are suing AGNA, AGI, Wackenhut, and Corporation Service Company for wrongful termination, false claims, and conspiracy. John Gorman, a retired Marine Corps veteran who was the camp manager at the security guard force’s Camp Sullivan, blew the whistle on contract non-performance, security pitfalls, and sexual deviancy, and was placed under virtual house arrest in June 2007 by AGNA’s top manager in Kabul, Michael O’Connell, and flown out of the country. Gorman was terminated and confined for some 24 hours, along with two other AGNA managers, James Sauer, a retired Marine sergeant major and Pete Martino, a retired Marine colonel, who filed complaints to both AGNA and the Regional Security Office (RSO) for the U.S. embassy in Kabul, also Marine Corps veterans. Because they told the RSO they feared for their personal safety after bringing the charges against AGNA, he offered them the security of his apartment on the embassy compound, which they turned down only to later have their cell phones and weapons confiscated by AGNA and being confined before their flight out of the country. Gorman said no one at AGNA “ever mentioned or indicated a concern for the actual security at the embassy -- the greatest and only concerns were the profit margin and the bottom line.” Gorman said the project manager for the security contract, Sauer, a man with 35 years of experience as a 30-year career Marine with private security contractor experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, was “ignored, second guessed, and rejected.” Sauer had vehemently objected to allowing security personnel to be deployed to Kabul who had engaged in “lewd and deviant behavior” during their subcontractor training in Texas. After Gorman, Sauer, and Martino made their complaints known to McConnell, the corporate executive replied that ArmorGroup was a publicly traded company and could, therefore, not hire more people “because he had a responsibility to the shareholders.” The effect was the hiring of clearly unqualified personnel for the security guard force. Gorman said that there were people hired as guards who had “no DD214s, driver’s licenses, passports,” including one person who had been fired from a previous security project for pulling a pistol on another employee while drunk. AGNA, according to Gorman, covered up the security contract failures because the firm was “to assume the $187 million a year security contract for the American embassy in Kabul in less than two weeks and they were bidding on the more lucrative $500 million contract for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. James Gordon, a New Zealand citizen and New Zealand Army veteran who is married to an American, worked for ArmorGroup Iraq as the operations manager, a subsidiary of AGI, also spoke about corporate malfeasance involving AGNA. He later became the business development director for AGNA headquarters in McLean. In 2007, Gordon took over as operations director for the Kabul embassy security contract and attempted to bring the contract into compliance with State Department requirements. Eventually, Gordon was forced out of the company because instead of correcting contract violations the firm’s only goal was to “maximize profits.” Gordon said among AGNA security personnel were unqualified personnel, some of whom had serious criminal records. Some guard recruits had engaged in “disgusting behavior” during their initial training at AGI’s subsidiary’s training facility, International Training Inc. (ITI) of Pearsall, Texas. Sauer, Martino, and Gorman had received reports that some of the AGNA recruits, while undergoing pre-deployment in Texas, had engaged in “lewd, aberrant, and sexually deviant behavior, including sexual hazing, urination on one another and equipment, bullying, ‘mooning,’” exposing themselves, excessive drinking, and other conduct making themselves unfit for service on the contract. The AGNA employees who were later forced out of the company attempted to ensure that the trainees in Texas never arrived in Kabul. Several email exchanges (“e-pong”) show they tried to block the sexual deviants from duty in Kabul. AGNA also misrepresented ethnic Nepalese Gurkha farmers hired as security guards for the Kabul embassy job as Gurkha military veterans of the British and Indian armies. In fact. the Gurkha farmers hired from Nepal and northern India were not proficient in English as required under the State Department contract. In fact, some could speak no English. The language test had never been administered to the Gurkha recruits. When some Gurkha guards walked off their jobs in May 2007 because of poor wages and treatment, Carol Ruart, AGI’s human resources director in London, ordered AGNA management in Kabul to “lock [the Gurkhas] in their rooms until they agree to work for less.” Gordon also stated that AGNA never invested in secure vehicles to transport embassy guards between the embassy and other locations. AGNA used broken down vehicles called “white coffins.” After the State Department released funds to AGNA to buy secure vehicles, the firm never bought the vehicles but transferred the money to AGI in London. AGNA also hired a “rogue” South African program manager for the embassy contract in Kabul, according to Gordon. DuPlessis replaced Sauer. Jimmy Lemmon replaced Martino as deputy program manager. During the tenure of the South African, Nick duPlessis, ammunition went missing from Camp Sullivan where the guards were bivouacked and illegal weapons were stored at the facility. Moreover, duPlessis did not possess a security clearance to receive classified briefings, a requirement for the program manager position. In addition, Gordon stated that the AGNA logistics manager, Sean Garcia, used contract funds to purchase counterfeit North Face and Altama jackets and boots for the security guards from his wife’s company in Lebanon, Trends General Trading and Marketing LLC of Beirut. Gordon said, “the cheap knock-offs could never keep the men warm during the cold winters in Afghanistan.” After Gordon notified the State Department about the contract breach, the order to remove him was ignored and the State Department continues to own sub-par counterfeit material. Gordon sent an email dated September 3, 2007 to duPlessis and his staff in Kabul. Gordon also said that the AGNA armorer in Kabul, responsible for maintaining all the weapons, had to be “forcibly removed” from a brothel in Kabul. Many of the prostitutes working in Kabul, according to Gordon, are young Chinese girls who were taken against their will to Kabul for sexual exploitation. When Gordon ordered the armorer’s immediate termination, he discovered that the AGNA medic, Neville Montefiore, and duPlessis, the program manager, had also frequented the brothels with the armorer. Gordon also discovered that there had been an outbreak of sexually-transmitted diseases among the AGNA guards in 2007 and this was never reported to the State Department as required by the contract. Prostitutes also frequently visited Camp Sullivan. Gordon also discovered that the guard force routinely visited brothels in Kabul and Montefiore’s replacement discovered the improper storage of regulated narcotics at Camp Sullivan’s medical facility, including morphine. “You can rest assured that there is no hiding of information from the DoS [Department of State]. Anyone who thinks that they can get away with this will probably end up in a Federal Penitentiary. It is our duty to report on all aspects of the contract performance and we are required to be transparent and honest in our dealings. Personally I wouldn’t accept anything else.” Gordon’s plans to visit Kabul to conduct an investigation were immediately shut down by ArmorGroup’s parent office in London. Gordon said it is contrary to U.S. law for a foreign company to direct or influence any activities on a classified contract. Moreover, the British parent conducted their own investigation, which resulted in a three-page whitewash. Gordon was denied access to all information about AGI London’s investigation. After the whitewash, Gordon received a report that an AGNA trainee wanted to be hired on as a security guard at the embassy in Kabul because he knew someone “who owned prostitutes there.” The trainee boasted that he could purchase a girl for $20,000 and earn a handsome profit each month. The trainee, according to Gordon, had previously worked in Kabul under duPlessis. Neither AGNA nor the State Department conducted a follow-up investigation of the violations of the U.S. Trafficking in Victims Protection Act by AGNA employees. AGNA responded to Gordon’s warnings by blaming him for all the contract’s failures and he was forced to leave the firm on February 29, 2008. After Wackenhut Services Inc. bought ArmorGroup, after Gordon left the company, he met with Sam Brinkley, the vice president of Wackenhut, to discuss the contract problems. Brinkley promised to remove duPlessis and investigate all the charges of misconduct. On June 10, 2009, Gordon was present during hearings held by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Gordon said that Brinkley and the State Department testified to McCaskill’s subcommittee on contracting oversight that AGNA was “fully compliant” on the security contract for the embassy in Kabul. Brinkley told the subcommittee that he “was proud” of the way the company had been managing the embassy security contract. Gordon said the situation at Camp Sullivan had worsened and the U.S. Embassy was facing a grave security threat. McCaskill and ranking Republican member Susan Collins (R-ME) never heard testimony from any of the whistleblowers on AGNA’s poor security record in Kabul. The only witnesses heard were Brinkley and William Moser, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Logistics Management. Brinkley, in addition to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, has responsibility for the security contract for the U.S. Naval Support Activity in Bahrain, which, according to ex-AGNA sources, may be using untrained Gurkha farmers from the Indian subcontinent as crack veterans of the British and Indian armies. The Gorman/Gordon lawsuit states that on October 10, 2007, the AGNA security force in Kabul was involved in a number of serious incidents, including: detaining a group of Afghan civilians and involuntarily transporting them to the U.S. embassy; verbally and physically engaging in an altercation with Afghan Ministry of Interior policemen and handcuffing the policemen; confronting an Afghan general and several Ministry of Interior policemen; refusing an order from the embassy RSO to withdraw from a checkpoint to defuse a potentially explosive situation. The statements of the two ex-AGNA employees reveal a culture of depravity and unprofessional behavior that Gordon stated still exists to this very day in Kabul.

September 14, 2009 AP
A member of a federal commission investigating wartime spending said Monday that photos showing private security guards in various stages of nudity at drunken parties may be as damaging to U.S. interests in Afghanistan as images of detainee mistreatment at Abu Ghraib were in Iraq. Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon comptroller, made the comment at a hearing Monday held by the Commission on Wartime Contracting on allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct by employees of ArmorGroup North America, the company hired to protect the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Zakheim said the photos are circulating heavily on the Internet and give Muslims in Afghanistan a negative image of the United States. Patrick Kennedy, the State Department's management chief, acknowledged the department should have been paying closer attention to the activities of the ArmorGroup guards at their living quarters near the embassy. The private security contractor hired to protect the embassy said Monday it erred by not immediately telling the State Department about an alcohol-related incident involving its guards that proved far more serious than company officials first believed. "I am not here to defend the indefensible," said Samuel Brinkley, vice president of Wackenhut Services, the company that owns the contractor, ArmorGroup North America. A manager for ArmorGroup counseled nine guards after they got drunk at a bar near their living quarters in Kabul on August 10. But after photos surfaced showing the guards had been at a party where ArmorGroup employees engaged in lewd and inappropriate behavior, they realized they made a mistake by not alerting U.S. officials. Photos showed guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol. Brinkley said the manager's response, which included a temporary ban on alcohol, seemed adequate at the time. "In retrospect, we were wrong in not notifying the State Department," Brinkley said in testimony before the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting. Kennedy, under secretary of state for management, told the commission the State Department is very concerned about ArmorGroup's delays in reporting its knowledge of any misconduct by its employees. The State Department has been sharply criticized for its management and oversight of the security contract at one of the country's most important diplomatic outposts. In addition to the allegations of misconduct, other problems have included a shortage of guards and inferior equipment. As the department's top management officer, Kennedy said he takes full responsibility for having failed to prevent the problems that reportedly ranged from out-of-control parties to Armor Group supervisors frequenting brothels in Kabul. The State Department has launched an investigation into ArmorGroup's handling of the $189 million contract embassy security contract. Kennedy told the commission that the misconduct "dishonored" the State Department in Afghanistan, where "the success of U.S. objectives depends on the cultural sensitivity of all mission personnel, including employees under contract." But he and other State Department officials said no decision will be made on whether to terminate the contract with ArmorGroup until the investigation is complete. Members of the commission pressed Kennedy to be more aggressive, saying the evidence already available is enough to warrant firing ArmorGroup, which was awarded the contract to protect the embassy in March 2007. "To me, it's just totally out of control and it's been going on for a long time," said Michael Thibault, co-chairman of the commission. Commissioner Clark Ervin asked Kennedy to pledge to terminate the contract if the investigation proves all the allegations prove to be true. Kennedy refused to commit, saying the inquiry needs to run its course. However, Kennedy added, "We are seeing a very, very serious case being made for termination."

September 13, 2009 Washington Post
In 2005, the State Department hired a Northern Virginia company to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Diplomats quickly became concerned about whether the new guards, who barely spoke English, could protect such a sensitive site. "They had serious problems," recalled Ronald E. Neumann, who was ambassador at the time. The department then brought in another security contractor, ArmorGroup North America. But the difficulties didn't cease. In recent days, evidence of ArmorGroup's failings has burst into public view -- photos depicting its guards in semi-naked hazing rituals and official documents showing persistent staff shortages. Harold W. Geisel, the acting inspector general of the State Department, told Congress last week that his investigators are checking for possible criminal conduct by ArmorGroup, and a congressional hearing is scheduled for Monday. Lawmakers and watchdog groups are questioning how the department could have continued to employ a company that, in addition to tolerating bullying and understaffing, failed to ensure that its guards had proper security clearances and sufficient equipment -- or that they spoke English. The criticism is particularly intense because the State Department had promised to improve oversight after a 2007 shooting incident in Iraq involving bodyguards from security contractor Blackwater that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. "State's management of these contracts has been self-evidentially abysmal," said Peter W. Singer, an expert on government contracting at the Brookings Institution. ArmorGroup's efforts to guard the Kabul embassy were troubled from the start, according to congressional hearings, internal State Department documents and interviews. The McLean-based company submitted "an unreasonably low price" in 2007 for the contract, said Samuel Brinkley, an official with Wackenhut Services, the firm's parent company, at a congressional hearing in June. Former ArmorGroup supervisors have said in interviews that the company slashed guard staffing so it could squeak out a profit. State Department officials have expressed outrage about the lewd behavior shown in the photos. Still, they defend their selection of ArmorGroup, saying they are legally required to award such contracts to the lowest qualified bidder and noting that ArmorGroup was well-regarded. They also insist that the embassy was never endangered by the guard problems -- even though internal department documents say it was. "The fact you find something is wrong means something is wrong. But you find it," the department's undersecretary for management, Patrick F. Kennedy, said in an interview. He emphasized that many of the guards' failings emerged in documents written by department officials. "There was oversight present," he said. The troubles at the Kabul embassy raise questions about how authorities will manage what is expected to be a surge in the number of contract guards at U.S. facilities in Iraq as the American military presence declines. The scandal has also given new impetus to a debate over whether too many government wartime jobs are being outsourced. "The State Department should consider whether the security for an embassy in a combat zone is an inherently governmental function, and therefore not subject to contracting out," Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this month. Brian's group released the photos of what it called near-weekly sessions of hazing and sexual humiliation of ArmorGroup guards at their camp. The State Department has for years used local contract guards to secure the perimeters of its embassies, while generally keeping a modest Marine contingent for interior access. But in Iraq and Afghanistan, the department decided not to use local guards because of vetting concerns, officials say. Instead, as the military withdrew forces from around those embassies in recent years, the department turned to contractors such as ArmorGroup. But the department, which suffers from a shortage of contracting staff, has had a rocky history of managing such guard contracts. Each of its three contracts in Kabul has come under fire. The first was awarded to McLean-based Global Strategies, to replace a Marine combat force withdrawing from the U.S. Embassy in March 2005. The department justified the $6-million-a-month sole-source contract by saying it had received late notification of the Marines' departure. But the inspector general found that the Defense Department had given six months' official notice, and scolded the State Department for poor planning. By July 2005, the State Department had signed a contract with MVM of Ashburn, cutting its guard costs to less than $2 million a month, according to the inspector general's report. But MVM could not provide enough guards, partly because it was paying much less than its predecessor, according to Neumann. And, he said, the guards spoke so little English that they could not understand instructions. "We went back to the State Department and said, 'These people are unacceptable,' " Neumann said. State canceled MVM's contract and kept on the Global guards temporarily. MVM's chief executive, Dario O. Marquez, did not return a call seeking comment but told the Wall Street Journal last year that the State Department did not give him enough time to fix the problems. Neumann said the department was handicapped in selecting guard companies because of regulations stipulating that the contract go to a qualified U.S. firm that offers the lowest bid. "People low-bid, and then they're not competent," he said. Finally, in March 2007, the department turned to ArmorGroup. The firm, which also guarded the British Embassy in Kabul, was one of only two bidders deemed technically qualified by the department's acquisition and security specialists. Its price was about $3 million a month, officials say. "ArmorGroup was not a small, undercapitalized, underfunded, fly-by-night organization," Kennedy said. "They put forth a proposal that met every requirement." But within weeks of the company starting work, the State Department sent ArmorGroup a warning that its deficiencies -- including shortages of guards and armored vehicles -- were so serious that "the security of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy," according to the House Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. State Department officials issued eight more warnings to the company over the next two years, including one last September threatening to terminate the contract. Despite the problems, the department stuck with ArmorGroup, agreeing this summer to extend its contract for a year. State Department officials have said that the company appeared to be making progress and that changing firms would be disruptive. A spokeswoman for Wackenhut, which took over ArmorGroup North America last year, declined to comment. In a lawsuit filed last week, former ArmorGroup supervisor James Gordon accuses the company not only of failing to properly staff the embassy but also of lying to the State Department about its capabilities. The operation "was a complete shambles," he said.

September 12, 2009 New York Times
When a security guard at the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was leaving for breakfast Monday morning, he froze at the sight of a crude poster of a rat hanging on his door. “Warning!” the poster said in stark, black letters. “Rats can cost you your job and your family.” The guard was a whistle-blower who had told of security lapses and lewd, drunken bacchanals by fellow workers, sparking an outcry and enraging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Now he wonders whether he should have kept his mouth shut. “Threats are still running rampant here,” he said in a telephone conversation from Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “So even though it looks like State may finally turn things around, no one’s ready to celebrate yet.” Such skepticism may be warranted. A review of two years of e-mail messages, letters and memos reveals that the State Department had long known of the serious problems with ArmorGroup, the contractor chosen to protect its embassy. The complaints went beyond the lurid pranks that made headlines, the documents show, and included serious understaffing, bullying by management, petty corruption and abusive work conditions. In fact, the deficiencies became so severe that they threatened the security of the compound, the documents show, and State Department officials withheld payments to ArmorGroup as a way to compel it to comply with the terms of its agreement. On a few occasions, government officials warned the company that if it did not correct the most egregious problems it would lose the five-year, $189 million deal. Yet both times the contract came up for renewal, in 2008 and 2009, the State Department opted to extend it, officials confirmed. The troubles with the ArmorGroup contract, and the State Department’s frustrated dealings with the company over two years and through two administrations, illustrate how the government has become dependent on the private security companies that work in war zones, and has struggled to manage companies that themselves are sometimes loosely run and do not always play by the government’s rules. With a stretched military, the government relies on the security companies themselves to vet, train, and discipline the guards, all at the lowest cost. “It’s expensive for the State Department to withdraw a contract from one company, rebid the project and award it to a new one,” said Janet Goldstein, a Washington lawyer who represents one of the ArmorGroup whistleblowers. “So businesses know that once they get a contract, State may ding them around a little bit, but it’s not going to fire them.” The perils of this reliance were most graphically illustrated in Iraq in 2007, when security guards from another contractor, Blackwater, were involved in shootings that left 17 civilians dead on a Baghdad street. But interviews and documents show that the ArmorGroup affair, in its mundane, unsavory details, offers perhaps a more representative look inside the troubled relationship between contractors and the government in war zones. State Department officials acknowledge they had a litany of complaints about the company, none of which, they insist, compromised the security of the embassy. But they profess to being deeply embarrassed by reports of parties where security guards were photographed naked, fondling and urinating on each other. “I’ve been doing this for 37 years; I’m proud of what I do,” said Patrick F. Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management who oversees outside contractors. But, he added, “This is humiliating.” Mr. Kennedy, however, defended the State Department’s overall handling of the contract. The frequent letters of complaint the government sent to ArmorGroup, he said, were evidence that the department was keeping close tabs on the company. The “greatest majority” of the failures cited in the letters were addressed, he said. Part of the problem, officials said, was that the guards are housed in a complex six miles from the embassy, Camp Sullivan, with little oversight by State Department officials. Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, the American subsidiary of the Danish company that owns ArmorGroup, referred questions to the State Department, saying only that it was cooperating with the government’s investigation. On Monday, the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan will hold a hearing to examine the State Department’s oversight of the contract. Christopher Shays, a former congressman and co-chairman of the commission, said there was “a serious failure on the part of the State Department in being unable to compel the contractor to fulfill its commitment.” The disclosures, which were originally made by a nonprofit organization, Project on Government Oversight, deeply rattled the State Department. At a staff meeting following the release of the group’s report, senior officials said, Mrs. Clinton vented her anger about the lurid pictures. Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired Army general who became President Obama’s ambassador to Afghanistan last May, was livid, an official said, because he had never been briefed about the problems. Despite their unease with contractors, officials acknowledged the department had no choice but to keep using them. “In situations where there is a surge of intense security requirements, it is a real challenge,” said Jacob J. Lew, the deputy secretary of state for management and resources. “We cannot reduce the security presence.” The State Department was not in a buyer’s market when it looked for a company to protect its embassy in Kabul. It picked ArmorGroup in March 2007, after its previous choice, MVM, proved unable to marshal the necessary personnel or equipment, officials said. Of the eight companies that bid for the contract the second time around, only two were deemed technically capable. ArmorGroup was the cheapest. The company’s most recent contract extension was granted in June this year, after a Senate hearing in which one of its executives, Samuel Brinkley, a Wackenhut vice president, said in sworn testimony that his company was in full compliance with the terms of its contract, and a State Department official, William H. Moser, a deputy assistant secretary of state, also under oath, said he was satisfied with the company’s performance. In interviews, ArmorGroup whistleblowers said they felt betrayed by the testimony. By many measures, they said, things were worse, not better. After largely uneventful company barbecues morphed into what have been described as scenes from “The Lord of the Flies,” at least a dozen of the men started a document trail of their own, sending e-mail messages and photographs to the Project on Government Oversight. According to interviews and those documents, from July 2007 to April 2009, the State Department issued ArmorGroup at least nine warnings, nearly one every other month, about contract violations that ranged from mundane concerns about the company’s ability to keep accurate personnel logs, to more critical concerns about corruption among company managers and the hardships faced by sleep-deprived, underpaid guards — the majority of them Gurkhas from Nepal — who could not understand simple commands in English. While the Gurkhas were largely the source of the language problems, the lewd hazing rituals were largely the activity of the native English speakers, a mix of Americans, South Africans, New Zealanders and Australians. In 2008, after ArmorGroup was acquired by the Danish company, G4S, Wackenhut informed the State Department it was taking control of the Kabul contract, and promised to fix any problems. Government officials agreed to give the new owners a chance. According to their own correspondence, their optimism seemed to dim fairly quickly. On Aug. 22, 2008, the State Department wrote to ArmorGroup to express concerns that staffing shortages were so severe the company might not be able to provide security after a situation with mass casualties. On Sept. 21, 2008, the State Department deducted $2.4 million in payments from ArmorGroup, warning that its failure to provide a sufficient number of guards “gravely endangers the performance of guard services.” In March 2009, the department again advised ArmorGroup that it had “grave concerns” about staffing shortages, noting that inspectors on a recent tour found 18 guardposts left uncovered. In April, it denied ArmorGroup’s request for a third waiver to the requirement that it teach its foreign guards English. A month later, without much explanation, ArmorGroup told the State Department that deficiencies relating to language and staffing had been resolved. And a month after that, a senior State Department official told the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight that “despite contractual deficiencies, the performance by ArmorGroup North America has been and is sound.” “I sat in the audience that day, and shook my head in disbelief,” said James Gordon, a former ArmorGroup executive who has filed a whistleblower’s lawsuit against the company. He says he was forced out for complaining about the problems. “I knew that conditions at Camp Sullivan were deteriorating, that the contract continued to be understaffed, that the conditions in Kabul were getting more dangerous, and that the U.S. Embassy was facing grave threats.”

September 10, 2009 New York Times
Two former employees of a private contractor hired to provide security at the United States Embassy in Afghanistan charged that State Department officials were aware as early as 2007 that guards and supervisors were involved in lewd conduct. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, one of the former employees, James Gordon, a native of New Zealand who served as director of operations at the contractor, ArmorGroup North America, charged that he had spoken numerous times with State Department officials about significant problems that threatened security at the embassy. Among other things, he said that ArmorGroup hired guards who could not speak English and had no security experience; that the company employed fewer guards than needed and worked them for longer hours than at other embassies to cut costs; and that it allowed managers and employers to hire prostitutes. “Their goal was to perform the contract as cheaply as possible,” said Mr. Gordon, speaking by telephone from Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, where he is now employed by another private security contractor which he declined to name. “Their goal was to do everything they could to prevent the State Department from discovering their multiple contract violations and operational shortcomings. Their goal was to provide a fig leaf of security at the embassy, and to pray to God that nobody got killed.” Mr. Gordon and another former supervisor, John Gorman, said they warned State Department officials in Kabul several times that ArmorGroup was plagued with problems and that it was determined to cover them up. They said that as a result of their efforts to correct the problems and to make the government aware of the issues, ArmorGroup forced them to leave their jobs. As evidence to support his assertions, Mr. Gorman provided a packet of memos and e-mail messages that he said he and two other former employees gave State Department officials in June 2007, including a three-page memo in which he outlined an array of contract violations. Among them, he wrote: “The training program run for new hires has been plagued with hazing and intimidation of students by students. This included physical threats and perversions.” Senior State Department officials said they were unaware that guards had engaged in that kind of activity at their living quarters at a base in Kabul. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak about a continuing investigation. The charges echoed those in a report released last week by an independent group, the Project on Government Oversight, which accused the guards and supervisors of deviant behavior. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ordered an investigation, and about 16 guards and supervisors were fired or have resigned. ArmorGroup North America, based in McLean, Va., was acquired in 2008 by a Danish security company, G4S, and its American subsidiary, Wackenhut Services Inc. In a written statement, Wackenhut described Mr. Gordon’s allegations as “overstated, ill-founded, not based on any personal knowledge or otherwise lacking in legal merit.”

September 10, 2009 AP
A former manager for the security contractor protecting the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan says the company lowballed its bid for the work and then failed to hire enough guards or fix faulty equipment. The allegations come after an independent watchdog group said last week that ArmorGroup guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors who created a climate of fear and intimidation. On Thursday, James Gordon, former director of operations at ArmorGroup North America, alleged the company bid too low in order to win the contract and then cut corners to keep profits up. Gordon says he was fired for reporting the problems. He also claims ArmorGroup withheld from Congress information about employees who went to brothels. Wackenhut Services, ArmorGroup's parent company, had no immediate comment.

September 2, 2009 The Guardian
Pictures have emerged showing private contractors at the embassy holding 'deviant and lewd' parties. The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has ordered an investigation into allegations that private contractors employed to protect the American embassy in Afghanistan were engaged in "deviant and lewd" parties that have been compared to Lord of the Flies. The decision to launch the inquiry came after an independent group sent her a 10-page dossier yesterday claiming that the security guards at the embassy had been engaged in drunken parties involving prostitutes and the kind of ritual humiliation associated with gang initiation. Pictures and video footage were attached to the dossier. The dossier, compiled by the independent investigative group Project on Government Insight, includes an email allegedly from a guard currently serving in Kabul describing scenes in which guards and supervisors are "peeing on people, eating potato chips out of [buttock] cracks, vodka shots out of [buttock] cracks (there is video of that one), broken doors after drnken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity". The allegations are an embarrassment at a time when the Obama administration is struggling to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan and the Muslim world in general. It comes against the backdrop of the continuing controversy over the widespread use by the US of private contractors in war zones, of which the most notorious was Blackwater, now named Xe. The group at the centre of the new allegations are the ArmorGroup, part of the Florida-based Wackenhut group, one of the biggest private security organisations in the US. The organisation did not respond immediately today to the allegations. The Project on Government Insight, which was established in 1981 to track military procurement and bring to light evidence of any corruption, described the environment at Camp Sullivan, where the guards were housed outside Kabul, as comparable to the anarchy in William Golding's Lord of the Flies. It said about 300 of the 450 ArmorGroup guards are Gurkhas and the rest are a mix of Australians, South Africans and Americans. In the dossier, it said that guards were "engaging in near-weekly deviant hazing and humiliation of subordinates" . It claimed that some guards had barricaded themselves in their rooms out of fear that the alleged hazing might harm them physically. It further claims that guard force supervisors "made no secret that, to celebrate a birthday, they brought prostitutes into Camp Sullivan, which maintains a sign-in log." According to the report, Afghan nationals, as Muslims, were humiliated by the behaviour and the apparently free-flowing use of alcohol. The pictures could be picked up by the Taliban and used as propaganda against the US and its allies. But the Project on Government Insight stressed that comparisons should not be made with the pictures of abuse at the Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, because no allegations of torture are being made. The report says that the general breakdown in discipline poses a threat to the security of the embassy. Ian Kelly, the state department spokesman, said of the reports of wild, anarchic partying: "These are very serious allegations, and we are treating them that way." Clinton has "zero tolerance" for the behaviour described and has directed a "review of the whole system" for farming out security to private contractors that may have threatened the safety of embassy personnel, Kelly said. The embassy said today: "Nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of all embassy personnel - Americans and Afghan - and respect for the cultural and religious values of all Afghans." It added: "We have taken immediate steps to review all local guard force policies and procedures and have taken all possible measures to ensure our security is sound." Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who heads a subcommittee on contractor oversight, wrote to the state department calling for the inquiry in the light of the report. McCaskill's committee earlier this year conducted its own hearings on the involvement of ArmorGroup in Afghanistan.

September 1, 2009 Washington Post
Private security contractors who guard the U.S. embassy in Kabul have engaged in lewd behavior and hazed subordinates, demoralizing the undermanned force and posing a "significant threat" to security at time when the Taliban is intensifying attacks in the Afghan capital, according to an investigation released Tuesday by a government watchdog group. The Project on Government Oversight launched the probe after more than a dozen security guards contacted the group to report misconduct and morale problems within the force of 450 guards that lives at Camp Sullivan, a few miles from the U.S. embassy compound. In one incident in May, more than a dozen guards took weapons, night vision goggles and other key equipment and engaged in an unauthorized "cowboy" mission in Kabul, leaving the embassy "largely night blind," POGO wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlining the security violations. The guards dressed in Afghan tunics and scarves in violation of contract rules and hid in abandoned buildings in a reconnaissance mission that was not part of their training or mission. Later two heads of the guard force, Werner Ilic and Jimmy Lemon, issued a "letter of recognition" praising the men for "conspicuous intrepidity (sic)" with the U.S. State Department logo on the letter head. "They were living out some sort of delusion," one of the whistle-blower guards said Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post from Kabul. "It presented a huge opportunity for an international incident," said the guard who spokes on condition of anonymity because he feared retribution. The report recommends that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates immediately assign U.S. military personnel to supervise the guards and remove the management of the current force. It also calls on the State Department to hold accountable diplomatic officials who failed to provide adequate oversight of the contract. The report also found that supervisors held near-weekly parties in which they urinated on themselves and others, drank vodka poured off each other's exposed buttocks, fondled and kissed one another and gallivanted around virtually nude. Photos and video of the escapades were released with the POGO investigation. "The lewd and deviant behavior of approximately 30 supervisors and guards has resulted in complete distrust of leadership and a breakdown of the chain of command, compromising security," POGO said in the letter to Clinton. The guards work for ArmorGroup, North America, which has an $180 million annual contract with the State Department to secure the embassy and the 1,000 diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals who work there. The State Department renewed the contract in July despite finding numerous performance deficiencies by ArmorGroup in recent years which were the subject of a Senate subcommittee hearing in June. Susan Pitcher, a spokeswoman for Wackenhut Services, Inc., the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. company that owns ArmorGroup, declined to comment on Tuesday's POGO report. Conduct of contractors providing security in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the subject of controversy and other investigations in recent years. The government relies heavily on such contractors for security and other needs. A new Congressional Research Service report has found that as of March, the Defense Department had more contract personnel than troops in Afghanistan. The 52,300 uniformed U.S. military and 68,200 contractors in Afghanistan at that time "apparently represented the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by DOD [Defense Department] in any conflict in the history of the United States," the report said. Some 16 percent of the contractors are involved in providing security, a much higher percentage than the 10 percent that were used in Iraq. Although contractors provide many essential services, "they also pose management challenges in monitoring performance and preventing fraud," according to Steven Aftergood, who first disclosed the congressional report on his Secrecy News Web site.

May 16, 2009 The West
He literally cooked to death. Trapped in a prison van for four hours, suffocated by temperatures that climbed to more than 50C, the Aboriginal elder had no way to communicate with security officers sitting just a metre away, in the airconditioned cab. His only sustenance was a small bottle of water and a meat pie. When he finally collapsed on the van floor, the metal was so hot it seared his skin. Yesterday, Corrective Services Commissioner Ian Johnson travelled to Kalgoorlie to publicly apologise to Mr Ward’s family, accepting responsibility for the 46-year-old’s death in January last year. It was a dramatic end to a coronial inquest that has revealed a litany of failures in the justice and custodial systems in WA’s outback. Widow Nancy Ward and her children will return to Laverton next week after sitting quietly and with dignity throughout the case, which has attracted the attention of the United Nations and the Australian Human Rights Commission. Mr Ward, a conservation worker, a supporter and interpreter for local police and an advocate and educator for children of the Gibson Desert, was an international ambassador for the Ngaanyatjarra people. His family say he was treated like an animal. Mr Ward had been drinking on Australia Day last year in the remote Goldfields town of Laverton when he was arrested for driving with more than four times the legal alcohol limit. Conducting a quasi-court hearing for Mr Ward at his cell door at the local police station, justice of the peace Barrye Thompson remanded him in custody to face court in Kalgoorlie the following day. Mr Thompson told the inquest he had no formal training when appointed as a JP and could not even remember whether he had read the Bail Act. The Aboriginal Legal Service was not contacted. Guards and police officers testified the prison vans used by Global Solutions Limited and maintained by the State were notoriously unreliable, sub-standard and the air-conditioning was often faulty. GSL’s supervisor in Kalgoorlie, Leanne Jenkins, had warned her management an incident would occur unless the vehicles were replaced. At 11.20am, the GSL prison van pulled into a secure area at Laverton police station where the guards were told they would have a trouble-free passenger. Mr Ward made a comment about the warm day and a guard told him “the quicker he got into the van, the quicker the air-conditioning would kick in”. But the air-conditioning did not work: it had been reported faulty in the GSL maintenance log more than a month earlier. Before making the continuous 360km journey to Kalgoorlie, the guards did not tell Mr Ward there was a duress alarm in the back of the van in case he needed help. Towards the end of the trip, they heard a loud thump. Pulling over on to the side of the road and opening the outer door of the van, the guards felt the heat radiating from the rear pod and they saw Mr Ward face-down on the van floor — unconscious and unresponsive. Reaching into the back of the van felt like a “blast from a furnace”, according to Dr Lucien LaGrange, who assisted in removing Mr Ward’s lifeless body at Kalgoorlie Hospital. Doctors found full-thickness contact burns on his stomach and tried for 20 minutes to resuscitate Mr Ward, whose skin felt like a “hot cup of coffee”. They managed to get a brief return of a heartbeat, but after putting him in an ice bath, his body temperature was still 41.7C. Coroner Alastair Hope is due to deliver his findings on June 12. For now, the Ward family will have to return to a community missing a leader. It is little comfort to them that money was allocated in this week’s State Budget to replace the fleet of transport vans — four years after the Department for Corrective Services undertook to do so. “I am sorry,” Mr Johnson told Mrs Ward yesterday. “I have a deep regret but no matter what I say, it’s not going to change what happened.”

April 30, 2009 Miami Herald
Three weeks after Miami-Dade County declared that Wackenhut Corp. bilked taxpayers of millions and would no longer do county business, the security firm fired back with its own show of force: a $20 million lawsuit against the county and two top officials. The escalating fight centers on allegations that Wackenhut Corp. overbilled Miami-Dade Transit for security services at Metrorail stops and failed to adequately staff guard posts. The Palm Beach Gardens-based firm, which does other security work for the county, has held the mass transit security contract for 20 years, though its latest contract expires in November. But the stakes for Wackenhut may go beyond its current business with the county. In its lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Miami, the security company said the move by Miami-Dade to bar the firm from working for the county could jeopardize contracts with other government agencies across the country. The future damages we ''will suffer as a result of this unfair and malicious taint'' on our ''reputation are incalculable,'' Wackenhut said in the lawsuit, which seeks $20 million in damages and asks the court to stop the county from relying on an audit which concludes time sheets were doctored and transit stops unguarded. The suit also names as defendants County Manager George Burgess and County Auditor Cathy Jackson. Wackenhut contends the county audit used improper methodology. ''It has no basis in reality,'' said Wackenhut President Drew Levine. ``We've done our job and done it well.'' Miami-Dade County spokeswoman Victoria Mallette said the county stands by the report authored by the government's Audit Management Services department. ''We want to be made whole,'' said Mallette. ``We haven't been made whole. It would be irresponsible for us to continue doing business with an entity that we believe has overbilled us.'' Earlier this month, Burgess wrote in a memo to commissioners that as a result of the audit the county would seek to recover $3.4 million in alleged overbillings and support an ongoing whistle blower's civil case against Wackenhut. Burgess named several firms to replace Wackenhut guards at Miami-Dade railway stops and bus facilities, the Juvenile Services Department and Public Works Department. The county manager also declared the county will seek ``debarment.'' The county move earlier this month and subsequent lawsuit Wednesday come several years after charges of overbillings and so-called ''ghost posts'' were first raised. The county -- roundly rebuked for poor stewardship of the transit system -- has been criticized for reacting slowly to the allegations. The whistle blower's civil court case against Wackenhut was filed in 2005 and the audit was completed in 2008.

March 14, 2009 Sunday Mail
Former Defence Secretary John Reid faced fierce criticism yesterday as it emerged the world's largest security firm had won a huge contract from the Ministry of Defence weeks after taking him on as a consultant. Mr Reid - who ran the MoD until May 2006 before resigning from the Cabinet while Home Secretary in June 2007 - was hired by G4S three months ago for £50,000 a year to offer 'strategic advice'. This week, it was awarded a four-year contract to supply private security guards for around 200 MoD and military sites across Britain in a deal thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds. While many former ministers have taken private-sector jobs, it is unusual for such a senior Government figure and sitting MP to work for a company so closely linked to their former department. Opposition MPs last night said Mr Reid's earnings from G4S were 'totally inappropriate', while the Taxpayers' Alliance campaign group called for the rules governing employment for ex-ministers to be reviewed urgently.

January 22, 2009 Morning Star
DAVID Miliband said that the war on terror was an error, but some people don't regret it. Private security companies like Group 4 made a mint. Now, it wants to spread its good fortune - this month, Group 4 Security gave a £50,000 position to former Labour minister John Reid as an "adviser." Reid fits in this part-time job when he isn't too busy representing the good people of Airdrie and Shotts as their Member of Parliament. Group 4 has plenty of reasons to want access to the contact book of a former home and defence secretary - the firm now supplies the armed guards looking after British officials in Iraq and Afghanistan while locking up prisoners, asylum-seekers and "terror suspects" in Britain, so Reid is worth every one of the five million pennies that they are giving the man. Reid was once a Communist Party member, but abandoned Marxism in favour of new Labour. This is odd, because his career seems to illustrate the crudest and most determinist kind of Marxism. For years, Marxists have been grappling with the subtle and sophisticated ways in which the capitalist class dominates society, but Group 4 opted for a very unsubtle approach - the capitalists just hired Labour's representative. Reid hasn't always hawked his brawn for the money men. Back in 1992, Reid signed a House of Commons motion calling on Sir Norman Fowler to resign from the board of Group 4. The motion said that the House "regrets that the right honourable Member for Sutton Coldfield (Norman Fowler), chairman of the Conservative Party, has not seen fit to resign his directorship of another Group 4 company, Group 4 Securitas, and urges him to do so." It added: "The government should suspend all further moves to privatisation within the criminal justice system." Reid's call for Fowler to resign from Group 4 and for the government to shun the firm came after the company let a number of prisoners escape from their vans on the way to court. Whizz forward a decade and a half and Reid, having demanded that Fowler abandon Group 4, has himself taken a job with the firm. In the meantime, Conservative and Labour governments have not stopped their "privatisation of the criminal justice system," they have expanded it. Group 4 has men with truncheons in Britain and men carrying guns in Iraq. Nor has the firm become any less accident-prone. Group 4 Security prefers to be called G4S because, in ad people's language, the brand is tarnished. Group 4 was even described as a "national laughing stock" by the government's own lawyers in court in 2003 after a riot at an immigration detention centre that it ran which was later burned to the ground. Things haven't improved since. Reid himself sent the firm to new frontiers, where the firm ran new fiascos. When Reid was home secretary, the Law Lords told him that just labelling foreigners "terror suspects" didn't mean that he could lock them up without trial. Reid turned to Group 4 for help. It cobbled together something called "control orders," a house arrest for these "terror suspects" administered by Group 4 and other private firms. Control orders were simultaneously too draconian and too lax - prisoners, including vulnerable men who had been tortured in their home countries, were tagged and monitored by Group 4. Those who stuck by the rules were pushed to the edge of mental illness by the isolation of the strict house arrest. At the same time, Group 4 allowed another prisoner to simply disappear. This may have been embarrassing for the firm and for Reid, but they manfully hid their red faces and entered into a new relationship when Reid left government. Group 4 has risen thanks to the crudest economic determinism - Reid, who authorised the signing of cheques for Group 4 as a minister, ends up getting cheques from the firm. Reid is not alone. A small squad of politicians worked to get Group 4 where it is today. First, Tory chairman Fowler helped the firm get into the prisons business in the 1990s. Group 4 tightened its grip on British jails last year when it took over rival private prisons firm GSL. It bought GSL from an investment company called Englefield Capital, which employs another Labour ex-minister, former defence secretary George Robertson, as an adviser. Group 4 then broke into the international mercenary trade by buying a company called Armor Group, whose armed men guard British officials in Iraq and Afghanistan. Up until this, Armor Group's chairman had been another top politician - leading Tory MP Malcolm Rifkind. Twenty years ago, the idea that a private company would run our jails and wars would have looked like science fiction. By hiring politicians, the "security industry" made it a reality.

January 11, 2009 The Observer
John Reid, the former home secretary, has cashed in on his ministerial experience by taking a £45,000-a-year job with private security company G4S, the Observer has learnt. His appointment comes just days after a parliamentary committee warned that former ministers have been exploiting their insider knowledge "with impunity". Formed from a merger of Group 4 and Securicor, G4S is Britain's largest security firm with contracts ranging from private prisons to the armed guards defending British officials in Iraq. The appointment was disclosed by the advisory committee on business appointments, which polices former ministers' job applications. Reid has been judged free to lobby ministers and officials on behalf of the security company. The public administration committee (PAC) called last week for all lobbying activity to be registered and monitored by a tougher watchdog - claiming the industry's attempt at self-regulation had entirely failed. "We are strongly concerned that, with the rules as loosely and as variously interpreted as they currently are, former ministers in particular appear to be able to use with impunity the contacts they built up as public servants to further a private interest," said a statement from the PAC.

June 18, 2008 NBC6
Miami-Dade County said it is poised to make good on its promise to fire Wackenhut Security from its massive contract on Metrorail trains unless it repays taxpayers millions of dollars. NBC6 has obtained internal county memos that confirm that Miami-Dade County is asking other security firms to submit bids to replace Wackenhut on Metrorail trains and other facilities. The county said Wackenhut's only hope of not getting fired is if it returns up to $6 million in taxpayer dollars. The Metrorail and Metromover systems are guarded by Wackenhut Security in a lucrative no-bid contract. The county said it is getting ready to replace Wackenhut, cutting short the existing contract unless Wackenhut makes amends. "It's very troubling," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez. In May, Alvarez threatened to fire Wackenhut. On Tuesday, it was clear that was no idle threat. "We are prepared to cancel all contracts with the Wackenhut corporation and demand that we get the money that's owed to us," Alvarez said. The county said Wackenhut scheduled guards to work partial shifts while billing taxpayers for a full shift and sometimes billing taxpayers for a post that had no guards at all, NBC6's Jeff Burnside reported. The allegations were the same as those contained in an NBC6 investigation called "A Question Of Security." The amount in question is up to $6 million. An independent audit claimed it was much more. One problem is that any company that replaces Wackenhut might need to hire some of Wackenhut's guards because of the size of the contract. In an internal memo, Wackenhut called that, "underhanded … tactics by third-party instigators." A labor union urged county commissioners Tuesday to improve working conditions in any new contract. Wackenhut had no response on Tuesday, Burnside reported. Previously, the company has disputed the allegations.

May 9, 2008 Miami-Herald
The Wackenhut Corp. overbilled Miami-Dade County as much as $6 million over three years for phantom security guards at county transit stations, according to a long-awaited audit released Thursday. County auditor Cathy Jackson -- who reviewed a sample of the bills -- found that Wackenhut, one of the country's largest security firms, routinely charged the county for empty guard posts at Metrorail stations and along bus routes, and relied on inaccurate and falsified records to try to cover up the overbilling. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has given Wackenhut 90 days to repay the county or rebut the audit findings or he will cancel the company's no-bid contract, along with a separate Wackenhut contract for guards at a juvenile detention center. Jackson said Wackenhut should also pay the county an additional $233,000 for violating the terms of its contract. Wackenhut's billing is also being examined by public-corruption detectives with the Miami-Dade Police Department. 'There is no disputing that [Miami-Dade Transit] was billed for hours not worked by Wackenhut security officers, which is a very serious offense,'' County Manager George Burgess wrote in a memo to Alvarez. Wackenhut, however, does dispute the audit. The company says Jackson used unreliable records to determine that posts were uncovered, and ignored other records that could prove guards were on duty. FIGURES DISPUTED -- While Wackenhut says it will reimburse the county for any ''substantiated billing errors,'' the company says Jackson's conclusion of $6 million in overbilling from 2002 to 2005 is an exaggerated estimate based on a small sample. ''If you start with a false premise, you end up with a false conclusion,'' said Bruce Rubin, a company spokesman. ``We respectfully but forcefully disagree with the auditor's methodology.'' Jackson based her estimate on a review of 505 billing records -- only .25 percent of the bills submitted in the three years studied -- which found $14,722 in questionable charges. She also found $83,665 in suspicious charges, but these were not included in her sample for estimation purposes. Wackenhut has been providing security for Miami-Dade Transit since 1989, and the contract has been awarded without bidding since 1994. The current contract, which pays Wackenhut as much as $17 million a year, is set to expire in November 2009. The security company, based in Palm Beach Gardens, has also spent the past three years fending off an unusual lawsuit brought by a former guard at the county's Juvenile Assessment Center, who accused her former employer of padding its bill to the county. The former guard's attorney, H. Mark Vieth, has said he believes the overbilling could be as much as $3.6 million a year. He has compiled sworn statements from ex-guards who said they struggled to fill unmanned posts, submitted false records and received pay for hours they didn't work. Jackson ''found exactly what we've been telling the county for a while now,'' Vieth said. ''I could have practically written that report for her. The only difference, really, is that we're auditing 100 percent of the bills and she's found this much fraud'' based on a far smaller sample. Wackenhut has denied wrongdoing in the suit and has challenged Vieth to provide proof of specific instances of overbilling. Vieth has enlisted a team of investigators and bookkeepers to sort through Wackenhut bills, sign-in sheets, log books and other records to prove his case, which is not yet scheduled for trial. If he wins the case -- brought under the county's False Claims Act -- his client will receive 25 percent of any damages and the county will receive 75 percent. REFUSED TO TESTIFY -- Yet the lawsuit has put Vieth at odds with the county. Last month he sought a contempt of court order against Jackson after she refused to testify about the audit before it was completed. Vieth plans to call her again for a deposition next week. The audit was costly to Wackenhut even before its release. The company had been selected by county staffers to win another $4.8 million county security contract -- before county commissioners, worried about the audit findings, decided Tuesday to scrap the bids and start over. In her audit, Jackson said Wackenhut constantly shifted guards around to cover unguarded posts, pulling in supervisors or patrols from the bus routes, but the county was billed as though all these jobs were filled. In some cases, log books at Metrorail stations contained no notes to prove a guard was there, the audit found. In other cases, the logs and other records showed guards in two different locations at the same time. Records showed that one armed guard was on duty for 34 ½ hours in a row -- violating a rule capping guards at 13 ½ hours in a 24-hour period and ''leaving in question the ability of armed employees to remain alert and responsive,'' the audit said. Wackenhut officials said the log books were never intended to be used for timekeeping, and said the absence of notes in the books do not prove a guard wasn't on duty.

May 7, 2008 Palm Beach Post
The chief of staff in training for de facto Senate President Jeff Atwater is officially off the payroll, Atwater said Wednesday. Millionaire "Budd" Kneip of Palm Beach Gardens earned a $7,000-a-month salary from the state for one month and two days to learn the ins and outs of the legislature, which was dealing with a $5 billion budget deficit. Kneip was the founder and owner of the Oasis Group, a division of Wackenhut Corp. He has no legislative experience but has run campaigns, including the one for Palm Beach County's 2004 half-penny sales tax increase to build schools. Normally, the chief of staff assumes his position when the Senate president is appointed in the fall. Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, is being challenged in his reelection bid by Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, who formerly served in the Senate with him. Florida Democrats on Tuesday formally requested public records about Kneip's hiring and asked Atwater use his campaign account to reimburse the state for Kneip's salary. "Floridians are hurting, Sen. Atwater, but your campaign coffers are not," Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman said in a letter to Atwater on Tuesday. "We were going out spending money foolishly when we don't have the money to spend," Campbell said. "Let's be honest about it. There is no chief of staff until you become senate president." Before Thurman's letter became public, Atwater said he had arranged in the final days of the legislative session for Kneip to go off the payroll. The session ended Friday. "Budd's assistance during session was invaluable. ... He has returned home to continue developing a transition plan; I look forward to Budd coming back to the Senate this fall," Atwater said. Thurman's demands were a way to help Campbell, Atwater said Wednesday. "This is a chairman trying to insert herself into a local race with no information," he said.

April 12, 2008 Palm Beach Post
Sen. Jeff Atwater has hired an aide who will get on-the-job training before he becomes Senate president chief of staff, and Atwater's campaign opponent is criticizing the expenditure. Robert "Budd" Kneip is a Palm Beach Gardens businessman with no legislative experience. He founded The Oasis Group, an outsourcing division of Wackenhut Corp. Kneip, who is earning $7,000 a month, needed to come on board early to get the feel of how the legislature runs and how government budgets are developed and negotiated before his new boss officially takes over, Atwater said. Normally the chief of staff is appointed after the legislative leader assumes his role in the fall. Atwater is being challenged for reelection in November by Democrat Skip Campbell, a trial lawyer who formerly served in the Senate alongside Atwater. Campbell criticized Kneip's salary at a time when lawmakers are slashing about $5 billion from the state budget because of plummeting tax collections. "How can we be hiring somebody for on the job training at 7K a month when we're cutting education, food for the poor, Medicaid treatment for the mentally ill? This is one of the most hypocritical actions I've seen in government," Campbell said. Kneip has sat on the advisory boards for Florida Atlantic University and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and served as chairman of the Palm Beach County Task Force on Business Development. In the latter role, he successfully pushed a 2004 referendum for a half-penny sales tax hike to pay for building schools to comply with the constitutional amendment limiting class sizes. Kneip's know-how at implementing state policy at the local level and business acumen are why he's right for the job, said Atwater, a North Palm Beach Republican. "He doesn't have the experience in this process," Atwater said. "To have him be able to watch how this works is going to help me as we think about structure, the design, the flow and process of work."

January 25, 2008 WSMV
The I-Team has uncovered a cozy relationship between a Metro employee and the security contractor he oversees.  Bill Kostrub said he doesn't want to talk about it, but part of his job with Metro government is approving payments to Wackenhut Security, a company for which he used to work. Wackenhut is now under investigation for billing irregularities at the election commission. “I appreciate your coming out, but all the questions go through Velvet,” he said. He referred reporter Nancy Amons to Velvet Hunter, who is second in command at Metro General Services, where he works. Kostrub's job at General Services includes reviewing the bills for security guards submitted by Wackenhut. Kostrub was a salesman at Wackenhut until October 2006. During the time, Wackenhut was negotiating the contract with Metro to provide security for all of its buildings. In December 2006, while contract negotiations were still going on, Kostrub went to work for Metro. Now he has the power to OK Wackenhut's invoices. Amons shared the findings with Councilman Jim Gotto. "It doesn't sound good. It doesn't look good,” he said. Channel 4 obtained a stack of invoices under the Open Records Act that shows 67 times in the last three months, Kostrub signed off on security guard bills submitted by Wackenhut. The bills cover the months when Metro auditors said Wackenhut appeared to be billing Metro for ghost employees. Metro said guards were supposed to be patrolling the Howard Office Building every Saturday. Tax dollars paid for it, but Metro said there's no evidence the guards were there. At least five of the Saturday bills were approved by Kostrub. “I'm really interested that you used to work for Wackenhut and now you approve their invoices,” said Amons. “And I can appreciate that. Talk to Velvet about it. You guys have a good day,” Kostrub said. "There's nothing wrong with this gentleman working for Metro, but he certainly doesn't need to be working for Metro on this particular contract,” Gotto said. Hunter said late Friday that Kostrup was hired through an open and competitive process and that Metro did not have a problem with his former employment. Channel 4 and the I-Team are not implying that Kostrup did anything wrong; they are just asking if it creates an ethics issue.

January 17, 2008 AP
Seven guards have been caught sleeping at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge since 2000, a federal spokesman said Wednesday. Three were fired and the rest were disciplined, said Steven Wyatt, spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a Department of Energy unit that oversees the Y-12 complex. The administration reported Monday only two guards had fallen asleep at their posts in four years at the high-security plant, about 20 miles west of Knoxville. But Wyatt said Wednesday that did not cover the full extent of Wackenhut Services Inc.'s Oak Ridge security contract, which began in January 2000. Six cases of guard-napping involving seven officers were found during the seven-year period. Y-12, a potential terrorist target containing the key ingredients for a "dirty bomb," makes uranium parts for every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It also dismantles old weapons and is the nation's primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium. Wackenhut Services' napping-guard record in Oak Ridge came up for questioning after its parent company, The Wackenhut Corp., recently lost a security contract for 10 nuclear power plants after sleeping guards were found at a Pennsylvania station. However, Florida-based Wackenhut Services Inc. is considered an independent subsidiary of The Wackenhut Corp., and has its own board of directors. "Given how serious NNSA considers our responsibility of safeguarding our nuclear facilities, we feel it is important to provide you with a complete accounting of inattention incidents involving security police officers found sleeping on the job at Y-12," Wyatt explained. Three officers were found "intentionally sleeping on duty" and were terminated -- two guards in 2000 and one in 2002. The other cases were less blatant, with discipline ranging up to three weeks' suspension without pay and 12-month probation for all of them.

January 9, 2008 NBC TV6
The CEO of Wackenhut Security, a South Florida company that has been surrounded by controversy, is stepping down. A representative with the company declined to say why Gary Sanders made the decision to quit pending a formal announcement on Wednesday. The change at the top came at a time when Wackenhut Security was facing mounting criticism in various cities, including some in South Florida where its Miami-Dade County operation is the target of a criminal probe. The county audit, which was detailed in an NBC 6 investigation of Wackenhut billing practices, is examining whether Wackenhut overcharged taxpayers millions of dollars. Sanders had been with Wackenhut for more than 25 years.

December 18, 2007 Yahoo Business Wire

Global Solutions (GSL) for £355 million to G4S. The sale, subject to EU merger clearance and South African competition commission clearance, is expected to complete in 2008. GSL is a leading provider of outsourced support services to public authorities and corporate organisations worldwide. Services are typically provided under long-term contracts (5 to 30 years) either directly to the end customer or through joint ventures and Public Private Partnerships with government and corporates. GSL has operations in the UK, South Africa and Australia. Its service offering covers three areas: Custodial services, including prison management, escorting, immigration, custody and training; Public Services, for example healthcare, education and Local Authority services; and Business services, comprising utilities, office accommodation and other managed services. Cognetas backed the original MBO of GSL in 2004 in a £207 million (€309 million) transaction. At the time, Cognetas underwrote equity and debt to facilitate certainty for the vendor with an initial commitment of £105 million (€158 million) on behalf of Cognetas Fund I. This was reduced within two months to £54 million (€81 million) by introducing senior debt. The balance of the funding was provided by Englefield Capital on behalf of the Englefield Funds. Since then Cognetas has supported management in the implementation of a growth plan that has seen revenues increase from £291 million in 2004 to over £400 million in 2007 through organic growth, in fill acquisition and expansion of services in its sectors over three continents with the number of staff employed increasing by over 25% to more than 9,500. Nigel McConnell, Managing Partner of Cognetas commented: “We are delighted to be associated with the success of GSL over the past three years and we are pleased to see that the dynamic management team has built the business into a worldwide quality provider of outsourced services. We leave the business on extremely sound and robust grounds which will help sustain its continued growth. I am confident that being part of a larger global business like G4S will take this business forward to a new level and I wish them well”.


December 10, 2007 NBC TV6
Miami-Dade and federal investigators raided the headquarters Friday night of one of the county's largest government contractors. NBC 6 was the first to report in May that Wackenhut Security is under a criminal investigation for overbilling taxpayers millions of dollars, money for work on transit and the downtown juvenile center. NBC 6 camera's filmed public corruption investigators and police removing boxes filled with documents from Wackenhut's Miami-Dade headquarters on Blue Lagoon Drive. Investigators were there for several hours and were being assisted by top Wackenhut executives. Wackenhut has repeatedly declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement that the company was cooperating with authorities. "The Wackenhut Corporation ('Wackenhut') continues to cooperate with Miami-Dade County ('MDC'), and voluntarily provided MDC additional records and documents yesterday to assist and facilitate MDC’s investigation and audit of Wackenhut’s performance under its security contract with the Miami Dade Transit Authority," said Drew Levine, president of the Security Services Division. "Wackenhut is proud of its service and performance under its contracts with Miami-Dade County and is very confident that after a thorough investigation the County will conclude that Wackenhut acted properly and performed its responsibilities under the contract in a highly professional and responsible manner." The company has previously denied overbilling taxpayers. Miami-Dade County is nearing completion of an audit of Wackenhut's billing practices. The preliminary audit found serious discrepancies.

November 29, 2007 The Telegraph
Group4Securicor is in talks to buy Global Solutions, a company it used to own, for around £350m. Earlier this year, private equity firm Cognetas appointed investment bank UBS to carry out a strategic review of Global Solutions, which runs a number of Britain's prisons and detention centres. However, the credit crunch forced Cognetas to put the review of Global Solutions on hold. Since then, the company has received a number of approaches, including one from Group4Securicor. Cognetas bought Global Solutions, which also manages hospitals, schools and tourist offices, from Danish security firm Group 4 Falk for about £200m three years ago. Group4Securicor is now understood to be carrying out due diligence on the business. However, it is not the only company bidding. Sources said US group GEO and several private equity firms have also made approaches for the company. Global Solutions has previously come under the spotlight for the way it runs its prisons and detention centres, following the Government's privatisation of the sector. Earlier this year, there was a Panorama investigation by an undercover BBC reporter, who worked as a custody officer, in one of Global Solutions' prisons at Rye Hill. None of the parties involved would comment.

August 26, 2007 The Observer
A possible sale or flotation of Global Solutions, which runs a number of Britain's prisons and detention centres, has been shelved by private equity owner Cognetas, according to City sources. UBS, the investment bank that was appointed last month to undertake a strategic review of the prisons group, is understood to have advised Cognetas against a move while global credit and stock markets are still on tenterhooks. Cognetas bought Global Solutions, which also manages hospitals, schools and tourist offices, from Danish security firm Group 4 Falk for about £200m three years ago. The company has stoked occasional controversy, most recently after the BBC's Panorama programme looked into the way Global Solutions ran Rye Hill prison, near Rugby, Warwickshire. The jail was the subject of a report by the chief inspector of prisons, Anne Owers, who found the staff were inexperienced. There has also been criticism of the way it runs asylum centres - last year, a prisons inspectorate inquiry was ordered into Yarl's Wood, an immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire that was formerly run by Global.

June 14, 2007 The Telegraph
Global Solutions, a company that runs some of Britain's prisons and detention centres, may be about to change hands for around £400m. Private equity firm Cognetas, which owns Global Solutions, has appointed investment bank UBS to carry out a strategic review of the business, according to sources familiar with the matter. It is understood that the review is likely to examine a float, sale, refinancing and possible future acquisition for the business. Sources stressed that the strategic review might not necessarily lead to an imminent sale of Global Solutions, which Cognetas bought in 2004 from Danish security firm Group 4 Falck for around £207m. The move comes as Global Solutions - which also builds and manages hospitals, schools and tourist offices for several public organisations around the world - has come under the public spotlight for the way it runs its prisons and detention centres, following the Government's privatisation of the sector. Earlier this year, there was a Panorama investigation by an undercover BBC reporter, who worked as a custody officer, in one of Global Solutions' prisons at Rye Hill. Global Solutions' detention centres for asylum seekers have also been criticised. Last year, a prison inspectorate inquiry was ordered after two refugees had to go to hospital following prolonged detention in Yarl's Wood, an immigration removal centre formerly run by Global Solutions. Cognetas declined to comment.

February 16, 2006 BBC
A councillor has called for an urgent review of security after two prisoners escaped from Derby Crown Court in the space of a week. Derby city councillor Richard Smalley said one of the prisoners was on remand for allegedly being involved in a post-office robbery in his ward. Kabbar Kamara, 25, from Liverpool made his escape after being refused bail. He appeared in a court on the top floor before getting away in a manner likened to the fictional character Spiderman. Unsuccessful search. He punched his way through the dock, ran from the court and into a toilet. He squeezed through a window, climbed onto a roof, jumped down to another level and dropped 12 feet to the ground. Police used a helicopter and dogs to search for him but without success. Previously Fabian Wilson, 23, from Derby absconded after appearing in court charged with breaching a community service order. Mr Smalley, deputy Conservative leader on the city council, said: "I think it's of paramount importance that the way offenders or alleged offenders are handled within the court is looked at and tightened up." Security at the court is handled by GLS, formerly Group 4. A spokesman said a review would be conducted to identify any lessons that could be learned from the escapes.

December 18, 2007 Yahoo Business Wire
Cognetas, an independent mid-market pan-European private equity firm specialising in complex deals, today announces the sale of Global Solutions (GSL) for £355 million to G4S. The sale, subject to EU merger clearance and South African competition commission clearance, is expected to complete in 2008. GSL is a leading provider of outsourced support services to public authorities and corporate organisations worldwide. Services are typically provided under long-term contracts (5 to 30 years) either directly to the end customer or through joint ventures and Public Private Partnerships with government and corporates. GSL has operations in the UK, South Africa and Australia. Its service offering covers three areas: Custodial services, including prison management, escorting, immigration, custody and training; Public Services, for example healthcare, education and Local Authority services; and Business services, comprising utilities, office accommodation and other managed services. Cognetas backed the original MBO of GSL in 2004 in a £207 million (€309 million) transaction. At the time, Cognetas underwrote equity and debt to facilitate certainty for the vendor with an initial commitment of £105 million (€158 million) on behalf of Cognetas Fund I. This was reduced within two months to £54 million (€81 million) by introducing senior debt. The balance of the funding was provided by Englefield Capital on behalf of the Englefield Funds. Since then Cognetas has supported management in the implementation of a growth plan that has seen revenues increase from £291 million in 2004 to over £400 million in 2007 through organic growth, in fill acquisition and expansion of services in its sectors over three continents with the number of staff employed increasing by over 25% to more than 9,500. Nigel McConnell, Managing Partner of Cognetas commented: “We are delighted to be associated with the success of GSL over the past three years and we are pleased to see that the dynamic management team has built the business into a worldwide quality provider of outsourced services. We leave the business on extremely sound and robust grounds which will help sustain its continued growth. I am confident that being part of a larger global business like G4S will take this business forward to a new level and I wish them well”.

November 29, 2007 The Telegraph
Group4Securicor is in talks to buy Global Solutions, a company it used to own, for around £350m. Earlier this year, private equity firm Cognetas appointed investment bank UBS to carry out a strategic review of Global Solutions, which runs a number of Britain's prisons and detention centres. However, the credit crunch forced Cognetas to put the review of Global Solutions on hold. Since then, the company has received a number of approaches, including one from Group4Securicor. Cognetas bought Global Solutions, which also manages hospitals, schools and tourist offices, from Danish security firm Group 4 Falk for about £200m three years ago. Group4Securicor is now understood to be carrying out due diligence on the business. However, it is not the only company bidding. Sources said US group GEO and several private equity firms have also made approaches for the company. Global Solutions has previously come under the spotlight for the way it runs its prisons and detention centres, following the Government's privatisation of the sector. Earlier this year, there was a Panorama investigation by an undercover BBC reporter, who worked as a custody officer, in one of Global Solutions' prisons at Rye Hill. None of the parties involved would comment.

November 20, 2007 This Is Hampshire
A SECURITY firm employee who was heavily in debt stole £25,000 following an extraordinary blunder by two colleagues, a court heard. The cash had been collected from the London Road branch of Nat West in Southampton - and left overnight at the depot. The following day, Paul Dean spotted the bag and stole it, dropping it off at home before continuing with his deliveries. Police carried out a major investigation during which Dean and a co-driver were suspended from their jobs with Group 4 Securicor. Seven months after the theft last November, they executed a warrant at Dean's home and recovered more than £10,000. Some of the proceeds had been spent on a large slim line television, Mr Anderson added. Southampton Crown Court heard the two men who had left the cash behind were fired and Dean's colleague, though exonerated, had resigned. Dean, 51, of Maclean Road, Bournemouth, admitted theft and was jailed for 12 months. In mitigation, Christopher Gair said Dean lost his wife in a road accident in 1994 and had debts of £24,000. A month before the theft, he had been given two county court judgments against him. "In a moment of madness he took advantage of the money left there," said Mr Gair.

November 1, 2007 This Is Leicestershire
An "inside man" involved in a plot to steal £1 million from a Securicor van has been jailed for four years. Ex-soldier Neil Colbourne, from Hinckley, worked for the firm in the lead-up to the robbery bid, which would have involved kidnapping a driver's wife. He was among six gang members who were jailed in connection with the case. A court heard how the plan involved two kidnappers seizing a driver's wife at her home in Swanscombe, Kent, and holding her hostage while others raided her husband's security van at gunpoint. But the plan to target a depot in Dartford, Kent, was foiled when a seventh member of the gang, brothel keeper Vincent Calleja, turned himself in to police. Police swooped on the gang's headquarters the night before the heist last June and found two guns and ammunition, balaclavas, and cable ties. They also found keys to a stolen Renault Espace. Four of the men were found guilty on June 29 of conspiracy to rob and were sentenced on Monday at Guildford Crown Court. Ashley O'Driscoll (21), from Eaton Grove, in Mitcham, Surrey, Billy French (22), from Steers Mead, Mitcham, and Michael Cloherty (41), of no fixed address, were each sentenced to 15 years. The father of Billy French, unemployed Clive Tedder (42), from Spencer Roady, Mitcham, received 18 years. Colbourne, now 34, who had an address in Hinckley and Orpington, Kent, had worked as a guard for Group 4 Securicor and was sentenced to four years, while 33-year-old Wayne McKenna-Bruce, from Chislehurst, Kent, was sentenced to three years in prison. The pair's conspiracy to steal pleas were accepted after a court heard they had not known about the full scale of the plot. The seventh member, Vincent Calleja (45), from Tadworth, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and seven unrelated human trafficking and prostitution charges, and is to be sentenced.

November 1, 2007 PR News
The Wackenhut Corporation ("Wackenhut" or "the Company") today filed a civil action against the Service Employees International Union ("SEIU" or "the Union"). The lawsuit is in response to the SEIU's malicious, four-year, international corporate campaign to force Wackenhut to recognize the Union as the employees' bargaining representative while denying the employees their federal rights to free choice and a secret ballot election. The SEIU's top-down, wholesale, organizing attack also would compromise the quality of Wackenhut's services by forcing the Company to deal with a union that also represents workers other than guards which federal law specifically prohibits as an appropriate unit for representation and bargaining. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the lawsuit alleges violations of the federal Racketeering Influenced Corporations Act, 18 U.S.C. section 1961 et seq., and seeks injunctive relief, treble compensatory damages and costs.

September 14, 2007 BBC
A security worker has been jailed for stealing almost £130,000 in coins from parking meters on Teesside. Bryn Lynas, 47, of Ormesby, Middlesbrough, was employed to empty the machines in Redcar and Cleveland. At Teesside Crown Court, the former Group 4 Securicor Cash Services employee pleaded guilty to the theft of £128,301 from January 2004 to May 2006. Jailing him for 21 months, Judge Tony Briggs told Lynas he had grossly abused a position of trust. Group 4 was contracted by Redcar and Cleveland Council to empty parking meters. An audit revealed tens of thousands of pounds was missing and when Lynas was arrested last year he told police: "I've got a bag full of money on my back seat." He was interviewed and admitted taking cash from the machines, but said he had been doing it for only 10 months The court was shown footage from a camera covertly placed by police in Lynas' van, in which he repeatedly attempts to prise open cash boxes with a screwdriver. He also admitted money laundering between June 2004 and last May, but disputed stealing £40,000 of the total, claiming that he was not employed on some of the days stated in the case. But Judge Briggs said "the loss of at least £80,000-£90,000" and "dishonesty of this magnitude" required a significant sentence.

September 14, 2007 24 Dash
A security worker who stole nearly £130,000 in coins from parking meters he was employed to empty is facing jail. Bryn Lynas, 47, plundered the machines in Cleveland for two years before his bungled get-rich-quick scheme was uncovered by his bosses. When Lynas was arrested in May last year, after an audit revealed tens of thousands of pounds were missing, he told police: "I\'ve got a bag full of money on my back seat." Officers searched his vehicle and found a bag containing more than £500 stuffed in the footwell of the Renault Megane. Lynas was interviewed and admitted taking cash from the machines, but said he had been doing it for only 10 months. Police inquiries revealed that his partner, Susan Shaw, also 47, had received £23,655 in her bank account from Lynas. She was arrested for a money laundering offence, but had the charges dropped by prosecutors at Teesside Crown Court in August. Lynas, of Ormesby, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court on August 8 to the theft of £128,301 between January 2004 and May last year, and money laundering between June 2004 and last May. His case was adjourned until today for reports. Lynas was employed by Group 4 Securicor Cash Services, which was contracted by the borough council to empty parking meters. Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said it was pleased Lynas had been brought to justice but added the cash collecting contract was re-tendered last year and given to a different company.

September 6, 2007 News Shopper
A FORMER soldier has been jailed for four years for his part in a plot to steal more than £1m from security vans - including his own. Neil Colbourne had worked for Securicor for two years when he was the "victim" of an armed robbery outside the HSBC bank in Sydenham. But he was an accomplice and slipped the money box containing £25,000 out of the back of his van to a waiting vehicle before calling the police claiming he had been robbed. Prosecutor Maria Kariaskos told Guildford Crown Court the 33-year-old later changed his story, saying there was no gun involved. He also failed to pick out the real "robbers" in an identification parade. Officers arrested him after studying CCTV footage of the incident on May 16 last year. He could be seen waiting for a minute-and-a-half until the vehicle being used by the "robbers" arrived. Colbourne, of Station Square, Petts Wood, admitted a charge of conspiracy to steal. He also pleaded guilty to another count of conspiracy to steal for helping a gang to plot a £1m theft from another van. The cash handler and his old Army friend Wayne McKenna-Bruce, aged 33, gave the gang the van driver's name and the registration numbers of his car and of two Securicor vehicles. This enabled them to follow their intended target to his house and plan their attack. McKenna-Bruce, from Sevenoaks, pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to steal and was sentenced to three years in jail. James Scobie, representing McKenna-Bruce, said the two defendants thought the driver in the second incident was in on the plot and violence would not be threatened or used.

August 26, 2007 Sunday Mail
A SECURITY van driver who claimed he was robbed by gunmen wearing fake Mexican moustaches has admitted lying to steal more than £300,000. Ian Watt, 44, made up the far-fetched tale about how his Group 4 van was robbed at gunpoint because he was desperate for cash. Watt even went to the trouble of driving himself to a forest outside Edinburgh and bound his own hands to make it look as if he had been assaulted and robbed. Police issued an appeal for witnesses through TV and newspapers and quizzed 500 drivers close to where the alleged robbery was meant to have happened. But they later found CCTV footage of Watt sitting in his vehicle at a time he said he was being beaten, bound and blindfolded by the desperado gang. Then they checked the tracking system on his van and found it did not match his story. Detectives confronted the ex-soldier, who admitted he had buried the load in a nearby wood. Last week he was jailed for 16 months for stealing £271,963.94 in cash, £41,928.72 in cheques and £236.61 in euros. He also confessed to wasting police time. Watt claimed he took the money to help bail out his new girlfriend, who was going through an expensive divorce. A police insider said: "This is one of the most bizarre cases we have ever dealt with. "The guy went to extreme measures to look convincing and on the face of it this was a very serious robbery. "The guys working on the case were incredulous when the truth emerged." Watt had been working for Group 4 security for more than 20 years when he faked the robbery in May.

March 23, 2007 The Telegraph
Ministers have been forced to act after receiving disturbing evidence of equipment failures and doctored record-keeping within Group 4 Securicor Justice Services, which operates 60 per cent of tags for offenders released early under the Home Detention Curfew scheme. A 130-page dossier obtained by a BBC journalist, who worked undercover for five months in the security company's Nottingham operations centre, includes the following allegations: A manager secretly taped saying that three paedophiles were not being monitored. A prisoner incorrectly returned to jail for seven weeks because of a blunder by the security company. A violent offender breached his bail conditions by going into a pub 10 minutes after removing his tag the night before his court appearance. An employee mocked Victor Bates, a campaigner against tagging whose wife Marian was shot dead in their jewellery shop after the gunman's accomplice had ripped off his tag. A prisoner convicted of indecent assault on home leave was unmonitored for several days because his tagging equipment failed. The revelations will further undermine confidence in tagging after figures revealed that inmates let out under the system committed more than 1,000 violent crimes including four manslaughters, one murder, 56 woundings and more than 700 assaults since it was introduced in 1999. The investigation also discovered evidence of staff fabricating records to save money. G4S is paid around £45 million a year by the Home Office to administer the curfew system. After being confronted with the evidence G4S, which has admitted there was faulty equipment, has been forced to apologise and has suspended five employees in Nottingham. A spokesman for the Home Office said: "Public protection is the Government's first priority. The findings of this programme are of concern. We are reviewing the contract and will be asking G4S urgent questions to ensure that these allegations are thoroughly investigated and issues arising are addressed." The investigation by a team from BBC Inside Out East Midlands disclosed that the monitoring boxes in tagged offenders homes, which relay information about their movements, routinely broke down. One factor in the failure of the system could be that G4S, which has admitted there was a batch of faulty equipment in Nottingham, uses the mobile telephone network technology rather than fixed lines. Steve Green, the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, said the Home Office had to establish whether the Nottingham problems were nationwide. "I want to urgently know if is this a Nottingham problem or a G4S problem. If it is a G4S problem and this is the way company is run then that puts a huge responsibility on the Home Office to tackle and address because that is not acceptable," he said. Ian Ridgely, chief operations officer at G4S, said: "We believe in a small number of cases that we may not have been monitoring to the level that we would expect to, we apologise for that, we accept that. From that point of view we recognise that the Home Office requires us to work to a very high standard and of course we are sorry that in some minor number of instances, we may not have operated to those standards."

February 20, 2007 Great Yarmouth Mercury
An opportunist thief stole a Securicor van containing more than £35,000 after a guard left the keys in the ignition and the engine running, a court heard yesterday. The Securicor guard had just collected the cash from Norwich city centre car parks leaving his security van unlocked, when Martin Chapman, 31, saw his chance and stole the van containing the cash, Norwich Crown Court heard. Duncan O'Donnell, prosecuting, said the van was later found abandoned at Swanton Road travellers site in Norwich and Chapman was later arrested and £26,000 of the cash was recovered. However Mr O'Donnell said the security guard responsible for leaving the van unattended had since lost his job. Chapman, of Rosedale Gardens, Belton, near Yarmouth, admitted taking a Securicor van and stealing £9,239.50 on October 18. He was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for a year and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work. Guy Ayers, mitigating, said it was an unusual set of circumstances. “It was purely opportunistic. He saw the van left in this way and thought it was careless and took advantage of that particular driver's way of working.” He said Chapman was genuinely sorry that the guard had lost his job. Chapman who was of previous good character was unlikely to re-offending, Mr Ayers added.

August 12, 2006 Daily Telegraph
INDIA'S biggest private airline Jet Airways would suspend a British employee arrested in London over an alleged plot to blow up US airliners, it said today. "(Asmin) Tariq is being suspended pending a full investigation, having not reported for duty for the past couple of days," an airline statement said. Tariq, a Jet security employee, was among 24 people arrested in Britain earlier this week over the alleged plot to use suicide bombers with explosives to blow US airliners out of the sky. One person was later freed. Jet said Tariq, who holds a British passport, was transferred to Jet in March from global security group G4S - previously called Securicor - after the airline ended its contract with the company. Jet, which flies to London and other international destinations as well as serving Indian domestic routes, said under British employment law, it had been obliged to take on employees working for G4S before the contract ended.

July 15, 2006 Preston Today
Police have launched a manhunt after a rapist from Preston prison escaped on his way to court. Mustafa Ismail, 35, was being taken from HMP Preston to the Manchester Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Court when he escaped from the Group 4 Securicor vehicle. Detectives are appealing to the public for information about Ismail but warning not to approach him. The Somalian was at the end of a five year sentence for rape. He was on remand at HMP Preston pending a decision over his deportation. The hearing he was due to attend was to hear his application for asylum in the UK. Police have described him as a black man with black hair and brown eyes, about 6ft (1.8m) tall and of slim build. He was travelling in an escort van when he escaped near the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Court in Manchester's Piccadilly, at about 11.30am on Thursday. It is believed he was being handcuffed when he pushed over one of the guards and fled on foot. A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that on 13 July, at approximately 11.15am, an immigration detainee escaped from our care at Manchester Asylum and Tribunal Court. "Greater Manchester Police were informed and we are working closely with them to ensure the apprehension of the detainee. "The incident will be fully investigated and any necessary action will be taken in conjunction with the Home Office." Group 4 guards were trying to handcuff Ismail when he fled. They took chase but were unable to catch him. Nobody was injured. CCTV footage from the van is now being examined, as well as cameras from the local vicinity.

May 23, 2006 The Mirror
IN THE latest major Home Office blunder, 2,700 innocent people were branded as criminals. They were labelled robbers, thieves and sex offenders because their names and dates of birth matched those of convicted criminals. As a result, many were refused jobs, turned down for university or threatened with the sack. The shambles was the fault of the Home Office Criminal Records Bureau, which is managed by private-sector IT firm Capita. Unions say the increasing involvement of private firms in government departments will lead to more mistakes. A Unison spokesman said yesterday: "So many different parts of our public services are in disarray, and privatisation has played a big part in this. "There's a conflict between the motivations of private companies and their clients, the government. For private firms there's a pressing need to be competitive and deliver profits to the shareholder. Prison security COMPANY: Group 4 RESPONSIBLE for a catalogue of blunders, including allowing seven prisoners to escape while ferrying them between prison and court in the East Midlands and Yorkshire in 1993. In the same year, a prisoner fled Group 4 custody at a Hull court. Two years ago, killer Gordon Topen escaped from HMP Rye Hill. Now known as Group 4 Securicor, it detains and escorts asylum seekers, and made a profit of £254million last year.

May 19, 2006 The Mirror
A WHISTLEBLOWER last night claimed the UK's deportation system is a shambolic failure that does nothing to ease our spiralling immigration crisis. The Group 4 Securicor officer, who escorts deportees back to their home country, insists an amazing 6 in 10 efforts end in failure. He says many manage to get sent back to UK detention centres by harming themselves or their children on the way to the airport. Others cause such uproar on the plane that pilots insist they are removed. In the worst cases private jets allegedly have to be charted at vast expense to get them home. And the officer claims it will take 23 years to clear out huge backlog of illegal immigrants. He said: "It's about time people knew what a state the system is in. We have a 60 percent cancellation rate on deportations and it's getting worse. "The deportees will use every trick in the book to avoid getting kicked out. The men will kick and spit and scream that they have HIV. The officer said many corrupt officials in foreign countries refuse to let the deportees in - unless they get a large backhander. He said: "We are often going to banana republics where the authorities will say they don't have the right paperwork or deny the deportee is from their country. Then they ask us for bribes." The officer claimed he and his colleagues often have no choice but to pay the backhander with company cash or credit cards that are supposed to be used for expenses. He added: "Although it's not our money, we try and keep the price down as we resent paying bribes." The whistleblower is a Detention Custody Officer with Group 4 Securicor, which has the Home Office contract to run detention centres and escort failed asylum seekers. He is from the West Midlands but works at Group 4's Overseas Escorting headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex. His duties include collecting failed asylum seekers from UK detention centres and escorting them home. He claims that for high-profile or troublesome deportees, Group 4 Securicor charters a private jet to fly them home - at a rate of up to £1,500-an-hour. The officer said: "It's a shocking waste of taxpayers' money. But the bosses say it's the only way." According to a 2005 National Audit Office report, the average cost of deporting an illegal immigrant is £11,000 per person. Group 4 Securicor last night denied company money was used to pay bribes. A spokesman said: "We provide credit cards and petty cash to cover incidental expenses. We deny paying bribes." The company said the whistleblower's claims of a 60 percent failure rate were false, saying "Less than one per cent of our removals result in immigration detainees being returned to the UK." The firm refused to reveal how many deportees fail to leave the UK. The Home Office admitted chartering flights "when economical and efficient to do so". The spokesman added: "We strongly refute these allegations and do not recognise the figures being quoted."

July 9, 2005
Here is a story about your taxes at work. It concerns a company called GSL (Australia) Pty Ltd, previously known as Group 4 Correction Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British security company Group 4 Securitas, whose core business includes running prisons. GSL's parent has merged twice in the past five years. The second time was a year ago, with a British-based multinational called Securicor to create "one of the largest security companies in the world, with 340,000 employees in 108 countries", according to GSL's website.  On July 13, 2004, GSL was sold, for $500 million, as a stand-alone company to "two of Europe's leading private equity companies, Englefield Capital and Electra Partners Europe". The GSL website says GSL has 8000 employees globally, including 1064 in Australia.  A year earlier, on August 27, 2003, GSL signed a contract with the Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs to take over the operation of all its mainland "immigration detention facilities". The contract runs for four years, with a government option for another three years.  The cost to taxpayers: $90 million a year.  That is, $90 million "not including overheads and contract administration", according to the Auditor-General, whose office has just investigated the Immigration Department's management of the GSL contract. What do taxpayers get for their $90 million?  Well, the first thing they get is a bill for another $30 million, which is what the Audit Office found it now costs the department in annual overheads to administer the contract. These costs have gone up at the same time as the number of detainees has gone down. In 2003-04 administration costs totalled $20 million, while in the year just ended June 30 they were "projected to reach $30 million".  The number of detainees, as at June 29, was 844. Do your sums on a total cost of $120 million and you'll find the detention of each and every detainee cost taxpayers an average $142,000 throughout 2004-05. Perhaps this is why GSL Australia's managing director, Peter Olszak, is quoted on the company website as "expressing confidence 'we will continue to go from strength to strength'."   The Audit Office, in its report released this week, says the Immigration Department stated it funded $120.5 million in 2004-05 to provide "lawful, appropriate, humane and efficient detention of unlawful non-citizens". It also found the department's "internal monitoring and reporting arrangements" neither defined nor measured "lawful, appropriate, humane or efficient detention".  The report's overall conclusion, in part: "The contract does not establish clear expectations for the level and quality of services delivered, mechanisms to protect the Commonwealth's interests are not clear, and there is insufficient information about the quality of services and their costs to allow a value-for-money calculation."  All of which means what?  Labor's Sharon Grierson, deputy chairwoman of Parliament's public accounts and audit committee, was the only MP to respond to the Audit Office report. Grierson said in a statement on Thursday: "The department has no idea what is going on inside detention centres. The last thing we should do is assume anything about these centres, given the culture of complacency and the lack of proper review. The ANAO report makes it clear there is simply no way of knowing whether the Commonwealth is receiving value for money or, more importantly, whether the needs of detainees are being met. The department simply shuts its eyes and hopes for the best. DIMIA has absolutely no idea if (or to what extent) it is insured for incidents at detention centres, why the cost of detention is rising even while the number of detainees is falling, or even what assets and equipment it owns in these centres."  A lot of "don't knows" for $120 million.

June 30, 2005 The Statesman
Britain’s asylum policy came under renewed scrutiny on Monday as dozens of Zimbabweans staged a hunger strike in protest at their imminent deportation and Kurdish Turks mourned a teenage detainee who has killed himself. The Archbishop of Canterbury and former Labour leader Lord Kinnock joined protests over the decision to send failed asylum-seekers back to Robert Mugabe’s regime. Dr Rowan Williams said it would be “deeply immoral” to send failed claimants back to a country where they could face persecution and torture. Lord Kinnock said it would be better to let “a couple of dozen” unjustified claimants remain in Britain than risk sending back people who needed protection. Zimbabweans at the Campsfield detention centre in Oxfordshire said they had been told the Government has delayed further deportations for two weeks, which would forestall the embarrassing prospect of Tony Blair hosting the G8 summit that will focus on the plight of Africa while dozens of Africans are in Britain on hunger strike at his government’s policy.

May 30, 2005 Financial Times
The government is reviewing the future role of the private sector in the Prison Service, while putting on hold further building under the private finance initiative. The rethink was signalled last week when Charles Clarke, home secretary, decided to postpone until the autumn plans to privatise the first cluster of three state-run prisons. Although the private sector has built and run prisons under PFI, these would have been the first group of older prisons to be taken over by independent companies. The decision is part of a deal reached with the Prison Officers' Association and commits the union to helping to improve standards at the three prisons on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, which together hold 2,000 men. The prisons - Elmley, Standford Hill and Swaleside - were earmarked in March for "market testing", under which private companies were to be invited to compete with the public sector to run them. Group 4, one of the bigger companies involved in the prison sector, said it was "disappointed" by last week's decision. The company suspects that the decision reflects an unresolved process of change within the sector following the creation last year of the National Offender Management Service to run prison and probation services. According to a report published last January by the Prison Reform Trust, despite the dramatic increase in the role of the private sector in the Prison Service, private companies are no better at running prisons than are their public sector counterparts. An estimated 10 per cent of the record prison population in England and Wales of 76,035 are held in private prisons, making the UK the most privatised prison system in Europe. Of the 139 prisons, nine have been built and are being run by private companies under PFI contracts.

April 9, 2005 The Guardian
Security firms involved in the deportation of failed asylum seekers are facing more and more claims of intimidation and assault. Group 4/Global Solutions Ltd (GSL) topped the league table of complaints by asylum seekers and their lawyers. Campaigners who studied 35 complaints now being pursued by lawyers revealed GSL was involved in 30% of cases. GSL, which deals with by far the majority of deportees in Britain, recently won a 10-year Home Office contract to run Bicester Accommodation Centre for asylum seekers. The firm was criticised last month after the broadcast of the BBC documentary Asylum Undercover, which contained claims of abuse by GSL guards. Most of the alleged assaults analysed involve incidents on the way to or at airports. Most concern incidents resulting in cuts, bruises and swelling, although deportees have complained of head injuries, damaged nerves, and sexual assault.

March 31, 2005 IRR News
Recent unannounced inspections of centres used to hold asylum seekers in transit to detention centres and to ports for deportation have found that no centre meets the minimum requirements in relation to child protection. Officials carried out their first (unannounced) inspections into 'holding' centres for asylum seekers between June and October 2004. The holding centres, all run by private company GSL Ltd, (formerly Group 4) were: Communications House (Old Street, London), Lunar House (Croydon), Electric House (Croydon) and Dallas Court (Manchester). The report states that 'all four holding centres had inadequate provision for childcare and child protection. None had a child protection policy in place, and staff likely to be in contact with children had not undergone enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks.' At Lunar House the inspection team reported that they 'spoke to one woman detainee with a two-year-old child during the mid-afternoon. She and the child had been in other areas of the building since 8am that morning. Neither she nor her child had been offered anything to eat during that time and had to wait for relocation to a residential centre that evening.' They found that this was 'unacceptable'. At Dallas Court, the team found that 'a weekend shift recently complained when they discovered a young woman in the holding room who had miscarried a few days previously. She had been collected from a hospital following psychiatric referral, had not eaten for three days and had to be helped to and from the van. She was subject to a live F2052SH self-harm monitoring form because she kept asking for her baby and said she wanted to die. Having been delivered to the holding room in the morning, she was not due to be collected by another vehicle until more than six hours later.' For the first time it emerged that other private contractors (unnamed in this report) are being used to move asylum seekers - though GSL Ltd remains responsible for the four holding centres inspected here. The inspection teams also found a worrying 'absence of operational or independent oversight, compared to other immigration detention facilities. There was no Independent Monitoring Board, and no on-site monitor to provide daily oversight of service provision, as there is in immigration removal centres (IRCs). Senior Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) staff visited only occasionally, and, with the exception of Dallas Court, had little involvement with the centres.'

January 13, 2005 PR Newswire
The Wackenhut Corporation, the U.S.-based division of the large U.K. and European security contractor, Group 4 Securicor, has apparently persuaded the U.S. National Labor Relations Board ["NLRB"] to pursue allies of Protects USA. Late last week, the NLRB notified Protects USA ally at the non-profit Prewitt Organizing Fund ["POF"] a formal investigation was under way. "They are requesting private information on activists, allies and funding. It's clearly a continuation of G4-Wackenhut's witch hunt for scapegoats," says Protects USA spokesperson Adam Wilson. "Protects USA and POF are not parties in any matter before the NLRB. We will notify the NLRB that the request will be taken under advisement as it comes in tandem with the intimidation lawsuit G4/Wackenhut filed last month to silence Protects USA," said Wilson. Since last summer, Protects USA and similar groups [Denver PROTECTS, New York/New Jersey PROTECTS, California PROOFERS, Albuquerque-based BOCAS] have conducted more than 200 peaceful public information events in 14 states, aimed at educating the public about the current condition of homeland security. U.K.-based G4/Wackenhut filed a lawsuit in federal court on December 6 to silence its U.S.-based critics and stop public advocacy conducted by Protects USA. Protects USA, a citizen-based homeland security advocacy project, seeks to educate the public on the perils of handing over the security of our most sensitive sites to private profiteers with spotty records or worse.

April 25, 2004
Police may charge private security company Group 4 tens of thousands of pounds after an 11-day hunt to recapture a dangerous escaped murderer.  Gordon Topen, who was 12 years into a life sentence for killing a businessman, broke free from two Group 4 security officer sat Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry, on Good Friday.  West Midlands Police launched a huge manhunt for the murderer - who had been in hospital for a blood transfusion - involving officers, sniffer dogs and helicopters but he evaded capture.  More than 20 Coventry detectives spent 11 days in a nationwide operation to catch the killer who, it was feared, could try to hunt down the Midland ex-girlfriend whose evidence put him behind bars.  He was finally snared when officers in London discovered Topen holed up in a friend’s house following a tip-off.  Now the Sunday Mercury understands that West Midlands Police may hit Group 4 with a bill for the costs of the manhunt if it believes the security firm was negligent in the escape.    (Sunday Mercury)

MANCHESTER'S new £30m court is at the centre of a new storm after dozens of prisoners were hours late arriving from their cells.  Furious lawyers sat around for up to three hours yesterday waiting for their clients to arrive from police stations, including Bootle Street less than a mile away.  GSL, the private security firm that ferries prisoners to the court, blamed "logistical problems" and has apologised to court authorities.  It is the latest in a string of problems at the court since it opened in May.   Around 40 people were due to be moved from holding cells in Manchester to the court before 10am yesterday, in time for morning hearings.  Less than half were delivered on time and more were dropped off at 11am and 11.45am. Lawyers were still waiting for at least eight clients at 12.30pm. GSL, part of Group 4, said the final transfer was made at 12.45pm.  Court bosses have already threatened to fine GSL for previous failures to get prisoners into court on time.  (Manchester Online)

September 16, 2003
THE man charged with bringing about a dramatic improvement at Liverpool Prison has left to join the private sector.  John Smith was governor at the troubled Walton jail for just six months and has now joined the board of directors at Premier Prisons.  After he quit on Thursday, Prison Service chiefs moved quickly to replace Mr Smith with Liverpool Prison's first female governor.  Catherine James took up her new post yesterday and is now charged with providing a much improved service at the jail which faces being privatised after it was branded as a "failing" operation earlier this year.  Ms James has previously been employed at Liverpool Prison (Walton) in a role as governor with responsibility for health care before leaving to take up a post at Stoke Heath Young Offenders Institute.  When John Smith became governor in April he pledged to stave off privatisation.  Last night, one prison officer told the Daily Post: "The first we knew about the governor leaving was when we were called into a meeting on Friday.  "We were all stunned because we hadn't heard anything beforehand.  "The fact that he was allowed to leave with immediate effect and there was already someone ready to come in and replace him seems a bit strange though.  "It is all a bit ironic because when he took the job Smith told us that he was desperate to keep Liverpool, and all prisons, out of the private sector and yet he has now gone to work for Premier Prisons which has just opened a new private sector prison in Peterborough."  A spokesman for Premier Prisons said: "John Smith is a very able governor and prison manager and since we are looking to strengthen our corporate office he comes as an excellent addition to our team.  "We have been strengthening from within but we have also been looking to bring someone in with outside experience. John gave his notice in to the Prison Service and we are delighted he has decided to join us."  Last night the Home Office was keeping tight-lipped about the reasons for Mr Smith leaving only to stress that his departure had nothing to do with an impending report on the prison's performance.  Four Prison Service troubleshooters have been based at Walton for the last six months and are due to report back to the Home Office next Monday on how the regime meets security and safety targets and how offenders are resettled in the community after release.  If the report says the prison is still failing it could be contracted out, without an in-house bid, in which case management of the jail would pass to the private sector.  A spokesman for the Home Office said: "I can confirm that John Smith has left Liverpool Prison with immediate effect.  "He has been replaced by Catherine James who has already taken up her position. The performance report is due to be presented next week but this is not connected to Mr Smith's departure in any way."  Liverpool Prison has the largest prison population in Europe. It houses 1,450 inmates - 260 more that it is supposed to and only 30 short of its capacity.  It is understood more than 200 prisoners are being kept two to a single cell and inmates are only being let out of their cells for six hours a week.  GIVEN SIX MONTHS TO IMPROVE LIVERPOOL Prison began a performance testing process in April after it was branded a "failing centre" and was given six months to improve or be sold off to the private sector.  In May, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Ann Owers, said the regime was "unacceptable" and found cockroach infestations, broken windows and poor hygiene.  At the time, the prison's new management team, led by trouble-shooting governor John Smith, was given until September 22 to put together a recovery plan.  Mr Smith (pictured), who had the reputation of being a reformer, keen on the positive social modelling of prisoners, was brought in from Manchester's tough Strangeways jail where he cracked down on drug abuse and unlocked cells for 12 hours a day.  The married father-of-two pledged to spend 80pc of his time creating a programme to improve standards at the Victorian prison which houses almost 1,500 inmates.  Day-to-day running of the jail was placed in the hands of his deputy governor, Clive Chatterton, with a series of instant changes made for the prisoners including more time out of the cells, a bigger range of education and rehabilitation programmes and more sport and physical exercise.  The success of these changes will be judged shortly with the prison due to be inspected again in October and a decision on the jail's future will be made in December.  (Cheshire Online)

Hassockfield Secure Training Centre
Doncaster, England
Group 4 (formerly Serco, formerly run by Wackenhut)
November 22, 2011 The Guardian
Serious injuries or other life-threatening warning signs have been detected on 285 occasions when children have been physically restrained in privately run jails over the past five years, according to Ministry of Justice figures. The figure reflects the number of "exception reports" submitted by the four privately run secure training centres to the youth justice board since 2006. The warning signs triggering an exception report include struggling to breathe, nausea, vomiting, limpness and abnormal redness to the face. Serious injuries are classified as those requiring hospitalisation and include serious cuts, fractures, concussion, loss of consciousness and damage to internal organs. The MoJ figures, which have been disclosed for the first time, show that there were 61 such exception reports made last year. There have been 29 so far in the first 10 months of this year. Their disclosure comes as a two-day High Court challenge is due to get underway over the MoJ's refusal to identify and trace hundreds of children who have been unlawfully restrained in the privately run child jails using techniques that have since been banned. Children's rights campaigners believe they should be entitled to compensation. The Children's Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has brought the case challenging the justice secretary, Ken Clarke's, refusal to contact former detainees dating back to 1998, when the first secure training centre opened. The legal challenge follows a second inquest earlier this year into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood, who was found hanging in his room at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, where he was on remand in 2006. It concluded there was a serious system failure which gave rise to an unlawful regime at the child jail. The use of several "distraction" restraint techniques, that involved inflicting pain with a severe blow to the nose or ribs, or by pulling back a child's thumb, were banned in 2008. The use of physical restraint techniques to control teenagers simply for the purposes of "good order and discipline" was also ruled unlawful by the court of appeal. Carolyne Willow, Crae's national co-ordinator, said their lawyers will argue there had been a chronic failure by the authorities to protect vulnerable children over many years. "It was not children's responsibility to know about, challenge and stop unlawful and abusive treatment," said Willow, adding there were potentially thousands of former detainees who should now be contacted. "Children in custody are among the most disadvantaged in society and they were held in closed institutions where unlawful restraint was routine and ordinary. It was the state, and the private contractors, who were duty-bound to protect the welfare and rights of vulnerable children." She said that government officials now had a duty to notify potential victims that their rights had been infringed. The abuses should no longer remain hidden and unchallenged. The security company, G4S, which operates three of the four child jails is also joining the case as an 'interested party'.

April 25, 2011 The Independent
Juveniles in private prisons are at risk of serious injury or death through the use of illegal restraints, according to research by the penal reform charity the Howard League. Some privately run Secure Training Centres (STC) are using unlawful restraints which have resulted in bruising, broken bones and a number of deaths of under 18s in penal custody, according to researchers. The report from Howard League lawyers documents the daily violence the juveniles have faced while they have been in custody. A 15-year-old boy in a STC said in evidence given to a Howard League lawyer: "I had bruised shoulders from when one of the staff dragged me across the room and shoved me into the wall. I had bruising on my back from where I was slammed into the wall in my cell." The report reveals that there were 142 injuries to children recorded as a result of the restraint of boys in prisons between April 2008 and March 2009. Lord Carlile of Berriew QC is holding a series of public hearings in the House of Lords into the policies and practices of using force on children in custody. In an independent inquiry into the use of physical restraint in 2006, Lord Carlile recommended that it should never be used as punishment or to secure compliance. He added that the infliction of pain was not acceptable and may be unlawful. The report, Twisted: the Use of Force on Children in Custody, comes after the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood who was found hanging in his cell in 2004 after being restrained by staff at Hassockfield STC in County Durham. At a second inquest into his death, held at Easington earlier this year, a jury found that the unlawful use of force by staff had contributed to it. A secret manual published by the Ministry of Justice that was publicly disclosed after legal action in 2010 shows that staff were authorised to use pain-inflicting distraction techniques on the thumbs, ribs and noses of children. According to the Youth Justice Board, 6,904 incidents of restraint were reported between 2009-10 in England and Wales, 257 of which resulted in injury. However, the report highlights that statistics are likely to underestimate the extent to which physical restraint is used, as not all incidents are recorded. Frances Crook, director of the Howard League, said: "These shadowy private companies who profit from children being locked up have disguised their methods of painful holds on children for years. It is time we revealed what is really happening."

February 15, 2011 The Guardian
A high court challenge has been launched over the Ministry of Justice's refusal to identify hundreds of children who have been unlawfully restrained in privately run child jails using techniques that have since been banned. The Children's Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has applied for a judicial review of the refusal by the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, to identify and contact children who may have been unlawfully restrained in the privately run secure training centres. The legal battle follows the second inquest two weeks ago into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood, found hanging in his room at Hassockfield secure training centre where he was on remand in 2006. The inquest concluded that there was a serious system failure which gave rise to an unlawful regime at the jail. The use of several "distraction'' restraint techniques, which involve inflicting pain with a severe blow to the nose or ribs, or by pulling back a child's thumb, were first suspended in 2007 before being banned in 2008. The use of physical restraint to control teenagers in child jails for the purposes of "good order and discipline" was also ruled to be unlawful by the court of appeal in the same year. Carolyne Willow of Crae said she believed that there may be hundreds, if not thousands, of children who have been unlawfully restrained in secure training centres since they first opened in 1998.

January 11, 2011 Evening-Chronicle
GUARDS at a privately-run young people’s unit acted illegally leading up to a teenager’s prison cell suicide, an inquest heard. Tragic Adam Rickwood was found hanging just hours after he was mistreated by warders. His mother Carol Pounder, told jurors she would be “locked up” if she had behaved towards her son the way authorities had in the moments leading up to his death. At a second hearing into the tragedy, following a High Court appeal, Durham’s Assistant Deputy Coroner Jeremy Freedman revealed previous jurors were not informed prison staff had used unorthodox methods to restrain Adam and were acting “unlawfully and illegally” on the evening of his death on August 9, 2004. The 14-year-old, from Burnley, was found hanged by his shoelaces in his cell by staff at the Serco-run Hassockfield secure training centre in Consett, while on remand for an alleged wounding charge. Hours before his death, at 6pm, he was involved in an altercation with staff who ordered him to return to his cell from the social area he was in. The order came after a note was passed to him by another inmate which contained “unflattering remarks” about a female member of staff. When Adam refused to go back to his cell and instead sat on the floor in the communal area, back-up was called and he was physically removed. Four officers restrained him – two holding his arms, one holding his head and one holding his legs. Adam was placed in his cell face down and, because the officer holding his head feared Adam was trying to bite his fingers, he employed a “nose distraction method” to control Adam’s behaviour – a painful manoeuvre which left his nose swollen and bruised. Mr Freedman, who is leading the second inquest into his death, said the previous jury had not been told “three important things”. He said: “When they removed Adam from the free association area, in these circumstances, it was unlawful and illegal. “Second, they weren’t told that the use of Physical Control in Care in taking him into his cell in these circumstances was, too, unlawful. “And thirdly, they weren’t told that the use of the nose distraction technique was in any circumstances unlawful and illegal.”

July 18, 2010 AP
Brutal techniques to restrain children held in private prisons have been made public after mounting pressure from children's rights groups. The Observer disclosed details of the techniques used to train staff in restraining young offenders in the country's four privately-run secure training centres. The secret manual, Physical Control in Care, was created by the HM Prison Service and approved by the Department of Justice in 2005. The government's Youth Justice Board (YJB) had initially fought the Information Commissioner's order to hand over the documents. When the Children's Rights Alliance (CRAE) called on the Justice Secretary to hold an independent judicial inquiry, YJB finally relented. The Observer revealed that control measures authorised for staff to use include "an inverted knuckle into the trainee's sternum and drive inward and upward," "alternate elbow strikes to the young person's ribs until a release is achieved," and "drive straight fingers into the young person's face, and then quickly drive the straightened fingers of the same hand downwards into the young person's groin area." The manual went so far as to warn staff that some techniques risk a "fracture to the skull" and "temporary or permanent blindness caused by rupture to eyeball or detached retina." One passage states in regard to administering a head-hold that "if breathing is compromised the situation ceases to be a restraint and becomes a medical emergency." Carolyne Willow, CRAE's national co-ordinator stated, "Until now, we've seen a compulsive reliance on secrecy and an absolute failure to face up publicly to the disgraceful and unlawful treatment of children the State officially describes as vulnerable." The campaign to make the information public came after the deaths of two children, Gareth Myatt, 15, and Adam Rickwood, 14, who died in the custody of Rainsbrook and Hassockfield secure training centres in 2004.

March 8, 2008 The Northern Echo
BRUTAL restraint techniques used before the suicide of a 14-year-old boy at a North-East secure unit are illegal and must be banned, MPs and peers will demand today. In a damning report, the Joint Human Rights Committee condemns the "state sanctioned infliction of pain against children" as young as 12, who misbehave in private prisons. The restraint techniques include hitting a child's nose from underneath - the restraint method used on Adam Rickwood by staff at the Serco-run Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, near Consett, County Durham. Six hours later, on August 9, 2004, Adam, from Burnley, Lancashire, became the youngest person to die in custody in Britain when he hanged himself from a curtain rail, using his shoelaces. Last night, Adam's mother, Carol Pounder, welcomed the report and said the treatment her son received should never have been allowed to take place. She said: "Sometimes you need to restrain a child to protect them from themselves, but there is a difference between restraining a child and beating a child. "What gives them the right to do these things to our children? If I had punched Adam in the nose and caused pain and bleeding at home, I would be taken to court. But because it happens behind closed doors nobody knows. "The best thing this Government could do is withdraw this distraction technique, not just put a suspension on it." Describing the so-called distraction techniques as unlawful under international human rights laws, the committee warns they have had "tragic results". Andrew Dismore, the committee's Labour chairman, said: "What is, in effect, state-sanctioned infliction of pain against children to ensure good order and discipline should not continue. "It must be absolutely clear that inflicting pain on children is never justified and the use of force is an absolute last resort, for use only when all alternatives have been demonstrably exhausted." The committee also condemns the Government for refusing to release the staff manual for restraining children, which means the full details of the hold techniques remain secret. As well as "nose distraction" - the upward chop to the septum used against Adam - the techniques include the "double basket", where the arms are crossed and held behind the back. In December, the Government agreed to suspend the use of both techniques after medical advice. Today's report demands their permanent removal from the manual. The report includes an extract from a note found in Adam's room after his death. The 14-year-old wrote: "When I calmed down, I asked them why they hit me in the nose and jumped on me. "They said it was because I wouldn't go in my room, so I said what gives them the right to hit a 14-year-old child in the nose, and they said it was restraint." The inquest into his death returned a verdict of suicide. It heard the officer who used the nose distraction technique on the boy later noticed it had drawn blood. The director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Francis Crook, said last night he was very pleased with the committee's opposition to the use of painful restraint. He said: "Treatment that would see a parent or teacher in front of social services is not only allowed in these child jails but positively encouraged by recent rule changes." A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said: "Force is only ever used as a last resort. "However, some young people in secure training centres can be very violent and staff need appropriate and effective methods to contain and resolve dangerous situations. "The Youth Justice Board's Code of Practice on behaviour management makes it explicit that restrictive physical interventions must only be used as a last resort." Serco, which runs the centre, declined to comment.

A flagship "jail" for young boys faces closure after The Mirror revealed it has been rocked by violence, vandalism and vicious attacks on staff. Offenders as young as 12 are running riot. There are three serious incidents a day and more than 150 last month alone, with staff in riot gear deployed on several occasions. Now the Home Office has drawn up plans to close Hassockfield secure training centre in Consett, Co Durham, after more than half the staff quit for fear of attack. Premier Prison Services, the private firm running it, is set to lose fulfill its contract. (The Mirror)

June 6, 2002
TWO OF the world's biggest security companies could find themselves in court in a row over their joint venture to run privatised prisons and immigration centres. UK-based Serco wants to buy out the half of Premier Custodial Group owned by America's Wackenhut Corrections Corporation. But the US company refuses to sell and is ready to go to court to defend the right to retain its 50 per cent stake in PCG.   The row illustrates the growing demand for prisons run by private companies, despite the controversy they attract.   PCG manages four jails, including Doncaster, one combined prison and youth offenders' institution and a centre for asylum seekers near Glasgow.   Serco has wanted control of the business since rival Group4 Falck took a 57 per cent stake in WCC, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, last month.   Group4 is a strong rival to Serco in this country, running three prisons and three immigration centres, including Yarl's Wood, Bedfordshire, which was badly damaged by fire this year.  (The Express)

Hardy House
Isle of Portland, Dorset
January 29, 2003
A FORMER naval barracks was badly damaged by fire minutes after the end of an angry public meeting to oppose plans to use it to hold up to 750 asylum-seekers.  Hardy House, a derelict, ten-story block on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, suffered extensive damage to one floor.  The attack followed a warning by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, that whipping up fears about asylum-seekers could lead to a breakdown in community relations.  The building is now owned by a property company, Comer Homes, which bought it from the Ministry of Defense for 30 million.  The company recently applied for planning permission to convert it to 350 luxury flats.  Portland has been in uproar since it was disclosed ten days ago that the Home Office is in negotiations with t he developers to use the building as a centre for up to 750-asylum-seekers who would be housed there while their applications to stay in Britain are processed.  (Times Online)

Harmondsworth Detention Centre, London, England
GEO Group (formerly run by Kalyx, UK Detention Services, AKA Sodexho)
Oct 21, 2015 opendemocracy.net

Alois Dvorzak inquest: Doctor repeatedly warned that 84 year old was not fit to be detained

Detention centre healthcare, by commercial contrator Primecare, was “extremely basic” and unsafe, court hears. A doctor told an inquest jury yesterday how she repeatedly warned immigration officials that a frail and elderly Canadian man was not fit to be detained. Dr Farrah Jarral told the jury at West London Coroner’s court that she had worked as a locum GP at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre (a stone’s throw from Heathrow Airport) in January 2013. Harmondsworth’s healthcare wing, run by private medical company Primecare, was “extremely basic, staffing wise and facility wise”, said Dr Jarral. She witnessed several “alarming” incidents. “It feels like a prison,” she said. She felt Harmondsworth was so unsafe that she stopped working there. Dr Jarral was particularly concerned when she saw 84 year old Alois Dvorzak in the detention centre on 30 January 2013. She warned the Home Office that it was “entirely inappropriate for an elderly frail man like that to be in detention”. Dvorzak died on 10 February 2013. When Dr Jarral read about his death in the media, she was “devastated”. Alois Dvorzak had been travelling from Canada to visit his daughter to Slovenia. He stopped over in London, where immigration officers refused him entry and were concerned about his health. They took him to East Surrey Hospital where doctors said he was fit enough to be repatriated. The Home Office put Dvorzak in Harmondsworth detention centre, run by the Geo Group, until a flight back to Canada could be arranged. Nursing staff at Harmondsworth told Dr Jarral that they “were very concerned about a frail man who had dementia”. She was “very surprised” that East Surrey had assessed him as “fit to fly”. East Surrey Hospital had obtained a list of Dvorzak’s medication from his care home in Canada. He was on at least 13 different drugs, including olanzapine, citalopram, and lorazepam. Dr Jarral said that this “significant information” about Dvorzak’s health “was not available to me at the time”. Senior Coroner Chinyere Inyama asked Dr Jarral: “When you see medication prescribed like that does this indicate a major mental illness?” Dr Jarral replied: “Absolutely.” The coroner asked Dr Jarral what she would have thought had she known that Dvorzak was taking those medicines. She said: “I would have been worried if he had self capacity to make decisions. He was on a major tranquilliser and anti-depressant ...There should have been a full mental health assessment by a psychiatric doctor, not by nursing staff. For a patient to be on a combination of these three drugs would indicate significant mental health concerns.” Dvorzak had also been prescribed blood thinners, which Jarral said would have been “relevant to a patient who had previous heart failure or a stroke”. Dr Jarral told the jury: “When I went to see him he was lying on a bed and was very withdrawn. He was very frail. He had a blank facial expression that’s common with dementia. ... Having established that this patient was not talking much and was very frail it was clear to me that this man was not suitable to be in detention.” She was told to fill out a form alerting the Home Office that Dvorzak was not suitable for detention. Jarral completed and submitted the form, called a Rule 35 report, but she had little confidence in the system. “I thought the piece of paper . . . was going to get lost,” she said. “It was not a system I could feel confident in. I wanted to speak to a person.” She relayed her concerns to a Home Office worker and reiterated that it was “really inappropriate for him to be in detention”. Dr Jarral asked if any attempts had been made to contact his family. She said the Home Office told her that they “could not confirm or deny if this had happened and said it was none of our business”. (The jury has heard from other witnesses that more medical information about Alois Dvorzak had already been obtained from healthcare workers in Canada and the Home Office was in contact with the Canadian authorities.) Dr Jarral was told to fill out more paperwork. She did that, and “documented in medical notes that I felt he was unsuitable for detention”. After leaving Harmondsworth on 30 January 2013 Dr Jarral was still “so concerned”. Having received an email from an NGO worker with whom she had raised her concerns, she decided to call the Canadian High Commission. She told the jury that at the time she had been very worried about breaking patient confidentiality but “in hindsight I could have gone further”. She said diplomatic staff recorded her concerns that a Canadian citizen in Harmondsworth was “vulnerable and very at risk”. “The next thing I knew was an article in the Guardian reporting his death. I was devastated,” Dr Jarral said. Dr Jarral told the jury that she “went into that situation with very little information” because facts about Dvorzak’s health had not been given to her, or there were “some major factual inaccuracies” in the Home Office’s emails. “There were occasions where it seems the message has completely been lost. There was no mention of mental health even though he had been on these drugs.” Dr Jarral said it was “worrying” that the Home Office were “cutting off medical information from doctors”. She said this was “not a safe way to practice”. She said she had been made to feel “silly calling the Canadian High Commission when they were fully aware” of  Dvorzak’s predicament. Dr Jarral said she already had concerns from previous visits. She told the jury: “There where a few incidents that alarmed me about healthcare at Harmondsworth. It was not really set up for delivering healthcare. It was very sparsely equipped and staffed.” She was scathing about the absence of electronic medical records and recalled how she was given paper notes that may have a name misspelt. It was not possible to get rapid test results like it was in a hospital, even though detained patients might be on medicines such as anticoagulants, whose use requires careful monitoring. The doctors were often locums, agency staff who turned up for a day and then went away, Dr Jarral said. The coroner asked her what training new doctors were given at Harmondsworth. Jarral said “I was given brief verbal sign posting. This is pretty concerning. In a situation where people are in prison or detention there are higher incidents of mental health and trauma. Doctors need training because there are issues that are more in focus than outside and accidents could lead to someone being harmed.” She had particular concerns about the reporting process that is supposed to keep people safe. Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules (a statutory instrument) requires doctors working in detention centres to inform the Home Office about detainees who have experienced torture before coming to the UK or who are otherwise unfit to detain. Officials are required to consider this information and release the person. Dr Jarral said that there were “very huge consequences” when doctors failed to submit adequate Rule 35 medical reports. She said: “The consequences of not filling that in properly could be people sent back to their country and killed, if you hadn’t had that training and experience to detect serious torture.” Dr Jarral, who had worked at other custodial facilities, including Wormwood Scrubs prison, said she decided that it “was not safe to continue at Harmondsworth because my actions could lead to someone being harmed”. Mr Hilton, representing the Home Office, reminded Dr Jarral that the jury had been told that  East Surrey Hospital staff had found Dvorzak was “stable. Fit to be released from our care. Does not need medication from us. Has capacity to make decisions”. Dr Jarral replied: “I have much doubt that he would have had capacity. He said there were ‘demons tormenting him’.” She said: “He needed to be on an elderly care ward for several weeks.” Hilton asked if that was “not a viable option because he was not a UK citizen?” Jarral said non-citizens could be admitted to acute emergency care. She said doctors at Harmondsworth needed more training because it can be “critical to someone’s life”.

Aug 27, 2015
morningstaronline.co.uk
Controversial private firms running migrant detention centres have been allowed to ‘monitor’ their own behaviour without anyone watching over them, writes STEVEN WALKER

THE government’s system for monitoring companies it pays to run migrant detention centres has been called into question after a year-long freedom of information battle won disclosure of confidential “self-audits.” The documents reveal how contractors are paid according to their own monthly performance reports. The Home Office has refused to say if it scrutinises the data submitted by the companies. The Home Office was forced to hand over the files to the campaigning group Corporate Watch after the Information Commissioner decided there was “a very strong public interest” in doing so. The majority of Britain’s immigration detention centres are run by private companies under multimillion-pound outsourcing deals. The firms are required to send monthly “self-audit” reports to the Home Office, detailing any contractual failings and penalties incurred. Despite the importance of such documents in measuring compliance they have never been made public. The performance reports, from May 2014, raise serious questions about the integrity of a “self-audit” system. The government’s confidence in large outsourcing companies, particularly Serco, has been challenged by a series of scandals. Serco is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for overcharging the government on an electronic tagging contract. In another widely publicised failing, the company recorded prisoners as being delivered to court in time for hearings when they were not. Recently the Chief Inspector of Prisons reported that some vulnerable female asylum-seekers detained at the infamous Yarl’s Wood centre were treated “like animals” and that their experiences had left them with anxiety, depression, disturbed sleep and mental health problems (M Star August 19). The company in charge of Harmondsworth, Britain’s largest detention centre, was penalised for a “failure to make available full healthcare service” and delays with legal visits. At Colnbrook detention centre, contractor Serco failed to “observe key/lock security procedures” four times in 10 days. In one case, a “door leading from the gate house into the sterile yard was discovered in an unsecured state.” Another penalty related to a detainee being “incorrectly discharged from the centre.” On one weekend that month, Serco failed to provide the minimum number of staff. Data about the exact size of penalties incurred by the companies for these failures has been redacted, after government lawyers lodged an appeal with the information tribunal to permit the “withholding of sensitive contractual information.” The case is due to be heard later this year. Contractors can provide significantly different levels of detail to the Home Office, because there is no standard template for the self-audit. The report lengths are arbitrary, with one contractor’s audit more than half the length than that of their rival. The GEO Group, which operated Harmondsworth, simply left blank a section titled “details of accepted failures” in their “monthly contract review tool.” The Home Office has refused to explain what follow-up action it takes after receiving self-audit reports, raising concerns that the monitoring system lacks any integrity. The Home Office says: “Self-audit reports are part of a range of measures, including regular independent inspections, to ensure our contractors continue to provide safe and secure accommodation for detainees.” However, Serco’s self-audit should have caused the Home Office alarm. Under the contract, Serco was required to provide full medical screening to all new arrivals. However, the figures show that 686 people in one month, or 72 per cent of arrivals, signed disclaimers to not see a doctor. The Home Office has failed to challenge Serco about this high number of disclaimers. Serco said that “this is fairly normal. All detainees see a nurse on arrival at the centre and are asked if they want to see a doctor the next day. It was not uncommon for a large number to say that they were fine, did not want to see a doctor and sign a disclaimer. Obviously residents are able to request to see healthcare at any point while in detention.” But disclaimers enable the company to escape its contractual requirement to give a “full medical screening” by a doctor, and means that almost three-quarters of people in its custody and therefore under its duty of care were not fully checked on arrival for undiagnosed medical problems. A protest inside Harmondsworth in May 2014 was 10 times larger than the GEO Group, its operator, told journalists. The self-audit report for that month shows that the centre manager knew the demonstration involved “up to 300 detainees,” nearly half of all inmates. The company had told the media that “a short and entirely passive protest took place at Harmondsworth involving between 30 and 40 detainees.” GEO said that it did not “consciously” make a false statement to the media. The protest was against the fast-track asylum system. The unrest quickly spread to three other detention centres across the country. Months later, the High Court found that fast track carried “an unacceptably high risk of unfairness” and was unlawful. The system has now been suspended. Cuts to legal aid have meant that detainees have very little access to lawyers. Serco noted that “solicitor demand continues but many [detainees] are becoming more and more frustrated due to lack of funding and options available to them.” The Home Office arranges specially chartered flights for deportations to particular countries, such as Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The self-audits reveal that people are being rounded up on the basis of their nationality, rather than their individual immigration cases. The Harmondsworth centre manager admitted that “figures rising and falling can often be attributed to the amount of charter operations in progress by DEPMU (Detainee Estate Population Management Unit) and other pick-up operations in effect from the Home Office enforcement teams. In certain circumstances these two departments may work together to focus on a specific nationality to fill a charter which will reflect on the amount of arrivals and first night in detention and will also affect the amount of departures.” Days after that report was written, a leaked Home Office intelligence dossier emerged which showed immigration snatch squads were targeting nationalities in specific industries, such as Nigerians working in barber shops. Rounding up people based on their nationality in order to fill a mass deportation flight to that country would amount to a collective expulsion — contrary to European laws. After fighting for a year to keep these self-audits secret, the Home Office has shown that the system it uses to monitor companies paid to run detention centres is deeply flawed. The companies only declared a handful of failures at their centres and the Home Office does not effectively scrutinise the reports, giving the companies carte blanche to under-report issues. This leaves people in their custody vulnerable. But the arrangement is mutually beneficial to the Home Office and its contractors — the payments keep coming, and the government can turn a blind eye.

Jun 16, 2015 theguardian.com

UK: Gov must release critical private prison reports

Potentially damaging reports into the running of two immigration detention centres by private contractors must be released by the Home Office within weeks, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said. The documents will give detailed breakdowns and insight into the running of Harmondsworth, Britain’s largest immigration detention centre, and Colnbrook, both near Heathrow in west London. It is believed that this is the first time the reports, which are prepared for Home Office officials each month by the contractors that run Britain’s immigration detention facilities, will come to light. The Home Office fought to prevent their release for more than 10 months after the research group Corporate Watch lodged a freedom of information request. Government officials argued that the documents were confidential and would harm the commercial interests of the contractors Serco and GEO Group if they became public knowledge. The Home Office also said their release would make it more difficult to negotiate deals with contractors in future. However, in a decision Corporate Watch described as landmark, the ICO said that, while it agreed that the commercial interests of the firms would be harmed, the public interest in transparency was more important, and gave the Home Office until 13 July to release the reports. It said their release would cause no significant damage to the Home Office’s bargaining position with potential contractors, knocking down an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act often relied upon by government departments. Phil Miller, a researcher for Corporate Watch, said the ICO’s decision sent “a strong signal to government to be far more transparent on outsourced contracts. Home Office bureaucrats should not shield private security companies from public scrutiny”. In a document detailing the reasons for its ruling, the ICO said the operation of immigration removal centres (IRCs) in general is an issue that has been the subject of scrutiny and concern. It said it had taken into account media coverage suggesting that the operation of the centres “has been a problematic area generally” and that the HM chief inspector of prisons’ reports were “to varying degrees of severity, critical” of the running of Harmondsworth and Colnbrook. The document added: “The introduction to the report on Harmondsworth refers to ‘inadequate focus on the needs of the most vulnerable detainees’, ‘shocking cases where a sense of humanity was lost’ and to the centre as ‘dirty and bleak’ and ‘in a state of drift’.” It noted that the Colnbrook report was also negative, although to a lesser degree. The ICO said: “Given this publicly available criticism of the operation of these centres, the commissioner’s view is that there is in general a very strong public interest in other information about their operation.” It said that because the two self-audits now due to be released post-date the HMIP reports, “there is a strong public interest in favour of disclosure in order to reveal whether, according to the contractors’ own accounts, the operations of these IRCs improved”. The commissioner added: “It is also highly relevant that the contractors are paid with public money to operate these IRCs. The disclosure of the self-audit reports would add to public knowledge on the extent to which a value-for-money service is being provided to the taxpayer, which is also in the public interest. Furthermore, all of the factors in favour of disclosure are made more acute by the vulnerable nature of people held within IRCs.” The number of reports of serious self-harm at Harmondsworth have increased almost fourfold since 2012, according to figures obtained by Channel 4 News. There were at least 16 cases in 2012 and at least 62 incidents in 2014. Across all UK immigration detention centres, it reported that the number of incidents of self-harm requiring medical attention more than doubled between 2012 and 2014 from 150 to at least 306. The two reports that the Home Office has been ordered to publish date from May 2014, when more than 100 detainees reportedly went on hunger strike at Harmondsworth. At that time, it was being run by the American company GEO Group. Responsibility for Harmondsworth’s operation has now passed to Mitie after it won the contract. Colnbrook is still run by Serco. The government can appeal, but has not confirmed whether it will do so. A Home Office spokesman said: “We have noted the Information Commissioner’s decision and are considering whether or not to appeal. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.” Serco declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the Home Office. GEO Group has not responded to a request for comment.

June 27, 2014 Our Kingdom
Mar 13, 2015 corpwatch.org

U.K. asylum seekers have gone on hunger strike to protest living conditions at Harmondsworth immigration detention centre, which is run by Mitie, a British outsourcing company. The protests come months after Mitie took over from the Geo Group whose contract was canceled after prison authorities found repeated problems. Mitie (which stands for Management Incentive Through Investment Equity) was awarded a £180 million ($270 million) eight year contract by the UK Home Office last year to manage the 615-bed Harmondsworth facility and merge it with the Colnbrook detention centre which is situated next door. The company won the bid despite the fact that it had almost no previous experience managing such facilities, apart from a 20111 contract to run the Campsfield site in Oxfordshire, where a major fire, multiple suicides and three mass hunger strikes took place under the company's watch.  Last week Corporate Watch,* a U.K. research organization, released undercover footage shot at Harmondsworth, that illustrated some of the detainee's complaints. Paul Morrison, the Mitie officer in charge of Harmondsworth, was filmed telling a group of men that they will being locked away for an extra two hours a day. “We've only got 'X' number of staff”;” Morrison says. “The only way we can realistically (deliver) is a little bit of an earlier lock up.” The researchers also reported that Mitie staff were being forced to work 13.5 hours a day. Other footage released by Corporate Watch showed a detainee who had apparently collapsed from epileptic fits twice within a fortnight. The organization also reported that another “very depressed” detainee set fire to his cell. “It’s just gonna break. There’s only so much people can take,” a Mitie employee was filmed saying on undercover footage. The company denies that they have problems. “The centre is not at breaking point,” a Mitie spokesperson told the Independent newspaper. “We have implemented new working practices and shift patterns to meet the demands of the new contract. During the six-month mobilisation period prior to the contract transferring to Mitie we undertook extensive on-site consultation with all existing members of staff at the centre.” Days after Channel Four screened the Corporate Watch footage, an estimated 240 asylum seekers went on hunger strike at Harmondsworth. “The staff tell us that if we don’t stop our strike and disperse, we will end up in jail,” Abbas Haider, a spokesman for the hunger strikers told the Independent. “But all the guys say in one language, in one sound: ‘We are already in prison.’ We don’t have any human rights left here.” Harmondsworth has often been the site of mass protests over abusive conditions. In 2006, riot police were brought in to quell disturbances. Last May when the center was still under control of the Geo Group, some 300 detainees also went on hunger strike. “The food is disgusting and our freedom has been taken away. We all feel we are going crazy,” a detainee told Vice magazine at the time. “We feel alone and isolated like we have been left in the middle of the bush.” And Geo Group and Mitie are not the only controversial companies that have contracts to manage UK detention centers. Serco runs Colnbrook while G4S runs Brook House. Both companies have been subject of complaints regarding the treatment of detainees. (see Privatizing Asylum Housing: Serco and G4S Get UK Contracts and Family Sues G4S For Killing Angolan Deportee) Many detainees now say that they would rather be deported than stay at Harmondsworth. "I'm tired, I don't want to die here,” one detainee was filmed saying to his lawyer. "I beg you. I want freedom, I got detained, three years now I've spent my life behind doors. Why?" “Detention is only ever used as a last resort after all attempts to encourage individuals to leave voluntarily have failed,” a UK Home Office spokesperson told the Independent. “Detention and removal are essential parts of effective immigration controls.” * Corporate Watch is a UK charity that is not affiliated with CorpWatch, which is based in the U.S. The two organizations were founded independently but share similar missions and visions.

 

Man, 84, dies handcuffed in hospital: UK border control by the GEO Group

A shocking report on Harmondsworth, the British immigration lock-up run by GEO, America's second biggest prisons contractor. Who are the GEO Group and what do they stand for? At Gatwick Airport last year, on Wednesday 23 January, British immigration officials detained an elderly Canadian man. He was taken to hospital. Then he was locked up at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre. A doctor examined him, reporting to the authorities that he was "frail, 84 years old, has Alzheimer's disease . . .demented". The doctor marked his papers: "UNFIT for detention or deportation. Requires social care." The British Home Office chose to ignore the medical advice and continued to detain him. On 8 February he was taken to hospital in handcuffs, then returned to his cell. Two days later he was taken back to hospital and kept in handcuffs for five long hours. His condition worsened. The cuffs stayed on. His heart stopped. Medical staff tried and failed to resuscitate him. The handcuffs were removed. His name was Alois Dvorzac. In November 2012, another dying man had been taken in handcuffs from his Harmondsworth cell for treatment in hospital. He stayed cuffed while sedated, stayed cuffed while undergoing an angioplasty. Eventually the handcuffs were removed. Seven hours later he was dead. Both cases are revealed today by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, in a shocking report on Harmondsworth, the immigration centre near Heathrow Airport that holds about 600 men awaiting removal from Britain. They are detained for the "shortest possible period". That's the official line. In real life, many are detained indefinitely. The inspectors, who dropped in unannounced last Summer, found one man who had spent two and a half years locked up at Harmondsworth. They said he seemed unlikely ever to be released since the Home Office had failed for years to obtain travel documentation for him. Harmondsworth guards routinely subjected detainees to long periods of solitary confinement without reason, the inspectors reported. Muslims were more likely than others to be isolated. Hunger strikers were monitored excessively, and for reasons that had nothing to do with their medical needs. Some were held regardless of clear medical grounds for release. According to Home Office rules, victims of torture should not be detained. Inspectors found that Harmondsworth's medical reports on alleged victims of torture were often poorly done, putting victims at risk of continued detention — a complaint raised repeatedly over years by the prisons inspectorate and, over years, ignored by the Home Office. Detainees claiming to be under 18 were held at Harmondsworth for too long while their age was determined. Sometimes Home Office staff alone made age assessments, in contravention of the rules. In one chilling insight into the department's moral standards and modus operandi, the inspectors said that a charity volunteer who had visited detainees to offer support and advice had been tapped for information by the Home Office. Among numerous examples of neglect and disrespect, the inspectors noted dirty food trolleys, beds without pillows, excessively hot showers, three men held in double cells, long waits in locked vans after overnight drives from other facilities . 

Who runs Harmondsworth?

Reckoned to be Britain's most horrible immigration lock-up, Harmondsworth is run for the British government by the GEO Group, America's second biggest prisons company. In the UK, GEO also runs Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre (in South Lanarkshire) and escorts prisoners and detainees in partnership with the British outsourcing company, Amey.

Who are the GEO Group? What are they like?

Industry insiders speak of the international security industry as one big family. Here's a little family history. The GEO Group was spawned by The Wackenhut Corporation, founded by George R Wackenhut. A former FBI agent, Wackenhut started a three-man detective agency in Miami in 1954, providing security services to stay afloat, according to his 2005 obituary in the New York Times. To impress commercial clients, Wackenhut dressed his guards in helmets and paratrooper boots. He recruited former members of the CIA, the FBI and elite military forces to join his management team and the company's board, the New York Times reported. The Wackenhut Corporation gathered intelligence on individuals, "both to run background checks for their clients and as an outgrowth of George Wackenhut’s anti-communist views", according to the New York University Digital Archive that holds some of those papers. By 1971 Wackenhut held files on 2.5 million individuals. The company recruited ex-FBI chief Clarence M. Kelley, ex-Secret Service James J. Rowley, Frank C. Carlucci, former defense secretary and former CIA deputy director, according to the New York Times. William J. Casey was Wackenhut's outside legal counsel before Ronald Reagan appointed him director of central intelligence. Such connections "fuelled speculation that the company was working with the CIA, a relationship that Mr. Wackenhut denied". Well, he would. In 2002, on George Wackenhut's retirement, Group 4 Falck bought The Wackenhut Corporation, including a majority stake in its prisons business (the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation). The following year, the prisons business, headed by George Zoley, bought its shares back from Group 4 Falck, and relaunched itself as the GEO Group. The Wackenhut Corporation remained in Group 4 Falke's hands as Group 4 merged with Securicor, creating G4S. In 2010 G4S dropped the Wackenhut name (it wasn't helpful). And The Wackenhut Corporation was born again — as G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc. The GEO Group continues to invest heavily in political lobbying. A 2011 research report (PDF here) by the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute demonstrated how GEO, among other private prison companies, buys influence, promoting policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration. Two years ago, as if by magic, GEO became a 'real estate investment trust'. Why would a prisons company call itself a real estate trust? Tax avoidance is the primary motive. GEO celebrated its reincarnation by paying shareholders a special dividend of $350 million. (PDF here). George Zoley, GEO's chairman and chief executive officer, took $6 million in pay and perks in 2012, according to Bloomberg. His retirement agreement (here) lands him a $7 million lump sum if he goes this year, aged 64. If he holds out until 71, there's $9 million coming his way. His shares in GEO Group alone (170,200 of them) are valued, by today's price, at around $6 million. Government contracting is, demonstrably, a good thing for GEO Group shareholders and executives. What about prisoners, detainees and the public purse? A Bloomberg report on private prisons last year ('Gangs ruled prison as for-profit model put blood on the floor') focussed on Mississippi's Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, run by GEO Group from August 2010 until July 2012. Journalists Margaret Newkirk and William Selway reported: "Staff shortages, mismanagement and lax oversight had long turned it into a cauldron of violence, where female employees had sex with inmates, pitted them against each other, gave them weapons and joined their gangs, according to court records, interviews and a U.S. Justice Department report."

Responding to criticism, GEO spokesman Pablo Paez said that focusing on troubled institutions such as Walnut Grove “yields an unfair, unbalanced, and inaccurate portrayal of the totality of our industry’s and our company’s long standing record of quality operations and services which have delivered significant savings for taxpayers". The reporters noted: "No national data tracks whether the facilities are run as well as public ones, and private-prison lobbyists for years have successfully fought efforts to bring them under federal open-records law." Here in Britain, one thing today's report from the Prisons Inspectorate doesn't mention is the case of Prince Kwabena Fosu, a 31 year old Ghanaian man who died at Harmondsworth on 30 October 2012. Fellow detainees claimed that GEO guards beat him, stripped him and abandoned him naked in an unheated room. Police said the death was being treated as "non-suspicious".Liked this piece? Please donate to OurKingdom here to help keep us producing independent journalism. Thank you.


Jan 16, 2014 Our Kingdom

A shocking report on Harmondsworth, the British immigration lock-up run by GEO, America's second biggest prisons contractor. Who are the GEO Group and what do they stand for? At Gatwick Airport last year, on Wednesday 23 January, British immigration officials detained an elderly Canadian man. He was taken to hospital. Then he was locked up at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre. A doctor examined him, reporting to the authorities that he was "frail, 84 years old, has Alzheimer's disease . . .demented". The doctor marked his papers: "UNFIT for detention or deportation. Requires social care." The British Home Office chose to ignore the medical advice and continued to detain him. On 8 February he was taken to hospital in handcuffs, then returned to his cell. Two days later he was taken back to hospital and kept in handcuffs for five long hours. His condition worsened. The cuffs stayed on. His heart stopped. Medical staff tried and failed to resuscitate him. The handcuffs were removed. His name was Alois Dvorzac. In November 2012, another dying man had been taken in handcuffs from his Harmondsworth cell for treatment in hospital. He stayed cuffed while sedated, stayed cuffed while undergoing an angioplasty. Eventually the handcuffs were removed. Seven hours later he was dead. Both cases are revealed today by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, in a shocking report on Harmondsworth, the immigration centre near Heathrow Airport that holds about 600 men awaiting removal from Britain. They are detained for the "shortest possible period". That's the official line. In real life, many are detained indefinitely. The inspectors, who dropped in unannounced last Summer, found one man who had spent two and a half years locked up at Harmondsworth. They said he seemed unlikely ever to be released since the Home Office had failed for years to obtain travel documentation for him. Harmondsworth guards routinely subjected detainees to long periods of solitary confinement without reason, the inspectors reported. Muslims were more likely than others to be isolated. Hunger strikers were monitored excessively, and for reasons that had nothing to do with their medical needs. Some were held regardless of clear medical grounds for release. According to Home Office rules, victims of torture should not be detained. Inspectors found that Harmondsworth's medical reports on alleged victims of torture were often poorly done, putting victims at risk of continued detention — a complaint raised repeatedly over years by the prisons inspectorate and, over years, ignored by the Home Office. Detainees claiming to be under 18 were held at Harmondsworth for too long while their age was determined. Sometimes Home Office staff alone made age assessments, in contravention of the rules. In one chilling insight into the department's moral standards and modus operandi, the inspectors said that a charity volunteer who had visited detainees to offer support and advice had been tapped for information by the Home Office. Among numerous examples of neglect and disrespect, the inspectors noted dirty food trolleys, beds without pillows, excessively hot showers, three men held in double cells, long waits in locked vans after overnight drives from other facilities . . . Who runs Harmondsworth? Reckoned to be Britain's most horrible immigration lock-up, Harmondsworth is run for the British government by the GEO Group, America's second biggest prisons company. In the UK, GEO also runs Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre (in South Lanarkshire) and escorts prisoners and detainees in partnership with the British outsourcing company, Amey. Who are the GEO Group? What are they like? Industry insiders speak of the international security industry as one big family. Here's a little family history. The GEO Group was spawned by The Wackenhut Corporation, founded by George R Wackenhut. A former FBI agent, Wackenhut started a three-man detective agency in Miami in 1954, providing security services to stay afloat, according to his 2005 obituary in the New York Times. To impress commercial clients, Wackenhut dressed his guards in helmets and paratrooper boots. He recruited former members of the CIA, the FBI and elite military forces to join his management team and the company's board, the New York Times reported. The Wackenhut Corporation gathered intelligence on individuals, "both to run background checks for their clients and as an outgrowth of George Wackenhut’s anti-communist views", according to the New York University Digital Archive that holds some of those papers. By 1971 Wackenhut held files on 2.5 million individuals. The company recruited ex-FBI chief Clarence M. Kelley, ex-Secret Service James J. Rowley, Frank C. Carlucci, former defense secretary and former CIA deputy director, according to the New York Times. William J. Casey was Wackenhut's outside legal counsel before Ronald Reagan appointed him director of central intelligence. Such connections "fuelled speculation that the company was working with the CIA, a relationship that Mr. Wackenhut denied". Well, he would. In 2002, on George Wackenhut's retirement, Group 4 Falck bought The Wackenhut Corporation, including a majority stake in its prisons business (the Wackenhut Corrections Corporation). The following year, the prisons business, headed by George Zoley, bought its shares back from Group 4 Falck, and relaunched itself as the GEO Group. The Wackenhut Corporation remained in Group 4 Falke's hands as Group 4 merged with Securicor, creating G4S. In 2010 G4S dropped the Wackenhut name (it wasn't helpful). And The Wackenhut Corporation was born again — as G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc. The GEO Group continues to invest heavily in political lobbying. A 2011 research report (PDF here) by the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute demonstrated how GEO, among other private prison companies, buys influence, promoting policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration. Two years ago, as if by magic, GEO became a 'real estate investment trust'. Why would a prisons company call itself a real estate trust? Tax avoidance is the primary motive. GEO celebrated its reincarnation by paying shareholders a special dividend of $350 million. (PDF here). George Zoley, GEO's chairman and chief executive officer, took $6 million in pay and perks in 2012, according to Bloomberg. His retirement agreement (here) lands him a $7 million lump sum if he goes this year, aged 64. If he holds out until 71, there's $9 million coming his way. His shares in GEO Group alone (170,200 of them) are valued, by today's price, at around $6 million.  Government contracting is, demonstrably, a good thing for GEO Group shareholders and executives. What about prisoners, detainees and the public purse? A Bloomberg report on private prisons last year ('Gangs ruled prison as for-profit model put blood on the floor') focussed on Mississippi's Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, run by GEO Group from August 2010 until July 2012. Journalists Margaret Newkirk and William Selway reported: "Staff shortages, mismanagement and lax oversight had long turned it into a cauldron of violence, where female employees had sex with inmates, pitted them against each other, gave them weapons and joined their gangs, according to court records, interviews and a U.S. Justice Department report." Responding to criticism, GEO spokesman Pablo Paez said that focusing on troubled institutions such as Walnut Grove “yields an unfair, unbalanced, and inaccurate portrayal of the totality of our industry’s and our company’s long standing record of quality operations and services which have delivered significant savings for taxpayers". The reporters noted: "No national data tracks whether the facilities are run as well as public ones, and private-prison lobbyists for years have successfully fought efforts to bring them under federal open-records law." Here in Britain, one thing today's report from the Prisons Inspectorate doesn't mention is the case of Prince Kwabena Fosu, a 31 year old Ghanaian man who died at Harmondsworth on 30 October 2012. Fellow detainees claimed that GEO guards beat him, stripped him and abandoned him naked in an unheated room. Police said the death was being treated as "non-suspicious".

August 5, 2011 The Guardian
Separate investigations into three deaths in immigration removal centres (IRC) in the past month have been launched by the police, amid growing concern about the treatment of detainees. The spate of deaths has caused alarm among critics of the government's detention policy, who warn that the system is at "breaking point" with poor healthcare putting people's lives at risk. Two men died from suspected heart attacks at Colnbrook near Heathrow airport and the third killed himself at the Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire on Tuesday. John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, who has two detention centres including Colnbrook in his constituency, said he feared there would be more deaths as the system struggled to cope with the number of people being detained. "The government is now detaining people on such a scale that the existing services are swamped," he said. "It is inevitable if we put the services under such relentless strain that there will be more deaths as a result … we are dealing with people who are extremely stressed and extremely vulnerable and the services are not able to cope and not able to guarantee their safety." The first man who died was Muhammad Shukat, 47, a Pakistani immigration detainee who collapsed at around 6am on 2 July. His roommate Abdul Khan says that in the hours before he died Shukat was groaning in agony, had very bad chest pains and was sweating profusely. Khan, 19, from Afghanistan, said he began raising the alarm around 6am and pressed the emergency button in the room 10 times in a frantic effort to get help. Khan claimed that on three occasions members of the centre's nursing team entered the room and found Shukat on the floor where he had collapsed. Khan said they put him back into bed, took his temperature and some medicine was administered, but did not call emergency assistance immediately. According to Khan, the nurses initially said that Shukat could go to see the centre's doctor at 8am. According to the London Ambulance Service, Colnbrook staff called an ambulance just before 7.20am. Attempts were made to resuscitate Shukat, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Hillingdon Hospital. A postmortem found the provisional cause of death to be coronary heart disease. Shukat's body has been returned to Pakistan and his family are understood to have no concerns about the medical treatment he received. The second man to die at Colnbrook has not yet been named. According to the Metropolitan police he was 35 and was found dead in his cell at 10.30am last Sunday. London Ambulance Service officials pronounced him dead at the scene. "A postmortem held on 1 August found the cause of death to be a ruptured aorta. The death is being treated as unexplained," said a police spokesman. Colnbrook IRC is managed by Serco. In a statement to detainees about Shukat's death, deputy director at Colnbrook, Jenni Halliday, described her "deep regret" and extended her condolences. In a statement to detainees about the second Colnbrook death, Serco's contract manager, Michael Guy, informed detainees that a resident in the short-term holding facility had died and that the death was thought to be from natural causes. On Tuesday, a 35-year-old man hanged himself in the toilet block at Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire. A fellow detainee, who refused to give his name, said the man had been hours away from being deported and had become very anxious. "He was normally a very quiet person … but the pressure is too much for people in here." It is understood the man had only been at the centre for a few days before he died. The Home Office refused to give any more details saying his extended family had yet to be informed. Emma Ginn, from the campaign group Medical Justice, said the deaths had heightened concern about the poor healthcare on offer to those being kept in UK detention centres. "Based on medical evidence from many hundreds of detainees, Medical Justice has documented the disturbingly inadequate healthcare provision that often vulnerable immigration detainees are subjected to in Colnbrook and other immigration removal centres... [this] combined with the perilous and frightening conditions of detention, is a lethal cocktail, a disaster waiting to happen." The UK Border Agency declined to comment on the specific circumstances of each case. It said the police and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman always investigated deaths in immigration detention centres and it would be inappropriate to comment until these were complete. David Wood, director of criminality and detention at the UK Border Agency, said all detainees at immigration removal centres have access to health services seven days a week. "All detainees are seen by a nurse within two hours of arrival and are given an opportunity to see a GP within 24 hours," he added. "The health of all detainees is monitored closely, and the healthcare professionals are required to report cases where it is considered that a person's health is being affected by continued detention. "The UK takes its responsibilities seriously, which is why we consider every case on its individual merits and will continue to offer protection to those who need it. However, detention is an essential part of our controls on immigration in the UK." A groundbreaking ruling -- A man with severe mental illness was unlawfully locked up in a UK detention centre for five months and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, according to a high court ruling. The man, a 34-year-old Indian national, was detained in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre between April and September last year. On Friday a judge ruled that his treatment amounted to a breach of article 3 of the European convention human rights. The man's lawyer said the ruling – thought to be the first of its kind – raised wider questions about how the government treats people with mental illnesses in the immigration and detention system. "The court's decision that my client suffered inhuman or degrading treatment at a UK detention facility sends a very loud and clear message to the authorities," said. "We would urge the minister to conduct a fundamental review into how people suffering from mental illness are treated in the immigration detention estate." The man, referred to as "S" in the ruling, had a history of serious ill treatment and abuse before arriving in the UK. He served time in prison for wounding and assault before being transferred to a secure psychiatric hospital until his discharge in April 2010. Following his release the UK Border Agency said there was "no evidence" he was mentally ill and he was detained in Harmondsworth where his health deteriorated and he began to have psychotic episodes and self harm. The high court intervened and he was released on bail. His lawyers said he had been living with his family since then and had fully complied with the conditions of bail set by the court. In the ruling judge David Elvin said: "S's pre-existing mental condition was both triggered and exacerbated by detention and that involved both a debasement and humiliation of S since it showed a serious lack of respect for his human dignity. It created a state in S's mind of real anguish and fear, through his hallucinations, which led him to self-harm frequently and to behave in a manner which was humiliating…" A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: "We regularly review our detention policies and will look at the findings in this case to ensure lessons are learned. Detention is an essential part of our immigration control but we recognise the importance of ensuring it remains appropriate on a case by case basis."

April 4, 2011 The Sun
BRITISH workers at a deportation centre are to be sacked and replaced by inmates on just £1 an hour. Staff are in uproar at the unit, which cages failed asylum seekers and foreign prisoners awaiting the boot from the UK. Up to 20 full-time kitchen workers, who earn £300 a week, are to be made redundant under the plan. Inmates who take over their jobs at Harmondsworth, near London's Heathrow airport, will earn nothing like the £5.93-an-hour national minimum wage. One worker at the unit said: "It's a disgrace. They're doing things on the cheap in a scandalous way. Where are these 20 sacked British staff going to find jobs in the current climate? "Surely we should be giving priority to British workers in these troubled times." Another worker added: "Apart from the sackings, it is wrong to use the inmates as virtual slave labour." Privately-run Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre is the biggest deportation unit in Europe, with 615 inmates. Original contractors Kalyx were replaced in 2009 by the American private security company, GEO Group. Jonathan Sedgwick, acting Chief Executive of the Home Office's UK Border Agency, said: "Detainees working in cleaning and catering roles is common in our detention centres. "It allows us to keep detainees occupied while arrangements are made to return them. This is nothing new and has been praised by HM Inspector of Prisons and independent monitoring boards."

July 31, 2009 Daily Star
BRITISH workers facing the sack at an immigration detention centre say their jobs are being taken by “illegals” who are being held there. The detainees, who have no legal rights to work in the UK, have been handed £15-a-week cleaning jobs. But the real cleaners are among up to 74 workers expected to be made redundant this month at the Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow Airport. The Home Office denied that the cleaners are being replaced by ­detainees at a fraction of the cost. But one cleaner said she thought the Government’s British Jobs for British Workers claim was “a joke”. She added: “Not only are foreign workers exploiting British employment opportunities, but now it seems that even failed asylum seekers in detention centres are taking our jobs.” The Harmondsworth centre was taken over by GEO Group last month. It houses immigrants who are awaiting deportation, some of whom are failed asylum seekers or those who have overstayed their visas. The Home Office confirmed none of them would have a legal right to work in the UK. A GEO Group spokesman said six cleaners were to be made redundant but declined to comment further. Lin Homer, chief executive of the UK Border Agency, said: “No staff facing redundancy at the centre will be replaced by an immigration detainee.” But she said a recent report had said detainees should be able to do more paid work.

June 29, 2009 News Ticker
The GEO Group, Inc. (NYSE: GEO) ("GEO") announced today that its wholly owned U.K. subsidiary, GEO UK Ltd., has assumed management functions at the 256-bed Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre (the "Centre”) located in London, England. GEO U.K. will manage the Centre under contract with the United Kingdom Border Agency. The contract for the management and operation of the Centre will have a term of three years and is expected to generate approximately $14.0 million in annual revenues for GEO. Additionally, the Centre will be expanded by 364 beds bringing its capacity to 620 beds when the expansion is completed in June 2010. Upon completion of the expansion, GEO’s management contract is expected to generate approximately $19.5 million in annual revenues.

March 17, 2009 Worthing Herald
The Government was wrong not to order an independent inquiry into allegations of mistreatment at Harmondsworth immigration detention centre in west London 2006, the Court of Appeal has ruled. But the appeal judges held it was now too late to hold an effective investigation and the question of whether the state had breached the human rights of detainees fell to be decided by way of pending civil damages claims. Human rights group Liberty brought the case against the Home Office and the managers of the centre, Kalyx Ltd, on behalf of three detainees who claimed they were subjected to "inhuman or degrading treatment" during disturbances caused by other detainees at the centre near Heathrow Airport on November 28 2006. Referred to only as "AM and others", the detainees allege they were denied food and water for up to 40 hours; locked in overcrowded, pitch-black rooms flooded with water for more than 24 hours; forced to urinate and defecate in front of each other; and strip searched in front of several officers. Their appeal, in which lawyers argued that their alleged treatment was sufficient to trigger the UK's legal obligation to hold an official investigation, was upheld by Lord Justices Sedley and Elias, with Lord Justice Longmore dissenting. Anna Fairclough, legal officer at Liberty, said after the judgment: "With so many people languishing in immigration detention, it is shameful that the Home Secretary refused to investigate these very serious allegations of mistreatment. "The judgment leaves the Government nowhere to hide should anything of this nature happen again."

July 26, 2007 The Daily Mail
Rioting foreign criminals and failed asylum seekers were fed McDonald's takeaway meals by prison staff during a £60million orgy of destruction which wrecked an immigration detention centre. Fearful that the human rights of inmates would be breached, staff ferried sackfuls of Big Mac meals with fries and soft drinks from a nearby branch of the fast-food chain. The revelation came in a damning official report into the riot at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow Airport last November. More than 500 inmates awaiting deportation wrecked and burned down much of the site, and it took riot squads almost two days to regain control. The report also reveals: • Walls and doors in the centre were so flimsy that inmates kicked them down with ease, especially after they were soaked by the sprinkler system; • The fire brigade got lost because there were no signposts to the centre; • CCTV cameras were easy for rioters to destroy - meaning control room staff had no idea what was going on; • Increasingly desperate calls to the Prison Service headquarters begging for help were ignored for an hour. The official Home Office investigation blames the riot partly on the huge pressure on the centre after last summer's foreign prisoners scandal. Hundreds of foreign national criminals were rounded up after being released from Britain's jails without being considered for deportation. Of the 501 men in the detention centre at the time 177 were foreign prisoners awaiting deportation - a volatile group who had 'nothing to lose'. The riot was triggered by inmates watching a TV news bulletin reporting criticisms of Harmondsworth from prison watchdogs. Fires were started and inmates began smashing CCTV cameras and attacking staff, who were unable to contain the violence. As control room managers lost their grip, staff were ordered to retreat and seal the gates, as police arrived to guard the perimeter. Thirteen riot squads entered the centre next morning but took more than 24 hours to regain control. During the day a row broke out between senior officials over whether to send food in for rioters. Those who favoured starving inmates into submission were overruled, as managers ordered that 'minimum needs of food and drink' must be supplied. "In the early stages food came from McDonald's," according to the report by senior civil servant Robert Whalley. Yesterday the Daily Mail tracked down a worker at the West Drayton branch of McDonald's who recalled Harmondsworth staff placing a huge order for £3.59 burger meals. He said: "I remember prison officers turning up and ordering around 100 Big Mac meals with fries and fizzy drinks. For a couple of hours they kept turning up with big bags, filling them up with meals and then ferrying them off in Securicor vans and then they'd return for more." The Home Office was last night unable to provide details of the cost of the emergency supplies. The cost of dealing with the riot and rebuilding large parts of Harmondsworth is expected to top £65million. Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green said: "This situation required a fast response, and all they got was fast food. "We now know that this dangerous incident happened because the Government was forced to mix foreign prisoners with failed asylum seekers. Because of prison overcrowding, this is still going on."

May 20, 2007 Observer
Hunger strikes, rioting and self-harm are now endemic in Britain's biggest detention centres as detainees become increasingly desperate about living in what they claim are deteriorating conditions. At Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, more than 100 women are refusing to eat, and there have been recent reports of major disturbances at Lindholme, South Yorkshire, and at Colnbrook in Middlesex. Self-harm is particularly acute at Yarl's Wood, which reopened in September 2003 after half of it was gutted by fire during rioting in February 2002. It now houses hundreds of women, many of whom have attempted to claim asylum in Britain after fleeing war zones. Amid growing concern over Britain's overstretched asylum system, the campaign group Liberty will call tomorrow for the Home Secretary, John Reid, to order a public inquiry into the large-scale riot at Harmondsworth detention centre in west London last November. If Reid refuses, the group says that it intends to seek a judicial review of his decision on behalf of seven detainees it is representing - an unprecedented move that would see Britain's immigration system placed under scrutiny in the courts. 'Well-documented abuses at Harmondsworth detention centre sparked the disturbance in November,' said Liberty's legal officer, Alex Gask. 'These men deserve a public inquiry into the ill-treatment they faced; anything less could result in legal action.' The deteriorating situation in the detention centres has sparked a surge in self-harm, according to campaigners. Every other day detainees harm themselves to such a serious degree that they require medical treatment, according to the National Coalition of Anti Deportation Campaigns. Between April 2006 and March 2007 there were 199 attempts to self-harm that required medical treatment. An investigation last year into conditions at Yarl's Wood found 70 per cent of women at the centre had reported rape, nearly half had been detained for more than three months and 57 per cent had no legal representation. Conditions have not improved, according to campaigners. Assaults are said to be commonplace. One woman was stripped and thrown naked into a van taking her to the airport for deportation only for the pilot to refuse to allow her to fly as she had no clothes. The women also allege staff regularly refer to them as 'black monkey', 'nigger' and 'bitch'. They claim vital faxes from solicitors are going missing and information on basic legal rights is being withheld. Detainees also complain they are given days-old reheated food in which they have found hair, dirt and maggots. Campaigners are also concerned about conditions at Harmondsworth, where detainees rioted after being banned from watching news coverage of a damning report on the centre. The Liberty report, to be published tomorrow, contains a clutch of testimonies from detainees about the conditions in Harmondsworth before the riots. One man interviewed for the study told how he was taken to the centre's medical clinic suffering from a bad back. 'They just abandoned me,' the man said. 'There was no doctor and, when I asked where the doctor was, the detention officers laughed at me ... One of them stepped on the hem of my trousers to make me fall over. He then started laughing and called me a "fucking negro".' Solitary confinement as a punishment for speaking out at Harmondsworth is common, according to Liberty. 'If we made a complaint we would be given a warning,' one man known as 'K' told Liberty. 'If we were given three warnings, we would be put in an isolated cell. We were scared of making complaints against officers because we expected to be treated badly if we did. We were treated like pigs and very unfairly, as if we were serious criminals.' A spokesman for Kalyx, which runs Harmondsworth, declined to comment. Serco, which took over Yarl's Wood on 26 April, denied conditions had deteriorated and said that many of the detainees' original concerns had been addressed. A Serco spokesman said staff had been praised by the prisons inspector for their good relationship with detainees. 'We take any complaints seriously,' he said.

December 10, 2006 The Guardian
The company running the detention centre at which hundreds of asylum seekers rioted last month is to be forced to pay the government more than £5m for a series of performance failures. The huge amount, believed to be a record sum for a private contractor to have to return to the public coffers, is likely to be seized upon by critics of Britain's asylum system, who have long campaigned for better conditions at the Harmondsworth detention centre, near Heathrow. The payout comes soon after a damning report by the chief inspector of prisons slated conditions at the detention centre. Anne Owers said her report was the 'poorest' she had ever delivered on an immigration centre. It highlighted a number of areas where there were causes for concern, including the poor relations between staff and detainees and the fact that staff were unable to recognise torture victims. Over 60 per cent of detainees said they had felt unsafe, while 44 per cent said they had been victimised by staff. The news that Kalyx, the US security and services giant that runs a number of private prisons in the UK, is to return £5,096,000 to the government was revealed in a House of Lords debate last week by the Home Office minister, Baroness Scotland. Neither Kalyx nor the Home Office would be drawn on why the company has had to pay such a sizeable sum. But Scotland suggested it was at least partly to do with the company's failure to manage the centre properly. She told the Lords that 'rigorous attempts to manage the situation in Harmondsworth' had now been put in place. 'That was the basis of the concerns expressed and of the disagreement... between management,' Scotland said. The payout is a significant blow to the reputation of Kalyx. Last month, in an attempt to improve its image, the controversial company changed its name from UK Detention Services. The company claims on its website that it provides 'nationally recognised standards of service, delivered by high-calibre staff' and provides 'protection and care associated with the growth of the individual and strength'. It makes no reference to the recent Owers report. There have been three suicides at Harmondsworth. The latest was Bereket Yohannes, 26, who was found hanging in January. Since Owers' damning report, a new centre manager has been introduced and the government has pledged to act on its recommendations. Nicholas Hopkins, a spokesman for Kalyx, said he would 'not be drawn' into commenting on the matter. A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed Kalyx would soon be paying out. 'The Immigration and Nationality Directorate has been in dispute with HDSL (a subsidiary of Kalyx) over its contractual performance at Harmondsworth,' the spokeswoman said. 'The dispute reached mediation point in summer 2006 and reached an agreed settlement; the details of this are being finalised by lawyers with full completion anticipated by the end of this month.' The impending payout comes as the government fears it could lose a crucial Commons vote tomorrow over plans to introduce more competition into the prisons and probation sector. Prisons Minister Gerry Sutcliffe is so worried he has taken the highly unusual step of emailing Conservative MPs offering them a private briefing in a last-ditch attempt to get them onside. The move has inflamed Labour MPs, between 25 and 30 of whom have signalled that they will vote against the bill.

November 29, 2006 BBC
A mutiny inside the UK's largest immigration centre has been contained, the Home Office has said. Detainees at the 500-capacity Harmondsworth centre in west London staged a protest about living conditions in the early hours. Fires were started and about 50 asylum seekers spelt out "help" and "SOS" with bed sheets in the courtyard. The Home office said the situation was contained but some of the detainees would be moved from Harmondsworth. Lin Homer, head of the immigration and nationality directorate, said: "The perimeter remains secure, and no-one has escaped. There has been no risk to the public. No injuries to staff or detainees have been reported." Repeated disturbances: She said 150 immigration offenders at centres across the UK would be bailed to make space for the detainees that were moved from Harmondsworth. "These are people who have been detained in order to better enforce their removal. We will priorities the cases according to risk. No foreign national prisoners will be released," Ms Homer added. The disturbance erupted following the publication of a prisons' watchdog report which criticised the centre's regime after repeated disturbances there.

November 28, 2006 BBC
An immigration detention centre with a violent history including a death and repeated disturbances is getting worse, the prisons watchdog has warned. Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers said Harmondsworth in west London was hard to run - but her report was the poorest ever on a removal centre. Detainees said they feared bullying, and staff were unaware of a special plan to prevent suicides. The Home Office said it would draw up a plan to improve the centre. The centre near Heathrow Airport is the largest in the country, handling thousands of people facing deportation every year. In 2004 a detainee committed suicide, sparking a major disturbance that led to its temporary closure. Since then, Harmondsworth has been at the centre of ongoing campaigns against detention of failed asylum seekers. In 2005, some 50 Zimbabweans held at the centre launched a hunger strike to try to force their cases back into the courts, saying they had been unfairly treated. In their July inspection, inspectors found: More than 60% of detainees felt unsafe Almost half (44%) said they had been victimised by staff Detainees described custody officers as aggressive, intimidating and unhelpful The report also criticised the management's over-emphasis on physical security and their strict control of all movements. These measures went as far as banning detainees from keeping nail clippers. At the same time, actions to prevent self-harm and suicide were weak, despite the commitment of one co-ordinator.

July 31, 2004
Campaigners against the detention of asylum seekers have begun a series of protests around the country.  The demonstrations came after two apparent suicides in removal centres, one of which led to disturbances.  Organisations backing the protests say they want to see an end to detention of people who have not been convicted of any crimes.  The demonstrations are taking place outside five institutions which have been used to hold asylum seekers.  On Monday 19 July, a Ukrainian asylum seeker was found hanged at Harmondsworth Removal centre, near Heathrow Airport. The man had been waiting a date for deportation.  The death sparked significant disturbances in the centre which detainees protesting against conditions.  (BBC)

July 21, 2004
The authorities finally regained full control of a detention centre today where a “significant disturbance” was sparked by the death of a detainee.  Up to 100 asylum seekers at Harmondsworth, near Heathrow, surrendered rather than face the power of specialist “tornado” teams of trained prison officers.  Fires were set and windows broken as trouble erupted at 11pm yesterday, just hours after a 31-year-old detainee was found hanged.  Harmondsworth was expected to be empty by later this evening as the detainees were moved to other immigration sites and prisons.  In a report last September, Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said it was “failing to provide a safe and stable environment” for detainees.  (Scotsman)

July 20, 2004
Hundreds of detainees at an asylum centre, where a man's death sparked a serious disturbance are to be moved.  The trouble at Harmondsworth Detention Centre, which included fires being lit, started after the man was found hanging at 2000 BST on Monday.  The situation has "quietened right down" but a number of detainees are yet to be brought under control. Earlier, staff had to leave for their own safety.  In September last year Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said thecentre was an unsafe place for staff and detainees, despite hard work by staff.  And in May, at least 20 detainees staged a five-day hunger strike in protest against alleged abuses, including the physical treatment of those facing deportation, according to BBC sources.  (BBC)

October 11, 2003
A report issued by the chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales into conditions at the Harmondsworth Detention Centre in 2002 has called for a police investigation into reports of detainees being beaten by staff. Several detainees are alleged to have been assaulted during transfers in and out of the centre, often as they are sent for deportation. On several occasions during detainee transfers, prison service Tactical Intervention Squads—armed with riot gear—have been called in to assist the private security guards that man the centre.  The author of the report, Anne Owers, met one asylum-seeker who had required hospitalisation for injuries sustained during an attempt to deport him and others who had suffered serious assaults at the hands of guards. She acknowledged that allegations by detainees of assault were “common” but that few were referred to the police.  “It is extremely important,” Owers said, “that such claims should be fully investigated and, if necessary, prosecuted, but we are told that police and prosecutors were reluctant to act. If so, this is unacceptable.”  Of the nine assaults against detainees reported to the police in the past year all were dismissed as unsubstantiated.  The report also criticises the centre as being an “essentially unsafe place for detainees and staff.” There were “increasing levels of disorder” in the facility and a detainee-on-detainee assault rate of approximately seven attacks per week. There is an average of one self-harm incident a week officially recorded by the centre, a figure likely to be far higher in reality. Despite this the inspectorate found that “suicide, self-harm and anti-bullying procedures were not efficiently managed.” There was also found to be insufficient mental health support for detainees held in the centre’s medical unit.  Owers claimed that Harmondsworth was “frightening and potentially dangerous” and “not well equipped to ensure detainees’ protection.” Levels of desperation among detainees at the centre are understandably high, with many having been resident in one or more detention centre for months. Harmondsworth is situated next to London’s Heathrow Airport and serves as the last port of call for thousands of asylum-seekers before their forced removal from Britain.  The report criticised staff shortages and poor health and safety protection. It pointed out that a number of small fires at the centre had “severely tested the fire response capability” there. Like the Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre that was ravaged by fire in 2002, Harmondsworth is not fitted with a sprinkler system. During the blaze at Yarl’s Wood staff were unable to cope, leaving the panicked detainees to their own fate. Conditions in Harmondsworth are directly comparable to those that existed in Yarl’s Wood prior to its near destruction—an event that could have claimed the lives of scores of detainees and staff.  Harmondsworth has a family unit capable of holding dozens of families with children. There were 25 children held at the centre at the time of the inspection. Owers found that the educational, recreational and developmental requirements of young people at the centre were being inadequately provided for. Furthermore, the lack of personal security for detainees and the presence of many traumatised adult asylum-seekers created an environment wholly unsuitable for children. “Given the inherent insecurity of the centre as a whole, we remain of the view that, as in other centres in England, children should only exceptionally be detained in Harmondsworth, and not for any period longer than seven days,” the report stated.  The children of asylum-seekers, whether at a single centre or cumulatively by being moved from one centre to another, often spend large portions of their childhood in these grim and dangerous facilities prior to being deported.  The report comments that many of the problems at Harmondsworth are common to all the asylum centres: “Many of the systematic problems that detainees experienced at Harmondsworth have already been covered in the Inspectorate’s six previous reports.”  These include: “the inability of the Immigration Service to progress cases efficiently or communicate effectively with detainees; the absence of sufficient competent legal advice and representation; the need for independent welfare advice to assist detainees to deal with practical problems during detention and on removal; and the need for more activities for detainees, including the ability to work.”  It is not the first official report to criticise Burns International, the private security firm contracted by the Home Office to run Harmondsworth until earlier this year. In April this year a Home Office report—only published following pressure from the human rights group Liberty—on an investigation into the suicide in 2000 of Lithuanian asylum-seeker Robertus Grabys exposed some of the conditions facing vulnerable asylum-seekers in Harmondsworth. The Home Office concluded that there had been insufficient care for Mr. Grabys who was known to be suffering from severe depression. Found hanging in his cell on the day he was to be deported, he had been dead for over an hour. Burns International had not placed him on a suicide watch, and the centre was found to have no formal policy to prevent suicides.  In February Burns International—a division of the Swedish-based multinational security company Securitas—was outbid for the Harmondsworth contract by Premier Detention Services Ltd., which currently runs the much criticised regime at the Dungavel asylum centre in Scotland.  (www.wsws.org)

September 26, 2002
A private company that runs the Harmonsworth detention centre for asylum seekers and provides services to many NHS health trusts warned yesterday that "serious errors of management" in part of its British business would blow a near pounds 20m in profits.  Shares in French-based Sodexho Alliance plunged 30% on the Paris stock market, sending in a shockwave across the support services sector that dragged rival Compass down 10% in London.  Sodexho had dismissed a number of top executives from its UK food and management business and accused its auditors, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, of being "insufficiently vigilant".  Sian Herbert-Jones, chief financial officer at Sodexho Alliance, said there was no evidence of fraud and she was confident the problems would be solved by restructuring.  Sodexho would tighten up management of food and personnel costs, renegotiate some contracts and reduce overheads.  About 85 staff are to lose their jobs and there would be tighter controls on wages, but Ms. Herbert-Jones insisted that key services should not be hit.  But the latest profit warning is the third year and investors are wary of all unexpected announcements in a jittery stock market enviroment.  "A company can't afford this kind of news in this kind of market," said one trader.  The Harmonsworth centre in west London, which was hit by an embarassing breakout by nine asylum seekers earlier this year, is run by Sodexho's UK Detention Centre Services, which has its own management seperate from the food and management group.  (NWOM-news)

Harrow Crown Court
London, UK
Serco

January 20, 2012 UKPA
A former Harrow Crown Court prison guard has been jailed for four years for trying to smuggle heroin. Dean Nelder, 28, was caught taking a package containing cannabis and heroin into the court in April last year. Police were alerted to the plan after a note was left in a cell at Wormwood Scrubs prison tipping them off. Passing sentence at the Old Bailey, the Recorder of London Peter Beaumont QC said: "You've let yourself down, you've let your family down, and those who care for you, and you've made it very difficult to get a responsible job in the future." Nelder was jailed for four years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, two years for conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and three years for possession of a class A drug with intent to supply, to run concurrently.

Heathrow Airport
England
Group 4 (formerly run by Sodexho/UK Detention Services)
April 15, 2009 The Independent
Thousands of foreign visitors and refugees who are detained at Heathrow airport each year are forced to endure degrading living conditions and "deep-seated" negative attitudes about their welfare, an independent report concludes today. The findings will add to growing concerns about the treatment of foreign people held in detention in the UK before they are granted entry clearance or sent home. The report by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) makes note of cockroaches in Terminal 4 kitchens and the absence of proper washing facilities for detainees held overnight. The monitors were so angered by one case, the comprehensive failure to care for the needs of a disabled visitor who was travelling to the UK with her young son, that they sought personal apologies from the staff concerned. Some of the visitors held at Heathrow are incoming passengers detained for questioning or refused entry to the UK. Others are brought to Heathrow from immigration removal centres, prisons or police stations to be deported. The authors said: "The generic term 'detainee' casts no light on the humanity of the men, women and children to whom it is applied. The IMB perceives a deep-seated negative attitude towards their wellbeing while in detention at the airport, at both policy and operational levels." Other language which the report said reflected these views included the use of the phrase "these people" to describe visitors held in what staff inappropriately referred to as "pens". Between 2008 and 2009, 33,100 people were detained at the airport, of whom 22,000 were detained in holding rooms and 11,100 in Queen's Buildings, which is mostly used for holding failed asylum-seekers before they are returned to their own countries. The UK Border Agency has hired G4 Securicor to staff the short-term detention facilities but the report makes it clear that the IBM thought the Government had "failed repeatedly to supervise its staff in key areas, all impacting on detainees' welfare." The IMB called on G4 Securicor to address these issues urgently. It said: "We urge the [UK Border Agency] to take necessary steps, whether in terms of their own processes, or the performance of G4S as escort contractor, to drive down the length of time many are detained. Action is overdue."

June 15, 2008 Sunday Mail
SUSPECTED
ILLEGALIMMIGRANTS AREBEINGHELDIN"HOLDING rooms" at UK airports and ports withoutregularindependent scrutiny of their welfare and human rights, three years after the prisons watchdog recommended in a report to the home secretary that detainees should be monitored. The situation is affecting thousands of people detained each year over visa and other document irregularities by the UK Border Agency at three non-residential facilities run by Group 4 Securicor at Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, and Scotland's immigration reporting centre at Festival Court in Glasgow. Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales - who has responsibility for inspections because immigration is reserved to Westminster, -recommendedmonitoringofthe facilities after spot checks on Glasgow airportandFestivalCourtin2005. Heathrow, which has holding facilities at each of its five terminals, is the only UK airport which has set up Independent Monitoring Board (IMD) committees - members of the public who visit the facilities every week. TheUKjusticedepartmenthas not even begun talks with its Scottish counterpart, which must approve the proposal, and it is feared it could take another year to set up. One insider said: "It's shocking they have been allowed to get away with this at a time when the Border Agency is targeting more people coming into regional airports. "This is as big a political hot potato as dawn raids. Even if these people are only detained for a matter of hours before their cases are rejected and they are put on planes home, they are still entitled to basic human rights, which includes access to full legal representation. "There would have been an outcry had this happened at Dungavel detention centre, which does have independent monitoring." John Wilkes, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: "In 2005, the chief inspector of prisons had many reservations about the holding facilities in Glasgow airport. She found people were not being given adequate information in their own language about their reason for detention. Crucially, people were not offered information on their legal rights and, as they had no access to phones, email or fax, legal or other assistance was impossible. "In this report, three years ago, she strongly recommended the need for independent monitoring, but this has not yet happened in Glasgow. This must happen as a matter of necessity." Asylum lawyer Fraser Latta said: "It's not uncommon for claimants to be detained on a Friday and spend several hours in one of these places, and it must be extremely frustrating if they can't get access to legal help." Latta said it was an example of the breakdown of Westminster-Holyrood relations following former first minister Jack McConnell's failure to win a separate asylum protocol for Scotland. There has also been a sharp rise in the number of people being held at the Glasgowfacilities.BetweenJanuary and the end of March 2005, 34 people were detained. This year, over the same period, 242 people were held, including some at Edinburgh airport. Most were held for less than eight hours, but one person was held in Edinburgh for more than eight hours but less than 12, according to the UK Border Agency. The August 2005 report claimed legal information for detainees was "deficient"; childcare and child protection provision was inadequate; and staff had notundergoneenhancedCriminal Records Bureau checks. Those held in Glasgow were not routinely seen by a health professional, there were "insufficient" activities to relieve boredom and there was no hot food available. Glasgow airport did not even have a television. Theinspectorscouldalsoseeno evidence of notices or leaflets "designed to inform detainees about legal rights or how to get immigration advice". At the airport,accessinglegaladvicewas "impossible" as no free phone calls were automatically offered. Neil Powrie, head of the Association of Prison Visiting Committees in Scotland, which hopes to help the IMB find volunteers, revealed he has only recently been sent an email by the organisation asking him for "a chat" about the plans. "When people are being detained there are always concerns if their conditions are not being monitored," he said. "The fact the chief inspector made the recommendation three years ago and nothing has been done since is down to the Home Office. It would be a lot smoother if these issues were devolved." Norman McLean, head of the IMB Secretariat,said:"Wearerollingout the programmegradually and it is a major exercise. I don't want to be seen as intruding in Scotland and that's why we must have approval from the executive." Tayside Police chief constable John Vine, who has been appointed the first chief inspector of the UK Border Agency, said: "I am very conscious of the fact we are dealing with human beings who in many cases have a legitimate right to come to Britain and seek a better life. Although I will principally be reporting to Westminster, I will have to establish good relations with the devolved government as well." A UK Border Agency spokesman welcomed monitoring of the facilities and added that Edinburgh airport's holding facility is currently being refurbished.

January 16, 2007 IC Coventry
Conditions in holding centres for immigration offenders awaiting deportation still need to be improved, the jails watchdog has said. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers published reports on four immigration short-term holding facilities at Colnbrook near Heathrow Airport, Sandford House in Solihull, and Liverpool's Reliance House and John Lennon Airport. Inspectors found that detainees at Colnbrook spent unacceptably long periods locked in single rooms, and there was a lack of information and independent advice for people facing removal. But it had avoided some of the problems seen in other facilities because it was managed by the Immigration Removal Centre, offering access to healthcare facilities, welfare and race relations support, Ms Owers said. Staff at the three centres in Liverpool and Solihull - all run by Group 4 Securicor - needed more training in the care and protection of children, her report found. The facilities also required reorganising for a mixed population, it added. Ms Owers said: "Accommodation still remains inadequate in many centres and the needs of detainees in relation to healthcare, information and advice, and preparations for release are not yet sufficiently met." Home Office Minister Liam Byrne said: "I take very seriously the recommendations, and action plans responding in detail are currently being drawn up to ensure further improvements are made. "It is important to remember that non-residential short-term holding facilities are intended to accommodate people for very brief periods of time." Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: "The inspector's report confirms what has been apparent for some time: that, for the Government, these people are out of sight and out of mind. "Any society should be ashamed when people are treated like this just because they are to be deported."

April 6, 2006 Gulf Daily News
Holding cells used by British immigration officials at a French freight terminal were so crowded and filthy that staff called them "the dog kennels," a prison watchdog said yesterday. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers also said staff were unsure whether they could stop a detainee from fighting, trying to escape, or committing suicide because they did not know whether English or French law applied. Her report concerned the centres at Calais seaport and the Channel tunnel freight and tourist terminals at Coquelles, which were set up on French soil under an international treaty to hold detainees seeking entry to Britain. Accommodation at Coquelles freight terminal was described by staff as the "dog kennels," Owers said. The six 13 feet by 10 feet cells at Coquelles freight terminal featured hole-in-the-ground toilets and on busy days one cell could be used to hold six people. Furnishing, ventilation and heating were all inadequate, her report added. Records suggested average detention time was seven and a half hours, with the maximum nearly 12 hours. The chief inspector made 49 recommendations for improvement, including one that an independent monitoring board should have regular access. Figures for May to July last year showed 661 detainees had been through Calais Seaport detention centre, 11 of whom were children. The average period of detention was four hours, although the longest was 17. In all, 17 per cent were given permission to enter Britain. At the third centre at Coquelles tourist terminal, average detention time was three hours but the maximum recorded was nearly 16 hours. None of the facilities, run by private firm Group 4 Securicor, could appropriately separate men, women and children. The chief inspector also published a report on detention facilities at Heathrow airport, including the Queen's Building, which handles the greatest number of forced removals from Britain. People could be detained there for up to 36 hours, the report said. Owers complimented the staff's approach to welfare of detainees but called the system inhumane. "Some of those we observed in detention had been dealt with as though they were parcels, not people, and parcels whose contents and destination were sometimes incorrect," Owers said.

September 1, 2001
Britain's policy on asylum seekers was engulfed in fresh controversy last night after a French company behind a new detention centre was set to be given the go-ahead to pay refugees 34p an hour for cleaning and cooking.  In a move branded 'inhumane' and akin to forced labour camps in Communist China, the Government plans to grant the company a unique opt-out to save staff costs by paying refugees at the centre less than one-tenth of the minimum wage.  Confidential Home Office documents obtained by The Observer reveal that UK Detention Services, a subsidiary of the French catering conglomerate Sodexho, has been waived the legal obligation to pay the minimum wage to refugees at a detention camp which will hold 500 people near Heathrow airport when it opens later this month.  Norman Baker MP said that if asylum seekers were allowed to work they should be paid the minimum wage. 'It is a disgrace that the Government is prepared to pay millions to a company that is prepared to exploit asylum seekers in such a cruel manner.'  (The Guardian)

Home Office
G4S teaches UK Border Agency how to care for children: openDemocracy, July 9, 2012, Clare Sambrook. It’s no joke — the world’s biggest security company is training immigration staff in “Keeping Children Safe”.
Police, magistrates and prisons by G4S. Is this what the British people want?: openDemocracy, March 6, 2012, Mel Kelly. Scary story about G4S taking over everything. This is dangerous folks. A must read.

CAROLYNE WILLOW 24 June 2015
The sex abusers guarding Britain’s most vulnerable children 

“They look at you like you’re a dog, making you strip is bang out of order.” The final shocking extract from Children Behind Bars. At Teesside Crown Court in May 2013 a man called John Cornwell was found guilty of four charges of sexual assault of children, four charges of indecent assault of children, and two charges of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child. The offences dated back to the 1990s. Sentencing Cornwell to six years’ imprisonment, the judge said: “It is quite clear from the victims’ statements that untold misery has been caused. The effect will no doubt remain in their minds.” After his conviction, Cornwell, aged 53, was sacked from his job. He was a support worker at Northallerton young offender institution in North Yorkshire a prison that had detained children until 1998. How might a man so thoroughly unsuitable have been employed by the prison service for so long? Was John Cornwell a one-off? For some years now I have been trying to gather information on prison officers and governors who have been convicted of sexual offences. Knowing the risks of closed institutions, and the opportunities for abuse inherent in prison culture, I wanted to find out who among them had worked with locked up children. I asked the Ministry of Justice. My enquiries were not productive. Data protection exclusions in the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 stopped me from finding out the names of prisons in which convicted sex offenders had worked prior to conviction. Officers frequently transfer between prisons as their career progresses, and cross-deployment on split sites is common. It is reasonable to assume that many (if not all) of the following individuals worked at least some of the time with child prisoners. John Maber had been a prison officer for 18 years when the Crown Prosecution Service announced in July 2012 that he had been handed a life sentence “after pleading guilty to 27 offences of child sexual abuse including the rape of a baby girl aged just four months”. The police investigation found he was at the centre of a paedophile ring. After evidence was found on his laptop, hard drive and mobile phone, 15 more arrests were made. At the time of his arrest, Maber was a senior officer at the adult prison Pentonville.  Acting prison governor Russell Thorne was jailed in July 2011 for five years for misconduct in a public office between 2006 and 2010 after coercing a young prisoner to engage in sexual acts with him at Downview women’s prison in Surrey. Allegations of sexual abuse were made about other prison officers at Downview, which had a dedicated unit for girls, and a prison service review was established in 2012. Surrey police established a special investigation, called Operation Daimler. More than 200 past and present prisoners were interviewed. I asked the force how many girls were seen during this investigation and was appalled to learn that not a single child was interviewed.  After being instructed by the Information Commissioner to release the information, the Ministry of Justice confirmed in May 2014 that four officers working at Downview prison had been suspended, dismissed or convicted between January 2009 and October 2013 “as a result of a sexually inappropriate behaviour with women prisoners or a young offender”. This was seven months after a request was first lodged for separate data on the number of prison officers disciplined or convicted as a result of sexually inappropriate behavior with women prisoners and with girls in this Surrey prison. The oblique language avoids public acknowledgement of child sexual abuse (whether there is private recognition is impossible to assess).  The Information Commissioner did not support disclosure of the report from the internal prison service investigation, stating it “could potentially cause unnecessary and unjustified distress” to the prison officers discussed within it. The report remains buried. A separate FOI request I made to Surrey County Council revealed that “less than 10” girls in Downview prison made sexual abuse allegations against staff in the five years to March 2013. I was told that these, and other allegations from girls, were either investigated internally by the prison, or no further action was taken. Had a statutory child protection investigation been undertaken by the local authority following any of the sexual abuse referrals, one obvious consideration would have been the role of strip-searching in facilitating abuse. It is hard to imagine children more vulnerable than those in prison. These are children who have suffered enormous deprivations and grave violations in their early lives, many disabled and/or formerly looked after by local authorities, locked up tens and hundreds of miles away from home. The ordinary practices of penal institutions feature in past institutional child abuse investigations. Removal of children’s clothes, the infliction of pain as restraint, petty rules and summary justice, as well as denial of fresh air and punishments for making complaints – all these, and more, are part of the murky history of children’s homes run by the state, religious bodies and the large children’s charities. Take a look at the inquiries more than 20 years ago into the abuse of children in care in Leicestershire and Staffordshire for the stark parallels with penal custody today. Children then were also deeply aware that they were society’s undesirables and unlikely to be believed if they ever reported abuse. Regimes were tolerated because they were seen to be successful in controlling wayward children.  The power that officers wield is immense. Until very recently, thousands of children entering and leaving young offender institutions every year were systematically forced to take off their underwear and endure additional ‘random’ searches. The former head of the Youth Justice Board, John Drew, told me that when strip-searching was rife, the implicit message to children was: “You’re mine, I can do anything I like with you.” Risk assessments as a pre-requisite of strip-searching have been required only very recently — since 2011 in secure training centres and since 2014 in young offender institutions. Only close monitoring could determine whether such assessments are being properly carried out.  Under any circumstances, being strip-searched is a demeaning experience. At its least ugly, children are made to stand in front of officers, exposing the top and then the bottom half of their naked bodies, while handing over their underwear for inspection. It gets worse than that. During autumn 2013, prisons inspectors uncovered “at least four incidents of young people being strip-searched under restraint and not as a last resort” in Werrington young offender institution. That inspection report recommends the cessation of strip-searching under restraint, although it fails to question the legality of the officers’ actions. [PDF here] In 2005, as a member of the expert panel of Lord Carlile’s independent inquiry into the use of physical restraint, solitary confinement and forcible strip-searching of children in penal custody, I encouraged child prisoners to talk about their experiences of being strip-searched. One 16-year-old girl told me: “For people who’ve been abused it’s not very nice.” Another 16-year-old girl in a different secure training centre told me: “The more you do, the less embarrassing it gets.” She was to be released in two weeks’ time and wondered if she should ask for one of the six staff who had already seen her naked to undertake her final strip-search: “I could ask for one of them. It’s not nice for the whole centre to see you in the nudeAt Durham Crown Court in June 2011 prison governor Barry Cummings was given a four-year custodial sentence after being convicted of three charges of sexually touching a girl under the age of 13 some years previously. Cummings had worked at Low Newton prison, which formerly detained children, and at prison establishments around the North-East. At Newcastle-upon-Tyne Crown Court in May 2011 retired prison officer Christopher Pearce was given a 12-year custodial sentence for raping and indecently assaulting a young girl over a period of five to six years. The child was six when Pearce first began indecently assaulting her, and 10 when he started raping her. The court heard Pearce had raped the young child up to 200 times. The offences were committed around 20 years previously. Acklington prison in Northumberland was one of the institutions Pearce had worked in. It had a dedicated wing for children until 1986 and specialised in the incarceration of sex offenders. Durham Crown Court sent Leslie Winnard to prison for two years in November 2010 for possessing and distributing indecent images of children. Winnard had been a prison officer for more than 30 years. Of the 1,567 indecent images stored on his computer, 11 were level five (child sexual abuse involving an animal) and 257 were level four. Winnard may have had regular sight of children’s naked bodies as a routine part of his employment. The same could be said of retired prison officer Andrew Burns, convicted of possessing indecent images of children, including seven of the most serious type. At York Crown Court in August 2010 Burns was given a three-year community order and banned from having any unsupervised contact with a child aged under 16. William John Payne, a former Royal Marine and prison officer at Warren Hill young offender institution, was sent to custody for three years in May 2010 after sexually abusing a 17-year-old prisoner, both inside the prison and after release. The boy was being treated for depression. Prosecuting counsel told the courtthat Payne was “a prison officer who had care of this young man and groomed him to a point where he was able to sexually abuse him at every opportunity”. Payne would have also been able, as part of his official role, to conduct strip-searches of his 17-year-old victim as well as other children. He had been a prison officer for 30 years. At Bournemouth Crown Court in February 2010, Francis Hart was sent to prison for 14 months for possessing and distributing indecent images of children. Hart pleaded guilty to possessing 245 level-four indecent images (depicting penetrative sexual activity involving a child or children, or both children and adults) and more than 1,000 level-one to level-three images. Having served in the army for 15 years, Hart worked as a prison officer in Portland young offender institution at the time of his arrest in 2007. It is possible he would have undertaken strip-searches of children. David George Lamb was a 53-year-old prison officer working at Deerbolt young offender institution, near Barnard Castle, County Durham, when he downloaded images of child pornography and distributed them to paedophiles around the world. He boasted to online acquaintances that he had had sex with two girls, aged seven and 10, and that he had sexually assaulted a four-year-old girl.  In December 2009, Lamb was jailed for two years. As well as admitting he distributed images to paedophiles, Lamb pleaded guilty to making indecent photographs and having 565 indecent images on his camera at home. Deerbolt young offender institution had a dedicated juvenile unit in the 1990s, and was formerly a borstal. In 2012, The Guardian newspaper reported the case of Neville Husband, a prison officer who managed to get away with abusing boys in penal institutions for decades. This included a period at Deerbolt young offender institution, a posting he requested. The Guardian reports that the police charged Husband with importing sado-masochistic images involving teenage boys in 1969 (these charges were later dropped) and, when he worked at Medomsley detention centre in the 1980s, pornographic material and sex aids were found in his drawers and locker. After 27 years as a prison officer, the prison service discharged Husband on medical grounds in 1990. Thirteen years later, he was convicted of sexual offences against nine child prisoners, four of whom came forward after media reporting of the initial trial. Ronald Hollier was convicted of child rape and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment at Guildford Crown Court in August 2006. He had been a prison officer at Feltham young offender institution, which holds juveniles as well as young adults.  .jpgPrison officer John David Hall was given a life sentence in May 2006 for sexual offences against girls and young women in West Yorkshire. He was found to have indecently assaulted two girls aged 12 and 13 and tried to attack three others aged 13, 14 and 15. Hall wore his uniform off duty, pretending to be a police officer before kidnapping his victims. He had been a prison officer for 15 years; one of his workplaces was Wetherby young offender institution, where his job would have probably included strip-searching children. In November 2002, the Lancaster Guardian reported that “a long-serving prison officer in Lancaster” had been cautioned for internet child pornography after information was passed from US investigators. Lancaster Farms young offender institution held children from April 2000 until 2008/09. The prison service would have been aware of many of these cases (and presumably others not reported by the media) when, in 2007, it began eliminating routine strip-searching in women’s prisons but decided to leave the policy intact for children, when it rejected the European anti-torture committee’s recommendation the following year, and when the Youth Justice Board finally lobbied for change in 2009. The policy document issued in May 2014 still empowers governors to introduce routine strip-searching across whole prisons for designated periods, and routine strip-searching remains mandatory for child prisoners assessed to be a serious security risk. Assessments of risk and decision-making about strip-searching are made entirely within the walls of the prison, with no independent, external oversight. The barbaric practice of cutting off children’s clothes under restraint is still allowed, even within the new, supposedly child-centred, behaviour management system: “The option of cutting off the clothing using safety scissors must be considered only where necessary and must be balanced against the risk of prolonged use of restraint and the consequent psychological impact on the young person and staff. (The cost of replacement clothing is irrelevant in such circumstances.) The young person must be provided with alternative clothing during the search.” While recent policy changes should continue to reduce the frequency of strip-searching, the abusive practice of forcing an isolated and powerless child to undergo bodily and underwear inspection survives. There is no formal recognition of the safeguarding risks of strip-searching in the main or addendum policies. For that we have to look to the National Crime Agency’s report on institutional child sexual abuse published in the aftermath of the Savile case. It includes a case study of the abuse of children in a locked setting (not a penal institution) and carries this warning: “Poor procedures can facilitate abuse ... creating supposedly legitimate reasons for offenders to conduct strip searches.” [PDF here] In that scenario, men had been authorised to strip-search girls, although the lessons are as plain as day for boys as well. In August 2012, the Ministry of Justice agreed to pay compensation to a former child prisoner who had been sexually assaulted on more than one occasion by a prison officer while detained at a young offender institution in Oxfordshire two years previously. The Youth Justice Board routinely publishes data on the injuries children suffer as a consequence of restraint. Yet the public is not told how many incarcerated children allege sexual abuse, whether these allegations are independently investigated and how many prison officers are disciplined and/or convicted as a consequence. Even parliamentarians have been snubbed in their attempts to obtain such information. An FOI request I made, which was initially refused, elicited some indicative data for the period April 2009 to the end of December 2013. Before handing over the data, the National Offender Management Service told me: “We have removed any cases that have been withdrawn, ‘auto closed’ as no outcome received, or employee resigned.” After all these caveats, I was informed 62 prison officers working in juvenile prisons had been disciplined for child abuse. Six prison officers were listed as having “an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner/ex-prisoner”. This is prison service speak for sexual abuse. This data, of course, does not tell us how many children these 62 officers abused. A safeguarding report jointly published by inspection bodies in 2008 had this to say: “While all inspected youth [sic] offender institutions were checking new staff, the HM Prison Service (HMPS) did not require the checking of existing staff and only one establishment was carrying out retrospective checks. Only six out of the 14 establishments had 90% or more of their staff CRB [Criminal Records Bureau] cleared for working with young people. Three establishments only had around half of their staff CRB cleared. This is of particular concern in closed institutions where staff who may not have been vetted are permitted to carry out procedures such as strip-searching...” Let’s reflect on that. Closed institution. Vulnerable child. Staff who haven’t been vetted. Strip-search. The Youth Justice Board and the Office of Children’s Commissioner for England commissioned research into children’s experiences in prison. Their report was published in 2011 as Young People’s Views on Safeguarding in the Secure Estate. [PDF here] Asked about the experience of being strip-searched, one imprisoned girl said: “They look at you like you’re a dog, making you strip is bang out of order, it proper makes me angry, it really does.” A boy expressed similar feelings: “I was angry, I didn’t want to strip in front of two men.” Another girl said: “I think it’s quite like rape.” 


Aug 10, 2014 bbc.com

Police concern at G4S home plan for Wellingborough Police were called to 200 incidents at G4S children's homes in Northamptonshire last year, officers say in a report raising concerns about a new home planned for Wellingborough. G4S has applied to the borough council to allow a home in Hatton Avenue to be used to house up to five girls and boys aged from 10 to 17 with two carers. Northamptonshire Police said that a new home would add to its workload. G4S said: "We cannot comment on planning applications." The police report said: "Police officers have spent at least 90 hours dealing with initial reports of absent/missing persons with the Northamptonshire G4S homes. "Should the local authority be minded to grant permission for this proposal Northamptonshire Police will need a robust management plan from the applicant, setting out policies and procedures for minimising crime and disorder, dealing with disruptive children/young people within their care and the policy related to missing persons." The plans have also received more than 100 objections with residents expressing concern that the home would attract an "excessive number of police visits" and bring increased traffic to the street. G4S said in a report to the council that it is a "recognised quality provider within children's services". The plans will be considered by Wellingborough Borough Council's planning committee later on in the year.

September 9, 2012 The Guardian
Home Office ministers have ordered weekly reports on the progress of two new contracts with the private security companies G4S and Serco to house and provide support services for thousands of asylum seekers and their families. The chief executive of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Rob Whiteman, has confirmed that serious concerns about the ability of the two companies to find housing for thousands of asylum seekers across the north of England by November has led to closer monitoring at the most senior levels of the Home Office. The £883m a year Compass contract to provide support services for dispersed asylum seekers is the largest project run by the Home Office. The two private security companies took over the five-year asylum housing contracts in four of the six UKBA regions across Britain from social landlords, including councils, in March. The companies were expected to start moving people in June. But after a contractual dispute G4S dropped its housing subcontractor for the Yorkshire and Humberside region, United Property Management, in June and its new subcontractors have yet to find enough homes. Two councils, Sheffield and Kirklees, have raised concerns about their ability to deliver the housing contract within the expected timetable. Kirklees council said that a fortnight ago, only one family out of 240 asylum seekers had been moved as part of the transition from the council to the new providers. "There are 240 asylum seekers being assisted. We understand the subcontractors are finding it difficult to procure accommodation and the council has been asked to continue to provide assistance until the end of October. There is no suggestion however that the council's contract will be renewed after this time," Whiteman has told the Commons public accounts committee there were also concerns about the two Serco contracts, one covering north-west England and the other Scotland and Northern Ireland, including the "speed at which properties are being acquired". He said the issue had been "escalated" to directly involve himself and Jeremy Oppenheim, the UKBA director of immigration and settlement. Weekly reports are also being sent to ministers. "It is not at this stage anywhere near penalties because they are acting within the contract in terms of how the work is handed over to them," Whiteman told MPs. "We do have concerns about mobilisation. We are escalating this and I have been involved in meetings on that but it is at a relatively early stage." He added there were other remedies available under the contracts but he hoped the difficulties would be resolved.

September 7, 2012 Reuters
Embattled security firm G4S will be forced to relive its embarrassing London Olympics staffing failure on Tuesday when its boss returns for a second showdown with British lawmakers demanding to know how the debacle was allowed to happen. Group Chief Executive Nick Buckles and David Taylor-Smith, who is the group's UK and Africa CEO, w ill be pressed for further explanation of the recruitment failure which has hit shares and raised questions about its prospects on future deals. "Everyone now accepts that G4S let the country down before the Olympics began. We need to ascertain the reasons why this happened and who else was responsible for the pre-Olympics shambles," Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee and a member of Parliament for the opposition Labour party, told Reuters. Vaz said the committee had quizzed Home Secretary Theresa May, who is in charge of domestic security, on Thursday, and had received a detailed letter outlining the department's oversight of the contract and the minister's meetings with Buckle and the Olympics organizers during the run-up to the Games. G4S, the world's largest security firm, which in Britain runs services for airports, prisons, immigration and the police, admitted just 16 days before the Games began that it could not supply a promised 10,400 venue guards. It eventually raised 7,800 at peak times, leaving the military to make up the shortfall. The failure embarrassed the government, one of G4S's core clients which accounts for more than half of its 1.8 billion pounds British revenue. More than 20 percent of its pipeline of potential UK work also stems from that market. Those numbers mean the UK public sector is one of the biggest global clients for the group, whose revenue for 2012 is forecast at just over 8 billion pounds according to a Reuters poll of 21 analysts. G4S has said it expects to take a 50 million pound ($79.7 million) loss over the contract failure, but the potential for a longer-lasting reputational blow goes beyond the UK market. A week before it conceded recruitment problems, the company told Reuters it expected its work at the 2012 Games would help it win a bigger share of a four-year cycle of global events whose safety and security budget has been estimated at more than $10 billion.

July 23, 2012 Ekklesia
The Howard League for Penal Reform has revealed new findings from polling firm Populus showing that half the public oppose privately run prisons. While just 37 per cent describe themselves as comfortable with private prisons, 49 per cent are uncomfortable, including 23 per cent very uncomfortable. The gap is even wider amongst women (32 per cent comfortable, 50 per cent uncomfortable) and the electorally crucial over-65 age group (32 per cent comfortable, 59 per cent uncomfortable). When the specific example of G4S running a local prison is presented, just one in four (26 per cent) describe themselves as comfortable with the idea and even fewer (23 per cent) view the service as suitable for a payment by results approach. Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, which campaigns for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison, said: “It’s clear that the public understands the dangers of putting such a key service as the prison system into the hands of unaccountable companies, who are driven by cutting costs rather than cutting crime. "The scandal of the Army having to step in to provide security at the Olympics after private firm G4S failed to do its job proves yet again that when private firms underperform, the public pays through the nose and safety is compromised. We shouldn’t be allowing the same thing in our prison system.”

May 30, 2012 Our Kingdom
On Tuesday 8 May a Bradford asylum seeker and her twelve week old baby were given barely a week’s notice by private landlord UPM to quit their home. On Thursday 17th they were transported forty miles to a tiny flat in Doncaster with no cooker, table or chair, and only a tiny sink to wash dishes and clothes. Campaigners in Bradford and Doncaster supported the mother and engaged with local medical services and the Red Cross, and protested to the UK Border Agency and local authorities. The protests prompted a Border Agency inspector to visit the Doncaster flat. On Monday the Border Agency declared the flat “contractually non-compliant” and “not suitable in its present state for mothers and babies”. The Border Agency claimed it had instructed UPM to relocate the mother and baby as a matter of urgency. But they remain in the Doncaster flat, marooned 40 miles from anybody they know. This is the new world of asylum seeker housing controlled by G4S, the world’s biggest security company. In March G4S won a massive £30 million UK Border Agency contract to house asylum-seekers in the Midlands, the East of England, the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside. Using the “prime contractor model”, which G4S tells investors is “attractive”, the company granted subcontracts to UPM and the charity Migrant Help. UPM, or United Property Management (slogan “Serve like a charity. Perform like a business”), describes itself as “a market leading provider of accommodation and support services to people from all walks of life.” They’re based just up the road from Manchester’s Victoria Station. Beatrice Botomani, a worker at Bradford Refugee Action Forum who has coordinated protests and emergency help for the Bradford women and children, said: “We met UPM at the end of April and they gave a long list of pledges about not taking children out of Bradford and away from social and medical services and schools, and giving adequate notice on removals. Only a few days later they started evictions and removals with less than a week’s notice. Some of these women and children have been in Bradford for two years or more awaiting decisions on asylum claims. UPM has not told us where people are going and we cannot alert local support services to contact them – many of these people are already traumatised and have fled from terrible conditions in their home lands, UPM is adding to their stresses.”

November 22, 2011 The Guardian
Serious injuries or other life-threatening warning signs have been detected on 285 occasions when children have been physically restrained in privately run jails over the past five years, according to Ministry of Justice figures. The figure reflects the number of "exception reports" submitted by the four privately run secure training centres to the youth justice board since 2006. The warning signs triggering an exception report include struggling to breathe, nausea, vomiting, limpness and abnormal redness to the face. Serious injuries are classified as those requiring hospitalisation and include serious cuts, fractures, concussion, loss of consciousness and damage to internal organs. The MoJ figures, which have been disclosed for the first time, show that there were 61 such exception reports made last year. There have been 29 so far in the first 10 months of this year. Their disclosure comes as a two-day High Court challenge is due to get underway over the MoJ's refusal to identify and trace hundreds of children who have been unlawfully restrained in the privately run child jails using techniques that have since been banned. Children's rights campaigners believe they should be entitled to compensation. The Children's Rights Alliance for England (Crae) has brought the case challenging the justice secretary, Ken Clarke's, refusal to contact former detainees dating back to 1998, when the first secure training centre opened. The legal challenge follows a second inquest earlier this year into the death of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood, who was found hanging in his room at Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, where he was on remand in 2006. It concluded there was a serious system failure which gave rise to an unlawful regime at the child jail. The use of several "distraction" restraint techniques, that involved inflicting pain with a severe blow to the nose or ribs, or by pulling back a child's thumb, were banned in 2008. The use of physical restraint techniques to control teenagers simply for the purposes of "good order and discipline" was also ruled unlawful by the court of appeal. Carolyne Willow, Crae's national co-ordinator, said their lawyers will argue there had been a chronic failure by the authorities to protect vulnerable children over many years. "It was not children's responsibility to know about, challenge and stop unlawful and abusive treatment," said Willow, adding there were potentially thousands of former detainees who should now be contacted. "Children in custody are among the most disadvantaged in society and they were held in closed institutions where unlawful restraint was routine and ordinary. It was the state, and the private contractors, who were duty-bound to protect the welfare and rights of vulnerable children." She said that government officials now had a duty to notify potential victims that their rights had been infringed. The abuses should no longer remain hidden and unchallenged. The security company, G4S, which operates three of the four child jails is also joining the case as an 'interested party'.

November 13, 2011 The Guardian
The privatisation of public services has been branded a scandal by unions who say that leaked tender documents reveal that the opening-up of the prison system to competition is "heavily biased" in favour of private firms. The Ministry of Justice has introduced competitive tendering for five jails as ministers seek to expand the role of the private sector. They claim that competition will result in more efficient services and a better deal for the taxpayer, but unions fear that it will result in widespread redundancies, poorer working conditions and reduced pensions for workers. Prison governors warn that expanding the private sector's role in the custodial system will create a profit-maximising culture that favours incarceration and cutbacks to rehabilitation. Internal documents seen by the Observer show that the in-house public sector teams seeking to run the first five prisons subjected to the new competition process were forced to increase the total cost of their bids by more than 21%. An earlier document, in 2009, forced an increase of only 13%. Unions claim the substantial "add-ons" rendered the public sector bids uncompetitive compared with those put forward by their private sector rivals. The Principles Of Competition document, updated in August 2010, applies to Birmingham, Buckley Hall, Doncaster, Featherstone II and Wellingborough prisons. The document's terms have prompted claims that Tory ministers are seeking to outsource the entire prison system to the private sector. Currently in the UK, there are 13 private prisons holding 15% of the incarcerated population. "Prison privatisation is no longer based on efficiency, it's now ideological," said Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the probation union, Napo. "It's extraordinary that the public sector is forced to take into account huge additional costs. It puts public prisons at a total disadvantage. If this continues, there will be no state-run prisons in five years."

August 5, 2011 The Guardian
Separate investigations into three deaths in immigration removal centres (IRC) in the past month have been launched by the police, amid growing concern about the treatment of detainees. The spate of deaths has caused alarm among critics of the government's detention policy, who warn that the system is at "breaking point" with poor healthcare putting people's lives at risk. Two men died from suspected heart attacks at Colnbrook near Heathrow airport and the third killed himself at the Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire on Tuesday. John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, who has two detention centres including Colnbrook in his constituency, said he feared there would be more deaths as the system struggled to cope with the number of people being detained. "The government is now detaining people on such a scale that the existing services are swamped," he said. "It is inevitable if we put the services under such relentless strain that there will be more deaths as a result … we are dealing with people who are extremely stressed and extremely vulnerable and the services are not able to cope and not able to guarantee their safety." The first man who died was Muhammad Shukat, 47, a Pakistani immigration detainee who collapsed at around 6am on 2 July. His roommate Abdul Khan says that in the hours before he died Shukat was groaning in agony, had very bad chest pains and was sweating profusely. Khan, 19, from Afghanistan, said he began raising the alarm around 6am and pressed the emergency button in the room 10 times in a frantic effort to get help. Khan claimed that on three occasions members of the centre's nursing team entered the room and found Shukat on the floor where he had collapsed. Khan said they put him back into bed, took his temperature and some medicine was administered, but did not call emergency assistance immediately. According to Khan, the nurses initially said that Shukat could go to see the centre's doctor at 8am. According to the London Ambulance Service, Colnbrook staff called an ambulance just before 7.20am. Attempts were made to resuscitate Shukat, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Hillingdon Hospital. A postmortem found the provisional cause of death to be coronary heart disease. Shukat's body has been returned to Pakistan and his family are understood to have no concerns about the medical treatment he received. The second man to die at Colnbrook has not yet been named. According to the Metropolitan police he was 35 and was found dead in his cell at 10.30am last Sunday. London Ambulance Service officials pronounced him dead at the scene. "A postmortem held on 1 August found the cause of death to be a ruptured aorta. The death is being treated as unexplained," said a police spokesman. Colnbrook IRC is managed by Serco. In a statement to detainees about Shukat's death, deputy director at Colnbrook, Jenni Halliday, described her "deep regret" and extended her condolences. In a statement to detainees about the second Colnbrook death, Serco's contract manager, Michael Guy, informed detainees that a resident in the short-term holding facility had died and that the death was thought to be from natural causes. On Tuesday, a 35-year-old man hanged himself in the toilet block at Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire. A fellow detainee, who refused to give his name, said the man had been hours away from being deported and had become very anxious. "He was normally a very quiet person … but the pressure is too much for people in here." It is understood the man had only been at the centre for a few days before he died. The Home Office refused to give any more details saying his extended family had yet to be informed. Emma Ginn, from the campaign group Medical Justice, said the deaths had heightened concern about the poor healthcare on offer to those being kept in UK detention centres. "Based on medical evidence from many hundreds of detainees, Medical Justice has documented the disturbingly inadequate healthcare provision that often vulnerable immigration detainees are subjected to in Colnbrook and other immigration removal centres... [this] combined with the perilous and frightening conditions of detention, is a lethal cocktail, a disaster waiting to happen." The UK Border Agency declined to comment on the specific circumstances of each case. It said the police and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman always investigated deaths in immigration detention centres and it would be inappropriate to comment until these were complete. David Wood, director of criminality and detention at the UK Border Agency, said all detainees at immigration removal centres have access to health services seven days a week. "All detainees are seen by a nurse within two hours of arrival and are given an opportunity to see a GP within 24 hours," he added. "The health of all detainees is monitored closely, and the healthcare professionals are required to report cases where it is considered that a person's health is being affected by continued detention. "The UK takes its responsibilities seriously, which is why we consider every case on its individual merits and will continue to offer protection to those who need it. However, detention is an essential part of our controls on immigration in the UK." A groundbreaking ruling -- A man with severe mental illness was unlawfully locked up in a UK detention centre for five months and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, according to a high court ruling. The man, a 34-year-old Indian national, was detained in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre between April and September last year. On Friday a judge ruled that his treatment amounted to a breach of article 3 of the European convention human rights. The man's lawyer said the ruling – thought to be the first of its kind – raised wider questions about how the government treats people with mental illnesses in the immigration and detention system. "The court's decision that my client suffered inhuman or degrading treatment at a UK detention facility sends a very loud and clear message to the authorities," said. "We would urge the minister to conduct a fundamental review into how people suffering from mental illness are treated in the immigration detention estate." The man, referred to as "S" in the ruling, had a history of serious ill treatment and abuse before arriving in the UK. He served time in prison for wounding and assault before being transferred to a secure psychiatric hospital until his discharge in April 2010. Following his release the UK Border Agency said there was "no evidence" he was mentally ill and he was detained in Harmondsworth where his health deteriorated and he began to have psychotic episodes and self harm. The high court intervened and he was released on bail. His lawyers said he had been living with his family since then and had fully complied with the conditions of bail set by the court. In the ruling judge David Elvin said: "S's pre-existing mental condition was both triggered and exacerbated by detention and that involved both a debasement and humiliation of S since it showed a serious lack of respect for his human dignity. It created a state in S's mind of real anguish and fear, through his hallucinations, which led him to self-harm frequently and to behave in a manner which was humiliating…" A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: "We regularly review our detention policies and will look at the findings in this case to ensure lessons are learned. Detention is an essential part of our immigration control but we recognise the importance of ensuring it remains appropriate on a case by case basis."

May 23, 2011 Daily Mirror
PRIVATE jail bosses paid from the public purse are putting profits offshore to avoid tax, MPs will be told this week. Firms making millions out of the privatisation of British justice are not paying their due, says a Prison Officers’ Association report. Taxpayers pick up the bills for land and buildings of these jails. But the people running them have parent companies which the POA has traced to tax havens such as Jersey and investment banks. The report says: “Billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being diverted from essential public service provision that could benefit society as a whole. “Often those that benefit most are registered in tax havens.” POA general secretary Steve Gillan said it was “a national scandal”. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke recently announced plans to let contractors run large prisons in Birmingham and Doncaster plus ¬a new one near Wolverhampton. They will join 11 jails in England and Wales and four young offender units which are run privately. The report says: “Making a profit out of incarceration is morally repugnant. Companies have a vested interest in keeping the prison population high to maximise profits.” It says firms have no incentive to go along with Mr Clarke’s “rehab¬¬ilitation revolution” – aimed at cutting the ¬crippling expense of ¬prisons by ¬reducing the number of inmates. The POA paper, being sent to all MPs, says the true costs to the nation are “hidden behind a -smokescreen of ¬commercial secrecy”. The report demands an inquiry into private prison finances. The Ministry of Justice said: “Contracts to run prisons have been awarded through open competition to deliver best value for the taxpayer without ¬affecting standards.”

December 26, 2010 The Guardian
A security company has recruited two former senior civil servants, sparking an outcry about the "revolving door" between Whitehall and the company. G4S, formerly Group 4 Securicor, hired Dr Peter Collecott, the one time director of corporate affairs at the Foreign Office, and David Gould, the Ministry of Defence's former chief operating officer in charge of defence equipment, according to a government report. The company, whose guards are under investigation over the death of deportee Jimmy Mubenga, supplies armed guards for embassy staff around the world. It has recruited former ministers including Lord Reid as well as senior figures in offender management. The disclosure comes two weeks after Sir George Young, the leader of the Commons, said he would examine the "revolving door" between Whitehall and defence companies. Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham, called for a closer examination of civil servants before they are allowed to take private sector roles that may overlap with their former public duties. "There is great excitement over politicians and outside interests but the real issue is the gilded path from Whitehall where billions of pounds worth of public spending decisions are made into employment with companies that gained from such contracts and contacts," he said. "We need new rules so that anyone in public service cannot go straight into employment with companies to which they previously awarded contracts." Harry Fletcher, the assistant general secretary of the probation union Napo, who has been critical of the way G4S has recruited senior civil servants from the Home Office, said: "Appointments such as these give G4S a commercial advantage over their rivals and will encourage others to go down the same route." The appointments are listed in the latest report from the Advisory Committee of Business Appointments, released earlier this month. Collecott, 60, was the ambassador in Brazil from 2004 to 2008. He was a member of the Foreign Office's senior leadership forum that brought together the most senior heads of mission overseas. G4S said he has worked for their company on two separate domestic projects – once in 2009 and again this year, a contract which ended in September. The company has declined to explain the nature of the project. Gould, the MoD's former chief operating officer of defence equipment and support – which put him in charge of billions of pounds worth of procurement contracts – took up a consultant post with G4S last year. He left the MoD in 2008, and has also had roles at Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems Ltd. A spokesman for G4S said he worked on a specific project with G4S in 2009. Last month, G4S prompted an outcry by hiring Philip Wheatley, the former director general of the National Offender Management Service. Wheatley's G4S role, which he takes up just as Ken Clarke launches a plan to privatise much of the probation service he managed until June, has been criticised by probation unions. Wheatley's appointment is part of a pattern of G4S lobbying over probation privatisation. The company paid for a meeting at the last Conservative conference, where G4S "offender management" executive Jerry Petherick, spoke alongside the prisons minister, Crispin Blunt.

July 18, 2010 AP
Brutal techniques to restrain children held in private prisons have been made public after mounting pressure from children's rights groups. The Observer disclosed details of the techniques used to train staff in restraining young offenders in the country's four privately-run secure training centres. The secret manual, Physical Control in Care, was created by the HM Prison Service and approved by the Department of Justice in 2005. The government's Youth Justice Board (YJB) had initially fought the Information Commissioner's order to hand over the documents. When the Children's Rights Alliance (CRAE) called on the Justice Secretary to hold an independent judicial inquiry, YJB finally relented. The Observer revealed that control measures authorised for staff to use include "an inverted knuckle into the trainee's sternum and drive inward and upward," "alternate elbow strikes to the young person's ribs until a release is achieved," and "drive straight fingers into the young person's face, and then quickly drive the straightened fingers of the same hand downwards into the young person's groin area." The manual went so far as to warn staff that some techniques risk a "fracture to the skull" and "temporary or permanent blindness caused by rupture to eyeball or detached retina." One passage states in regard to administering a head-hold that "if breathing is compromised the situation ceases to be a restraint and becomes a medical emergency." Carolyne Willow, CRAE's national co-ordinator stated, "Until now, we've seen a compulsive reliance on secrecy and an absolute failure to face up publicly to the disgraceful and unlawful treatment of children the State officially describes as vulnerable." The campaign to make the information public came after the deaths of two children, Gareth Myatt, 15, and Adam Rickwood, 14, who died in the custody of Rainsbrook and Hassockfield secure training centres in 2004.

September 4, 2009 Morning Star
Leaders of the prison officers' union have accused the government of "corruption at the highest levels" for colluding with privateers to sell off Britain's jails. Prison Officers Association (POA) general secretary Brian Caton made the damning accusation as he exposed exclusively to the Morning Star the defection to security privateer Serco of the head of a public-sector bid to run Buckley Hall jail near Rochdale. Former prison governor Steve Hall, who had been appointed by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) to lead the bid, was revealed to have taken up a position with the huge multinational despite government rules insisting that civil servants must "put the obligations of public service above your own personal interests." Mr Caton declared that the government "wants to auction off the prison service and is fully aware that civil servants like Steve Hall take the information that they have gathered and defect to the private sector. "This is corruption at the highest levels," he stressed. "This is not first time this has happened and it comes despite Justice Minister Jack Straw giving us an absolute assurance that it would not happen again," Mr Caton added. The Civil Service code explicitly states that government workers "must not misuse your official position, for example by using information required in the course of your official duties to further your private interests." But Mr Caton insisted that NOMS director of human resources Robin Wilkinson had admitted that Mr Hall, who was appointed by the head of the government's public-service bids unit Colin McConnell, had done exactly that. Calling on NOMS director Phil Wheatley, Mr Wilkinson and Mr McConnell to all resign, Mr Caton said that "the POA believes that this affair represents a conspiracy to act in a corrupt manner and we will be demanding that an independent inquiry should be conducted by the police - that's how serious this is." The revelation comes just days after the POA announced that its members had voted by a crushing four to one to strike against the government's drive to sell off the Prison Service and hand jails over to private security firms such as Serco. Mr Caton pointed out that Buckley Hall prison had to be renationalised after its previous experience with privatisation proved a failure. "Of 11 private prisons in Britain, 10 are in the bottom quarter of the government's prison performance league - that's how bad they are," he asserted. "Privatisation is about driving down standards and paying prison officers less because all these companies care about is profits," Mr Caton added. "It is an insult to our members at Buckley Hall, who gave information to Steve Hall to support the bid to keep the jail in the public sector, that he has now stuffed that information into a briefcase and taken it to Serco." Mike Nolan, president of Civil Service union PCS prison service group, emphasised that such a breach of the Civil Service code was "undoubtably immoral. "This has happened a few times, but what is worse is that prison managers are actually being targeted by the private-sector companies that want to take over prisons - and Serco in particular is now riddled with them," he added. Serco and the Ministry of Justice had not responded to requests for information as the Morning Star went to press.

June 29, 2009 Independent
Figures obtained by More4 show four of Britain's 10 private prisons received the second-lowest rating in Government tests. Britain's private prisons are performing worse than those run by the state, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The findings, based on the overall performances of 132 prisons in England and Wales, appear to undermine claims by ministers that the greater use of private jails is raising standards for the accommodation of more than 83,000 prisoners held across both sectors. Separate figures, also released under the right-to-know law, show that nearly twice as many prisoner complaints are upheld in private prisons as they are in state-run institutions. The Government is committed to building five more private prisons to accommodate the growing prison population, which is predicted to rise to 96,000 by 2014. But the poor performance ratings among 40 per cent of private prisons in England and Wales throw into question the cost savings and other benefits of using outside businesses to tackle the prison crisis. The data obtained by More4 News shows that four of the 10 private prisons scored the second lowest rating of 2, "requiring development", and only one above an assessment of "serious concern." The Ministry of Justice introduced the Prison Performance Assessment Tool (PPAT) last year, providing the first direct comparison between public and private prisons. It ranks the prisons out of four gradings using a wide range of measurements, including escapes, assaults and rehabilitation. In the second quarter of last year, the average overall score for prisons in the private sector was 2.7. For the 123 public sector prisons the average was 2.83. In the following quarter this gap had widened to 2.6 and 2.85. This is a difference of almost 10 per cent. No private prison attained the top mark of 4, defined as "exceptional performance." There were also disparities in the number of complaints upheld in private and state-run prisons. Rye Hill Prison, a private prison run by G4S, which has been a focus of particular criticism since it opened in 2001, saw a total of 22 complaints, well above the average in both the public and private sectors.

March 14, 2009 Sunday Mail
Former Defence Secretary John Reid faced fierce criticism yesterday as it emerged the world's largest security firm had won a huge contract from the Ministry of Defence weeks after taking him on as a consultant. Mr Reid - who ran the MoD until May 2006 before resigning from the Cabinet while Home Secretary in June 2007 - was hired by G4S three months ago for £50,000 a year to offer 'strategic advice'. This week, it was awarded a four-year contract to supply private security guards for around 200 MoD and military sites across Britain in a deal thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds. While many former ministers have taken private-sector jobs, it is unusual for such a senior Government figure and sitting MP to work for a company so closely linked to their former department. Opposition MPs last night said Mr Reid's earnings from G4S were 'totally inappropriate', while the Taxpayers' Alliance campaign group called for the rules governing employment for ex-ministers to be reviewed urgently.

January 22, 2009 Morning Star
DAVID Miliband said that the war on terror was an error, but some people don't regret it. Private security companies like Group 4 made a mint. Now, it wants to spread its good fortune - this month, Group 4 Security gave a £50,000 position to former Labour minister John Reid as an "adviser." Reid fits in this part-time job when he isn't too busy representing the good people of Airdrie and Shotts as their Member of Parliament. Group 4 has plenty of reasons to want access to the contact book of a former home and defence secretary - the firm now supplies the armed guards looking after British officials in Iraq and Afghanistan while locking up prisoners, asylum-seekers and "terror suspects" in Britain, so Reid is worth every one of the five million pennies that they are giving the man. Reid was once a Communist Party member, but abandoned Marxism in favour of new Labour. This is odd, because his career seems to illustrate the crudest and most determinist kind of Marxism. For years, Marxists have been grappling with the subtle and sophisticated ways in which the capitalist class dominates society, but Group 4 opted for a very unsubtle approach - the capitalists just hired Labour's representative. Reid hasn't always hawked his brawn for the money men. Back in 1992, Reid signed a House of Commons motion calling on Sir Norman Fowler to resign from the board of Group 4. The motion said that the House "regrets that the right honourable Member for Sutton Coldfield (Norman Fowler), chairman of the Conservative Party, has not seen fit to resign his directorship of another Group 4 company, Group 4 Securitas, and urges him to do so." It added: "The government should suspend all further moves to privatisation within the criminal justice system." Reid's call for Fowler to resign from Group 4 and for the government to shun the firm came after the company let a number of prisoners escape from their vans on the way to court. Whizz forward a decade and a half and Reid, having demanded that Fowler abandon Group 4, has himself taken a job with the firm. In the meantime, Conservative and Labour governments have not stopped their "privatisation of the criminal justice system," they have expanded it. Group 4 has men with truncheons in Britain and men carrying guns in Iraq. Nor has the firm become any less accident-prone. Group 4 Security prefers to be called G4S because, in ad people's language, the brand is tarnished. Group 4 was even described as a "national laughing stock" by the government's own lawyers in court in 2003 after a riot at an immigration detention centre that it ran which was later burned to the ground. Things haven't improved since. Reid himself sent the firm to new frontiers, where the firm ran new fiascos. When Reid was home secretary, the Law Lords told him that just labelling foreigners "terror suspects" didn't mean that he could lock them up without trial. Reid turned to Group 4 for help. It cobbled together something called "control orders," a house arrest for these "terror suspects" administered by Group 4 and other private firms. Control orders were simultaneously too draconian and too lax - prisoners, including vulnerable men who had been tortured in their home countries, were tagged and monitored by Group 4. Those who stuck by the rules were pushed to the edge of mental illness by the isolation of the strict house arrest. At the same time, Group 4 allowed another prisoner to simply disappear. This may have been embarrassing for the firm and for Reid, but they manfully hid their red faces and entered into a new relationship when Reid left government. Group 4 has risen thanks to the crudest economic determinism - Reid, who authorised the signing of cheques for Group 4 as a minister, ends up getting cheques from the firm. Reid is not alone. A small squad of politicians worked to get Group 4 where it is today. First, Tory chairman Fowler helped the firm get into the prisons business in the 1990s. Group 4 tightened its grip on British jails last year when it took over rival private prisons firm GSL. It bought GSL from an investment company called Englefield Capital, which employs another Labour ex-minister, former defence secretary George Robertson, as an adviser. Group 4 then broke into the international mercenary trade by buying a company called Armor Group, whose armed men guard British officials in Iraq and Afghanistan. Up until this, Armor Group's chairman had been another top politician - leading Tory MP Malcolm Rifkind. Twenty years ago, the idea that a private company would run our jails and wars would have looked like science fiction. By hiring politicians, the "security industry" made it a reality.

January 14, 2009 Politics.Co.UK
An official investigation into those working in the immigration services has begun after it was revealed two members of staff are British National party (BNP) members. One guard was revealed to be a member after his name was discovered on the membership list released on the internet last year. Another has been suspended while his links to the party are investigated. The only two services where membership of the BNP constitutes grounds for dismissal are the police and the Prison Service. Anyone who works in immigration or removals must sign a declaration saying they are not a member of any far-right group, including the BNP. The UK Border Agency said: "All allegations are investigated and the UKBA can revoke an individual's accreditation to work for the agency or have any contact with detainees." Labour MP and anti-racist campaigner Diane Abbott told the Independent - which broke the news following a long-term immigrant rights campaign - that the use of private contractors for detention and deportation was at the root of the problem. "If it is true that staff employed to work with asylum-seekers and immigrants are members of the BNP then it is yet another sign that the Home Office are allowing for the mistreatment of immigrants in this country," she told the newspaper. "For years, campaign groups and my colleagues and I have been pointing out that hiring private contractors to work as immigration guards is a bad idea. It seems we will now have more proof of this." The suspended security guard is being investigated by a private contractor.

January 11, 2009 The Observer
John Reid, the former home secretary, has cashed in on his ministerial experience by taking a £45,000-a-year job with private security company G4S, the Observer has learnt. His appointment comes just days after a parliamentary committee warned that former ministers have been exploiting their insider knowledge "with impunity". Formed from a merger of Group 4 and Securicor, G4S is Britain's largest security firm with contracts ranging from private prisons to the armed guards defending British officials in Iraq. The appointment was disclosed by the advisory committee on business appointments, which polices former ministers' job applications. Reid has been judged free to lobby ministers and officials on behalf of the security company. The public administration committee (PAC) called last week for all lobbying activity to be registered and monitored by a tougher watchdog - claiming the industry's attempt at self-regulation had entirely failed. "We are strongly concerned that, with the rules as loosely and as variously interpreted as they currently are, former ministers in particular appear to be able to use with impunity the contacts they built up as public servants to further a private interest," said a statement from the PAC.

June 11, 2008 Mail on Sunday
The Home Office squandered £29million of taxpayers' money on a flagship giant asylum centre which was never built - including hiring in a 'financial advisor' who charged almost £16,000 a month. A scathing report from MPs exposes a catalogue of costly blunders and lambasts the failing department for a 'startling absence of common sense' in one of its most embarrassing fiascos of recent years. Seven years after officials started working on the ambitious plans to house thousands of asylum seekers on a former RAF station at Bicester, Oxfordshire, the site remains empty and derelict with 'no benefit' to the taxpayer. Vast sums were paid to consultants, private advisors and contractors and when ministers pulled the plug on the entire project in 2005 they were forced to hand over millions more in cancellation fees. Officials failed to understand how fierce local opposition and legal challenges would drag out the process, and made no attempt to plan for future uses of the site or the risk that other immigration policy changes would scupper the scheme. Last night the Home Office claimed the disaster had led to an 'overall positive impact for the public' because officials had learned important lessons. Former Home Secretary David Blunkett announced the scheme in 2001, as part of a strategy to speed up and streamline the creaking asylum system by housing applicants in a series of huge accommodation centres across the country. Thousands were to be placed in the first centre at an isolated site outside Bicester, but crucially it would not be secure and the immigrants would be free to come and go as they pleased. The plans brought a storm of protests, not only from local residents but also from refugee support groups who claimed leaving so many asylum seekers to languish at a remote site, far from any local community, was a disastrous plan. Planning inspectors rejected the plans, but John Prescott used his powers to overturn their decision, further infuriating locals. Finally ministers realised in 2005 that the centre was unnecessary and unworkable, but not before almost £30million of public money had been wasted. The PAC report reveals how the Home Office hired a Financial advisor at a cost of £15,743 per month, and a procurement advisor who was paid £15,559 per month, because no civil servants were judged to have the right expertise. The pair, who have not been named, were paid more than £1.1million for less than three years work, on top of £6.3million paid out to consultants. MPs complained that the Home Office was unable to show whether the highly paid consultants 'added value'. Private contractors Global Solutions Limited were paid £7.6 for design work, but claimed almost £8million in termination fees when the Bicester scheme was axed. PAC chairman Edward Leigh said the project 'embodied lack of foresight, poor business planning and a startling absence of common sense.' He said the scheme was 'always going to provoke opposition in the local community' but the Home Office took no account of that, or of objections from refugee groups, and made no effort to make contact with local interest groups or MPs to discuss objections. Nor did the department realise - until it was too late - that a decline in the number of asylum seekers and some success in speeding up the system meant the centre was increasingly pointless. Last month the Home Office announced plans to build a secure immigration detention centre on the Bicester site, although it will not be open until 2012 at the earliest and will require planning permission. Shadow Immigration Minister, Damian Green, attacked the Bicester debacle as 'a symptom of long-term incompetence by immigration ministers, who failed to notice that asylum numbers were dropping just when they were planning this new centre. 'Their latest plan is to turn the derelict site into a detention centre. I hope they have done their homework better this time.' A Home Office spokesperson said: 'At the time, we believed accommodation centres to be the right decision but as circumstances changed and the project was delayed, we reviewed that decision. 'Our experience with this project has taught us some important lessons, and this, along with the other improvements put in place, has led to an overall positive impact for the public.'

January 18, 2008 BBC
Privately-run prisons perform worse than those run by the public sector, a document leaked to the BBC suggests. The Prison Service papers include an internal "league table", which ranks all jails in England and Wales. It shows that most privately-managed prisons score badly on security and maintaining order and control. Prison governors want the government to re-think private management of prisons. But the Prison Service says private and public sector jails cannot be compared. BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the report would re-open the debate about private sector involvement in prisons, at a time when private companies were bidding to fund and operate a series of new jails. A national table, ranking performance in six categories, showed that 10 of the 11 privately-run prisons in England and Wales were in the bottom quarter. Assessments 'subjective' -- Peterborough Prison, managed by a private firm for three years, came last out of 132 prisons and prison clusters, with low marks for reducing re-offending, organisational effectiveness and decency. The Prison Governors Association has called on the government to re-think its policy of involving private firms in the management of prisons. But sources within the private security industry said the findings shown in the documents were based on subjective assessments. The Prison Service said direct comparisons between the private and public sectors were "not appropriate" because some figures were counted differently. Privately-managed prisons, which were introduced to the UK in the 1990s, are assessed by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in the same way as public sector prisons.

September 27, 2007 BBC
A detention lorry that will hold suspected illegal immigrants is being trialled at a Dorset ferry port. Up to 10 people can be held in the privately-owned truck for a maximum of 12 hours while their details are checked out. The purpose-built lorry was unveiled at Poole, Dorset, on Thursday and will be used at ports along the south coast. The Border and Immigration Agency said similar trucks could be used around the UK if the trial was a success. The five-month trial of the mobile unit will test whether it can speed up the processing of offenders so they can be deported more quickly. The lorry is operated by GEO Group Inc, a multinational company that specialises in correctional and detention management.

February 1, 2006 The Guardian
The Home Office yesterday became the first Whitehall department in living memory to present accounts to parliament that were delivered so late and so flawed that the National Audit Office is unable to tell MPs whether they are correct. The department, which spends £13bn a year of taxpayers' money, will be hauled before parliament to explain "spectacular" errors and a failure by senior management under Sir John Gieve, the former permanent secretary and now deputy chairman of the Bank of England, to put together proper accounts. The report by Sir John Bourn, the comptroller and auditor general, reveals that two versions of the accounts from the Home Office were presented to the NAO which were so different that no single account balance was the same. The report says: "The accounts were riven with numerous inaccuracies." The figures were so disparate that one set says the Home Office overspent by £68m while the second set said the Treasury owed the Home Office £112m, a difference of £180m. Other examples included wrongly putting the cost of the private prison estate, which is paid by contractors, on the taxpayers' account.

Lowdham Grange Prison
England
Serco (bought Premier)

May 23, 2010  The Daily Telegraph
Under the scheme, the publicly-funded broadcaster handed over footage to inmates who earn just £30 a week rather than members of its own 23,000 staff. Convicts at a privately run Category B jail, the second-highest security level, transferred tapes of old television shows to computer to save them for posterity. Senior staff in the BBC’s archives department visited the jail to watch the work in progress while meetings were held to discuss a landmark deal for the prisoners to digitise all 1million hours of programmes in its vaults. Fearful about the controversy the scheme could cause, the BBC never discussed it publicly and even the broadcasting union, Bectu, was unaware of it. Details were obtained by this newspaper through a Freedom of Information request that took more than four months rather than the usual 20 working days. The BBC insists that it has not given any money to Serco, the private jail operator, for the secret scheme nor signed any contracts, following the pilot project last year. However emails disclosed by the corporation show that it had shown considerable interest in the innovative project proposed by Serco, which runs four prisons in England. The BBC owns more than 1m hours of historic content, some of it decades old and at risk of being lost. It employs 66 people to look after it, at a cost of £5m a year, in its Information and Archives department. The corporation estimates it would take 10 years to safely copy all 100m items in its collection into longer-lasting digital formats. In December 2008 it was approached by Serco to become involved in Artemis – Achieving Rehabilitation Through Establishing a Media Ingest Service – a new project for prisoners to transfer archive documents to computers. Serco said it would provide “high-quality employment” and the chance of an NVQ qualification for inmates and HMP Lowdham Grange, a 628-capacity jail near Nottingham all of whose inmates are serving at least four years. The firm said this would mean it could provide a “stable work force”. The BBC was told it would prove a “very cost-effective” way of digitising its archive, and several meetings were organised to discuss plans. Managers agreed to hand over 20 hours of old videos, including episodes of Horizon and Earth Story, so prisoners could transfer them to computer and also add “meta-data” – typed detailed descriptions of the footage to help producers search through it more easily. The British Library and National Archives also provided material for the pilot project. In September last year, five members of BBC staff visited the jail, where a production workshop had been built, and were reported to be “pleased” with what they saw of the prisoners’ work and enthusiasm. However David Crocker, the driving force behind the scheme at Serco, admitted: “The major concern was around the potential negative newspaper headlines that the BBC may attract.” The company did discuss the scheme with one newspaper and one trade magazine but made no reference to the BBC’s involvement. In November, Mr Crocker told the BBC: “I can’t thank you enough for finding a project for us to kick-start Artemis.” He said his staff were drawing up “terms of reference” and would then “cost the project” of a full-scale digitisation of the BBC’s archive. However no deals have yet been signed. The BBC said: “The BBC did hold discussions with Serco about their planned project to digitise archives. As part of this the BBC, alongside other organisations, provided some material for Serco to use as part of its feasibility study for the project. “No payment was made to Serco as part of this, nor was any guarantee or promise of work entered into. “The BBC has no plans to work with Serco to digitise its programme archive and has not come to any agreements nor signed any contracts with any firms about utilising the prison workforce on any project.”

December 17, 2009 Liverpool Daily Post
A LIVERPOOL prison is among five in the country allowing its inmates to watch satellite television. More than 4,000 prisoners enjoy the privilege in private jails nationwide. Altcourse Prison, in Fazakerley, is among the contractor-run prisons allowing access to a “limited number” of satellite channels. The number of prisoners allowed to watch satellite varies according to behaviour. But Justice minister and city MP Maria Eagle revealed the number was currently around 4,070. The Garston MP was responding to a written question from Tory MP Philip Davies. She said no inmates in public sector jails have access to satellite in their quarters. But they do at Altcourse and other GS4-run prisons in South Wales and Warwickshire. The other private prisons offering satellite television are run by Serco in Staffordshire and Nottingham. Ms Eagle said: “In these establishments, satellite television in cells is generally only available to prisoners on the enhanced or standard level of the incentives and earned privileges scheme.” There are 84,500 prisoners in England and Wales, meaning around one in 20 has access to satellite TV.

March 28, 2005 Nottingham Evening Post
An investigation has been launched after a man was found hanged in his prison cell. The discovery of Thomas Maughan's body at Lowdham Grange Prison was made by officers on a routine check at 11.45pm on Saturday. He was pronounced dead shortly after midnight, the Home Office said. A spokeswoman for the prison service said: " A staff patrol found him hanging from his cell's toilet door. "They tried CPR and paramedics continued when they arrived, but he was pronounced dead at 12.20am." The 45-year-old, from Sheffield, was jailed for six years in 2003 for burglary. Premier Custodial Group spokesman David Bandey said: "I can confirm he was found dead. It will now go to a full inquiry." In January, a report by the Prison Reform Trust called Private Punishment: Who Profits? said private prisons like Lowdham - one of ten in the country - were missing key targets on reducing serious assaults, drugs and 'purposeful activity' among inmates.

Medway Secure Training Centre
Rochester, UK
Group 4 Securicor
Oct 22, 2016 theguardian.com
Managers at G4S-run Medway youth jail paid bonuses despite failings
Senior managers at a privately run children’s jail received bonuses this year despite the prison being taken out of their hands following allegations of abuse. The managers received performance-related pay awards in April, weeks after the chief inspector of prisons said that “managerial oversight failed to protect young people from harm at the jail”. Eight former staff currently face criminal charges. In January, the BBC’s Panorama programme showed an undercover reporter working as a guard at the G4S-run Medway secure training centre (STC) in Kent. The film showed children allegedly being mistreated and claimed that staff falsified records of violent incidents. No senior managers were disciplined or dismissed. In February, a Guardian investigation revealed that, in 2003, whistleblowers had warned G4S, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Youth Justice Board (YJB) that staff were mistreating detained children. Their letter, sent by Prof John Pitts, an expert on youth justice, was ignored. Just before the Panorama programme was broadcast, the YJB, which oversees youth custody in England, stopped placing children in Medway. Also in January, the prisons inspectorate carried out a snap inspection of Medway. Inspectors reported that a small group of detainees said some staff used insulting, aggressive or racist language and that they felt unsafe in areas not covered by CCTV. Inspectors said the concerns raised were consistent with evidence presented by Panorama “which showed targeted bullying of vulnerable boys by a small number of staff”. They added: “A larger group of staff must have been aware of unacceptable practice but did not challenge or report this behaviour.” In an earlier Ofsted report on Medway, inspectors said staff and middle managers reported feeling a lack of leadership and having “low, or no confidence in senior managers”. The then chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, said: “Managerial oversight failed to protect young people from harm. Effective oversight is key to creating a positive culture that prevents poor practice happening and ensuring it is reported when it does.” The Guardian has learned that senior managers at Medway received performance-related pay awards in April amounting to between 10-25% of their annual salaries, according to seniority. In February, G4S announced their intention to sell off their UK children’s services arm of the business, including two secure training centres. In May, the MoJ said the National Offender Management Service would take over the running of Medway. In July, Noms formally took control of the STC. Lela Xhemajli was detained at Medway in 2009, aged 15. She says she was unlawfully restrained numerous times in the 18 months she spent at the STC, including one occasion in which her face was repeatedly slammed into icy ground. Now in employment, having “turned [her] life around”, she says she was angry when she heard about the pay awards to managers. “I assumed the senior management team would be sacked after what was revealed in the investigations. But now it looks like they have been rewarded for allowing children to be abused in prison on their watch,” she said. Former Labour MP Sally Keeble, who has highlighted alleged G4S abuses in children’s secure training centres for more than a decade, said: “This is people making personal profit out of tragedy, and it is completely unacceptable. Given the government’s expressed concern about the need to protect vulnerable young people, I would hope that justice minister Liz Truss would intervene and make sure these bonuses are not being paid by a Ministry of Justice contractor.” A spokesman for G4s confirmed that no senior managers at Medway were disciplined or dismissed following the Panorama and Guardian investigations. He said two duty operational managers had been dismissed. The spokesman said: “Four people working at Medway were eligible for performance related pay this year under a mix of personal [non-financial] and financial objectives. One received no payment and the remaining three received reduced payments, based on elements of personal and financial performance.” The MoJ declined to comment, saying the pay awards were a matter for G4S.

Jun 9, 2015 opendemocracy.net
Five more arrests and another critical inspection report for G4S child prisons
Children tell inspectors of being verbally, physically and sexually abused. Yesterday Kent police investigating alleged abuse at Medway child prison, run by G4S, made five more arrests. The same day a report by prisons inspectors revealed that a child at another G4S prison, Parc, in Bridgend, Wales, had been strip searched while held under restraint, one guard had been dismissed for using “excessive force”, and children reported being verbally, physically and sexually abused. G4S-run Medway secure training centre has been under close scrutiny since BBC Panorama broadcast undercover footage, in January, of children there being subject to physical and emotional abuse. This latest inspection report concerns the juvenile unit of an adult prison run by the same company. Inspectors visited the prison on the day of the Panorama programme, and stayed for 11 days. Use of force by prison officers had tripled in Parc’s juvenile unit since the last inspection — there were 202 incidents in the previous six months, compared to 67 last time. In every incident, officers from the adjoining adult prison were called to carry out the restraint. Inspectors complain that the officers do not know the children. They would not have been recruited for their expertise in working with children either. Inspectors found a case where a child had been strip-searched whilst held under restraint — again, this would have been by officers working in the adult parts of the prison. “Pain compliant locks” were used on children: the prisons inspectorate, alongside many other bodies, including the UN Committee Against Torture, has repeatedly said the deliberate infliction of pain should not be permitted in children’s prisons. One officer had been dismissed shortly before the announced inspection, for using “excessive force” on a child. Some boys complained of officers restraining them away from CCTV, which has been reported by children across the secure estate for many years. After the G4S Medway child abuse scandal, the Youth Justice Board introduced body-worn cameras into all child prisons. Inspectors complain that there were not enough of them to ensure all incidents were captured. More evidence of the irrepressible penal culture. About half the boys in this juvenile prison were looked after children, underlining the revolving door between care and custody highlighted powerfully by the Laming Review. Inspectors report: “Many boys had low levels of education and presented with clear difficulties in expressing their anxieties and problems; this was often characterised by angry outbursts or self isolation.” Prison cannot provide these children with the skilled intervention they need. Three boys were refusing to come out of their cells because they were so frightened, and 7 boys (a quarter of those questioned) told inspectors they felt unsafe everywhere. Eight children told inspectors they had been verbally insulted by officers, and there was one report each of physical abuse and sexual abuse by staff. Seven children said they had suffered physical abuse by other children. Where is that government intolerance of poorly performing children’s services, when you need it? At the end of February, G4S announced it would be selling its children’s services, including its government contracts to run Oakhill and Medway secure training centres. Today’s inspection report is a reminder that the multinational has not completely surrendered looking after UK child prisoners. For it is not G4S Children’s Services that manages this contract, but G4S Central Government Services. At the last inspection, in May 2014, the company was handed 31 recommendations and 7 of these had been achieved by the time inspectors visited again in January 2016. More than half (58%) had not been achieved at all. Only one of four recommendations in respect of children’s safety had been achieved. As child prisons go, this inspection report delivers some positive news. Children are eating together in dining areas, they get some (limited) time in the fresh air each day, most are able to shower daily, they have telephones in their cells (though calls are expensive) and there are good quality educational resources. But this cannot detract from the prison environment and ethos, and the consequences for children’s safety and well-being. Inspectors praised the “newly refurbished and restocked” prison library, which has “a good stock of easy readers, books based on popular films and games”. The report from Charlie Taylor’s Youth Justice Review is due to be published next month. A teacher by trade, Taylor is sure to see the absurdity of buying in easy reader books whilst holding children in locked cells for hours at a time, keeping them in permanent states of fear and delegating control and discipline to prison officers working with adults.

Mar 2, 2016 theguardian.com
G4S to sell controversial youth jail contracts
The private security firm G4S is to sell its UK children’s services business, including its contracts to run two youth prisons, weeks after damning footage emerged of its staff using excessive force on children. The contracts to be sold include the management of Medway secure training centre (STC) in Kent, where five men were arrested in January after an undercover BBC Panorama investigation exposed the alleged abuse of “trainees”. G4S has been repeatedly criticised over the use of restraint at Medway STC, which the company has run since it opened in 1998. The second child prison run by the company, at Oakhill, Milton Keynes, is also to be sold. A third secure training centre, Rainsbrook, is already in the process of being transferred to a new company, MTC Novo. A G4S statement said the sale of the operation was going ahead as part of “its ongoing review of its portfolio of businesses”. The business, with revenues of £40m a year, includes the management of 13 children’s homes. The wellbeing and education of the children in the company’s care will remain its priority until such time as an orderly transition to a new operator has been completed,” it said. The STCs hold 12- to 17-year-olds who have been sentenced to, or remanded in custody. The announcement also follows an investigation by the Ministry of Justice into the accuracy of figures indicating that no children were injured while being restrained by staff at Medway in 2014. The MoJ confirmed that it had launched an audit of all the restraint injury data from Medway STC that had been provided to the Youth Justice Board by G4S. The decision to sell the contracts to run the two youth prisons and 13 local authority children’s homes does not concern the prisons or immigration detention centres also managed by the company. Penal reformers called for the STCs to be shut down instead of sold. “These child jails have been the focus of much controversy, not least the recent BBC Panorama documentary into abuse by staff at Medway,” said Andrew Neilson, of the Howard League for Penal Reform. “There is now an opportunity developing to close the secure training centres down completely. These centres are a failed model and this wise withdrawal from the market by G4S should not be followed up by new private security companies coming in to replace them, with dubious track records abroad in the treatment of people in custody.”

Jan 9, 2016 morningstaronline.co.uk
Abuse Exposed At G4S-Run Borstal
PRIVATE prison operator G4S suspended seven members of staff at a facility for young offenders yesterday amid allegations of abuse and mistreatment. Staff reportedly punched and slapped some teenagers held at Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester, Kent, a 76-bed facility for 12- to 18-year-olds, and allegedly boasted about using inappropriate techniques to restrain youngsters. G4S, which has run the facility in co-operation with the Youth Justice Board since it opened in 1998, announced the suspensions after being told that BBC Panorama undercover reporters had been secretly filming the centre for an exposé yet to be aired. “These allegations are extremely concerning, not least because only eight months ago G4S was subject to a damning report from Ofsted into another of its child jails, Rainsbrook,” said Howard League for Penal Reform director Andrew Neilson. “The company has since lost the contract to run Rainsbrook but the contract to run Medway was renewed. “Over 200 children are under the supposed care of G4S in these detention centres.” G4S said it had referred the “serious allegations of inappropriate staff conduct” to Medway Council’s designated officer, the board and the Ministry of Justice. Mr Neilson expressed hope that the forthcoming Ministry of Justice review of youth justice would take a hard look at what companies like G4S are doing to children in trouble with the law. “I’m extremely shocked and appalled at the allegations that were presented to us, which clearly have no place in our business or any institution responsible for looking after young people,” said G4S children’s services managing director Paul Cook. “We received the allegations from Panorama to our press team on December 30, and all I have are written allegations at this time.” Kent Police are also understood to have been alerted to the claims of “unnecessary use of force and the use of improper language” at the centre. The force confirmed it was investigating allegations following a referral from Medway Council that had been made regarding reports of both physical and verbal abusive behaviour at the facility.

January 5, 2009 Kent News
Inmates at the Medway Secure Training Centre – which houses some of Britain’s most hardened criminals – enjoyed a weekend of tropical fun, playing bongo drums and limbo dancing, and even being given access to an alcohol-free beach bar. During the two-day knees-up, the convicted criminals were also allowed to play games including Scalectrix in a specially-themed youth club and each wing of the jail took part in a competition to come up with the best Hawaiian decorations. Group Four Securicor, which runs the centre, has not revealed the full cost of the party. Taxpayers’ Alliance spokesman Susie Squire branded the weekend event “a waste of money” given the current economic crisis. She said: “Every penny of public money is now incredibly precious. “We’re all tightening our belts in the recession – the public sector should be doing the same. “While we must encourage young offenders to improve themselves and keep busy and active, there’s no need for this sort of frivolity. “I would view this very much as a luxury."

Ministry of Justice
Jan 28, 2017 expressandstar.com
The number of deaths in prisons across the West Midlands and Staffordshire has more than doubled, new figures show.
A total of 23 inmates lost their lives inside in 2016, compared to just 10 the year before. HMP Birmingham and HMP Oakwood, the two G4S-run prisons, had the highest death count with seven and six respectively. Other deaths included five at HMP Stafford, three at HMP Featherstone, one apiece at HMP Dovegate in Uttoexeter and Drake Hall, the women's prison in Eccleshall. Both HMP Swinfen Hall, near Lichfield, and HMP Brinsford, the young offenders institute next to Featherstone, recorded no deaths last year. The figures, released by the Ministry of Justice, also show that four prisoners in the regions took their own life last year - the same amount as 2015. Oakwood, the UK's largest prison, saw the biggest rise in the number of deaths. It did not record any in 2015 but had six in 2016. It also had one inmate take their own life last year compared to none the year before. Jerry Petherick, the custodial and detention services managing director of G4S, which also runs HMP Birmingham, said the firm always worked hard to 'understand the causes and identify any lessons to be learned'. He said: “Every death in custody is a tragedy and is always thoroughly investigated by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman. We will always work with the investigators and our colleagues in NHS healthcare teams to understand the causes and identify any lessons to be learned. “The rising level of violence and self-harm shown in today’s data underlines the extent of the challenge facing our prisons alongside our colleagues around the country. Our staff do tremendous work to bear down on violence and detect, intercept and seize drugs and other contraband which destabilises prison regimes. “We will continue to work closely with our partners in the prisons we manage as well as with the Ministry of Justice to further improve safety for prisoners and our staff.” The number of deaths at HMP Birmingham, which was the scene of a riot last month, increased from four to seven over the same period. These figures include one suicide in 2015 and one in 2016. HMP Featherstone also saw a rise after its zero deaths in 2015 increased to three last year. There was also one suicide last year compared to none the year before. HMP Stafford, which houses notorious paedophile Rolf Harris, did not have any suicides last year but did record five deaths, four more than 2015. Both Dovegate and Brinsford were the two prisons in the region to record a decrease in deaths, with the latter's one in 2015 decreasing to none in 2016 and the former's three in 2015 decreasing to one last year. Both prison's recorded a suicide each in 2015 but none in 2016. HMP Drake Hall had one death last year, which was recorded as a suicide. Liz Truss, the justice secretary in charge of the country's prisons, said: “Since becoming Justice Secretary, I have been clear that the violence, self-harm and deaths in our prisons are too high. I have taken immediate action to stabilise the estate by tackling the drugs, drones and phones that undermine security. We are also investing £100m annually to boost the frontline by 2,500 officers.

Apr 6, 2015 globalgovernmentforum.com
The UK government currently runs 82% of British prisons British prisons run by private companies account for a higher proportion of fighting, sexual assaults, drug-taking, self-harming, hunger strikes, and prisoner escapes than public-sector prisons, according to analysis by The Independent on Sunday. The newspaper examined figures released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which gave a snapshot of incidents in all jails between January and June last year. It found that, while Britain’s 14 private prisons hold just 18% of the country’s prisoners, they accounted for 23% of assaults in the first six months of 2014 alone and one in four prisoners’ escapes. The privately-run jails also accounted for more than a third of all drug seizures, and 32% of ‘deliberate self-harm’ incidents involving prisoners. Around a third of all cases of vandalism by prisoners and hunger strikes occurred in private prisons, and 28% of rooftop protests took place in private facilities. The statistics do not pick out incidents such as bomb threats and attempted escapes. Intead, these are included in a category called ‘miscellaneous’ incidents. Of these, more than 1,200 (around 28%) took place in private jails. The Independent also reports that the latest annual performance ratings issued by the National Offender Management Service show that not one privately-run prison managed to score an ‘exceptional performance’ rating. However, more than one in 10 of the publicly-run prisons were judged to be in this category. The data is based on 27 indicators. The MoJ has dismissed the findings. A spokesperson for the MoJ said: “It is wrong to make comparisons between establishments, whether public or private sector, based on just a partial view of the data. It is totally misleading, and does not take into account the different circumstances in each prison. “We have a comprehensive system for measuring prison performance, and manage private prison contracts to get the best performance for the taxpayer. Public- and private-sector prisons have comparable performance levels.”

National Health Secretary
January 21, 2011 The Northern Echo
MORE than a year after a company chairman’s wife donated £21,000 to the office of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, the same company has been awarded a £53m NHS prison health contract. The contract, awarded by the North-East Offender Health Commissioning Unit, has been awarded to Care UK rather than current NHS providers. Last night, Grahame Morris, the Labour MP for Easington and a member of the Commons Health Select Committee, said it represented a clear conflict of interest. Trevor Johnston, North- East head of health for the Unison union, said: “Questions have to be asked why it would go to this particular company.” A year ago, it was revealed that Mr Lansley’s private office was given £21,000 by Caroline Nash, wife of the then chairman of Care UK, John Nash, to help fund their operations. The November 2009 donation was part of a total of £203,500 given to the Conservative Party by Mr Nash and his wife over the past five years. Mr Nash is no longer chairman of Care UK, but remains a consultant to the company. Until the contract was put out to tender last year, the primary health care service for 5,000 inmates at eight North- East prisons and young offender establishments was provided by more than 400 NHS staff. Care UK provides services for about 500,000 people including hospitals, walk-in centres, care homes and GP practices. It also runs 59 residential care facilities. About 96 per cent of its business is on behalf of the NHS.

Northhampton Crown Court
Northhampton, UK
Group 4
May 25, 2004
A violent criminal who escaped from prison guards while being taken to jail was arrested this evening, police said.  Carl Townsend, 22, was being transported by Group 4 security guards from Northampton Crown Court to Bedford prison after being sentenced to three and a half years for aggravated burglary and assault when he escaped on April 30, this year.  (Scotsman)

Northumberland Prison Morpeth, UK
Aug 21, 2014 thejournal.co.uk
NAPO Northumbria branch chairman Mike Quinn said staff cuts at the jail, run by private firm Sodexo, have led to a "violent culture" Probation officers are fearful of paying visits to a North East prison where cutting officers by more than a third has led to a “violent culture”, it has been claimed. Mike Quinn, vice chairman of the Northumbria branch of NAPO, spoke out about HMP Northumberland after a prison officer was hospitalised by an inmate on August 9. He described the Category C jail as “like a tinderbox” and claims cash is being exchanged for prisoner assaults. It has been revealed how staff numbers at HMP Northumberland fell from 441 to 270 from 2010 to 2013 - a drop of 39%. Mr Quinn said: “We are becoming increasingly alarmed at reports about conditions at HMP Northumberland. “Members report to me that the atmosphere within the prison is tense and are concerned that if an incident were to take place that there would simply not be the staff to deal with it.” It comes as Eoin McLennan Murray, president of the Prison Governors Association, revealed Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s austerity drive is making it impossible to run a jail safely. He said this week: “We haven’t been able to recruit the numbers we need.” Private firm Sodexo took over the running of the jail in December 2013, after HMP Acklington and HMP Castington merged two years before. Mr Quinn added: “Worryingly, we’ve learnt that money may be changing hands between prisoners in order for assaults to be undertaken between prisoners. This will result in not only danger to prisoners, but also the staff employed at the prison. “Prisoners are reporting to our members that they’re submitting applications to see healthcare professionals, to access education opportunities or to attend rehabilitative programmes, only to not hear back.” Sean Dempsey/PA WireJustice Secretary Chris GraylingJustice Secretary Chris Grayling  The union boss accused Chris Grayling of “destroying any hopes of rehabilitation” with cuts. He said: “Just a fortnight ago we saw a prison officer hospitalised having been attacked by a prisoner. But our concerns extend further than this, if the prison is truly to release people back into the community having learnt something from their time in prison, then Sodexo need to invest the right resources. “For us, that’s the overriding concern. Businesses taking over organisations such as prisons, and soon the probation service, have a primary aim of making money for their shareholders.” A Sodexo Justice Services spokesperson said: “Staffing levels for prison visits have remained unchanged since Sodexo took over the contract and the number of prisoners attending daily appointments has improved. “We monitor incidents in the prison very closely, and there is no evidence of any change in levels of violent behaviour. “We review staffing levels at all our prisons on a regular basis and will continue to monitor them at HMP Northumberland.” The spokesman added: “We can confirm an employee at HMP Northumberland was injured during an incident with a prisoner on Saturday August 9.” Sir Alan Beith, Lib Dem MP for Berwick, said: “I have raised with ministers on several occasions my concerns that the staffing levels at HMP Northumberland may not be adequate to maintain a safe prison and achieve effective resettlement, and I will continue to raise these concerns.” Labour peer Jeremy Beecham added: “Staffing at the jail was cut by a third. “Chris Grayling is in denial about the extent of this problem and this is reflected clearly at HMP Northumberland. “Staffing is becoming a widespread problem. Not only in private prisons, all have taken a big hit and it is all part and parcel of an approach which ignores the reality. “You can’t cope with the situation without adequate, trained staff.”

Mar 31, 2014 thenorthernecho.co.uk

STAFF at a private prison where about 50 inmates took over a wing predicted there would be trouble when the workforce was cut, a union official has said. The disorder at HMP Northumberland, in Morpeth, on Friday night, lasted for about seven hours and required the assistance of specially-trained colleagues from other prisons around the North-East to bring it to an end. Terry Fullerton, who represents the region on the Prison Officers Association national executive committee, said members had raised concerns about staffing levels as far back as December. He said since then around 130 staff had left, leaving fewer than 200 uniformed staff to guard 1,350 inmates. Mr Fullerton said: "Staff were concerned that the reduction would lead to what happened on Friday night. "It doesn't take inmates long to realise that staffing levels have reduced and that there are less of the 'white shirts' that are needed to keep control." Inmates refused to return to their cells and warned staff to leave the area, which they did, allowing them to take over until a specialist squad of officers was assembled. Sodexo Justice Services, a private firm which manages HMP Northumberland, said an investigation was being held into what happened. HMP Northumberland, a category C prison, was formed from a merger of the former Acklington and Castington jails.

Nottinghamshire Prison
Premier (formerly Group 4 prison)
December 17, 2009 Liverpool Daily Post
A LIVERPOOL prison is among five in the country allowing its inmates to watch satellite television. More than 4,000 prisoners enjoy the privilege in private jails nationwide. Altcourse Prison, in Fazakerley, is among the contractor-run prisons allowing access to a “limited number” of satellite channels. The number of prisoners allowed to watch satellite varies according to behaviour. But Justice minister and city MP Maria Eagle revealed the number was currently around 4,070. The Garston MP was responding to a written question from Tory MP Philip Davies. She said no inmates in public sector jails have access to satellite in their quarters. But they do at Altcourse and other GS4-run prisons in South Wales and Warwickshire. The other private prisons offering satellite television are run by Serco in Staffordshire and Nottingham. Ms Eagle said: “In these establishments, satellite television in cells is generally only available to prisoners on the enhanced or standard level of the incentives and earned privileges scheme.” There are 84,500 prisoners in England and Wales, meaning around one in 20 has access to satellite TV.

June 23, 2004
Inmates at a Nottinghamshire prison have too little to do, according to a new report.  An unannounced inspection was carried out at privately-run Lowdham Grange by the Prison Inspectorate in March.  The study also said low staffing levels identified four years ago are still a problem.  Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said the prison is generally doing a good job and is "managing some difficult prisoners well".  But she said: "They must provide more purposeful activity for the prisoners because that is very important."  She said the prison has "a low staffing level, inexperienced staff and a high staff turnover", but added the prison does have control of its prisoners.  (BBC)

February 26, 2003
Prison escort firm Group 4 has been brought before magistrates for contempt after failing to deliver prisoners to court on time.  While on Monday, a spokesman for Northamptonshire Magistrates Court warned Group 4 that if it "disrupted court business" it could face further court action.  Last week, the company apologised to magistrates after Group 4 staff failed to deliver eight separate prisoners - who were due to appear for a morning session.  Jon Price, deputy clerk to the justices at Northamptonshire Magistrates Court, said Group 4 had been charged with contempt of court, but magistrates had accepted an apology from the company.  A spokeswoman for Group 4 said the failure to produce the prisoners on time was "most regrettable".  She said the service for Northamptonshire had been hit by a shortage in the number of staff needed.  Group 4 are applying the Government for extra funds for staff in the Northamptonshire contract.  (BBC News)

Nuneaton Magistrates Court
June 8, 2004
Police were continuing their hunt today for a prisoner who knocked a security guard unconscious and escaped from a first-floor window.  Timothy Augustus Smith, 23, from Wolverhampton, was being held on remand in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, when he overpowered the guard to whom he was handcuffed.  A Warwickshire Police spokesman said Smith had escaped from the custody of a private prison security officer after being remanded in custody yesterday afternoon at Nuneaton Magistrates Court for breaching his bail.  (AP)

Oakhill Secure Training Unit
Oakhill, UK
Group 4 (formerly Securicor)

May 14, 2008 Channel 4
The consortium running Oakhill young offenders' centre is given 60 days to bring it under control. Simon Israel reports It was once a flagship young offenders' centre. But now the private consortium that runs Oakhill has been given 60 days to bring it under control and to meet its contractual obligations. Last year the centre's director was replaced after two highly critical inspections. Since then there has been little progress in stopping attacks on staff and the restraint of youngsters held inside. Today the prisons minister, David Hanson, said G4S, formerly Group 4, has been given been ordered to improve a series of failings, including staff training.

March 17, 2008 The Times
A privately run child jail should be closed temporarily after high levels of assaults on staff and “staggering” use of force to control children, a report published today recommends. Anne Owers, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, makes the unprecedented suggestion to close the jail after finding a lack of control and order at Oakhill secure training centre. Teachers were visibly frightened of the children, young girls and boys were badly behaved and staff embattled at the centre, run by G4S, formerly Group 4, in Milton Keynes. Youngsters were allowed to sprawl on bench tops to do their work and used offensive language unchecked by teachers. Force was used 757 times in nine months to control children, and on 532 occasions at least three members of staff were involved, including one holding a child’s head. There had been 377 assaults on staff in the first nine months of last year. Classrooms have become war zones, teachers say -- Staff lacked the skills to challenge the 48 children aged 13 to 17 at the centre, which moved out a quarter of its residents last year because of concerns about the lack of order and control on the premises. Today’s report is the fourth, and most critical, highlighting significant weaknesses at Oakhill since it opened in 2004 on a 25-year contract. Ms Owers said the scale of improving Oakhill was daunting, with staff turnover running at almost 60 per cent a year: “It might be more realistic to empty the centre briefly, so that it can be relaunched with a properly trained and reinvigorated staff, focused on plenty of good-quality, purposeful activity, dynamic security, and an emphasis on appropriate behaviour within clear boundaries.”

July 13, 2007 The Guardian A quarter of young offenders at a troubled privately run child jail have been moved out and a new director appointed after official concern over the rising use of restraint by staff to control violent teenagers. The Youth Justice Board said last night it had acted after two unpublished inspection reports confirmed concerns about control at the Oakhill secure training centre, near Milton Keynes. The latest figures show it recorded the highest use of distraction restraint techniques, which involve inflicting pain on a youngster's nose or thumb, in the child jail network. They were used on 110 occasions in 2006 in a centre which holds only 80 trainees. Non-painful restraint was used 921 times. The centre is run by G4S, formerly Group 4. The announcement was made as MPs debated the outcome of the inquest into the death of Gareth Myatt, 15, who died in nearby Rainsbrook secure training centre after being restrained. The outcome is uncertain of a Lords vote next week on regulations expanding the circumstances in which restraint can be used in child jails. The YJB admitted that recruiting staff to Oakhill had been a problem. It said it had cut the number of children there from 80 to 60 because "without the required staff on duty there will always be a risk". A YJB statement said: "There has been a rise in the number of incidents of violence by young people on other young people and against staff, as a result of which the use of restraint has increased. This happens from time to time." The YJB said it would continue to monitor the situation at Oakhill to ensure that restraint was used as a last resort: "With the new director in post we will expect to see rapid improvements in the centre." The centre, one of five in the national network of child jails for the most persistent teenage offenders, has had a troubled history. A 2005 inspection report said it had been struggling to care for trainees with limited staff, and a "difficult and challenging period" at the end of 2004 led to its first management shake-up. The second director, Lee Barnes, left two months ago. The new director, Malcolm Stephens, who joined on Monday, said he was committed to working with the YJB to provide the highest standards of specialist care. The director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Crook, described the change of director at Oakhill as significant, particularly bearing in mind the recent change to the rules on the use of physical restraint at secure training centres. "If staff at Oakhill have experienced difficulties with order and control, then replacing rules that explicitly spelt out appropriate circumstances for restraint with catch-all terminology and ultra-vague references to 'good order and discipline' will only make things worse."

March 24, 2005 Milton Keyes Today
THE Home Office is closely monitoring the Oakhill Secure Training Unit where inmates – who are among the most dangerous teenagers in the country – started two 'mini riots' in the past month. And an officer says he fears for the safety of him and his colleagues because the young people in the centre, known as trainees, rule by intimidation and bad behaviour goes unpunished. In one incident during the past month a female officer was jumped by four youths and had her keys taken. There were also two 'mini riots' in which up to 10 teenagers attacked staff. The officer said: "Some days it can be quite terrifying. I've known officers walk out of a shift and just burst into tears in their car. "During the training courses they said it would be challenging, but it would be rewarding because these kids would lead better lives. But before long an officer will get seriously hurt – or worse." The centre, dubbed 'Jokehill', which is run by Securicor Justice Services, was designed to educate and rehabilitate the 12 to 17 year olds who have been convicted of offences including rape and murder. But ever since it opened in August, Oakhill has been dogged with problems. Equipment, including computers, CD players and DVD players are constantly destroyed and even the security doors in the education block are hanging off their hinges. The officer also said staff feel they are not supported by the management and when the Youth Justice Board came to inspect the centre, the trainees were promised a McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken meal or £5 for their telephone card if they behaved themselves. He added: "They need to change the rules. They need harder, stricter rules and more discipline. The Youth Justice Board do not see what we see every day." MP Phyllis Starkey said she has spoken to prisons minister Paul Goggins about the problems at Oakhill and as a result a senior member of Home Office staff is monitoring the centre. Dr Starkey said: "The Home Office was not satisfied with the way it was progressing, which is why they have reduced the speed with which people are brought into the centre. "The number will only be increased when they are satisfied procedures are tightened up." An Oakhill spokesman said: "It is standard procedure when populating any secure establishment in the start up period to take a phased approach and was the case with each of the other three secure training centres. "It is taking slightly longer at Oakhill to reach full capacity as the centre requires further staff. Group Securicor are working hard to recruit and rigorously train new employees to ensure appropriate staffing levels are met. We expect the number of young people to rise as new staff are taken on." When asked about the two mini riots and key taking incident, she added: "Like any secure environment, incidents of a varying nature do occur. However at Oakhill these are de-escalated as quickly as possible using staff who are comprehensively trained to deal with such matters."

Oakington Asylum Reception Center
Cambridgeshire
Group 4 (bought Global Solutions, formerly run by Group 4 Securicor)

May 26, 2010 BBC
Yarl's Wood was used to hold families before deportation Children are no longer to be detained in detention centres like Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire or Oakington in Cambridgeshire. The new government announced the end of the practice in the Queen's speech on Tuesday. Yarl's Wood has been the main removal centre holding women and families facing deportation for many years. Chief prisons inspector Dame Anne Owers said in March some children were being held at Yarl's Wood unnecessarily. And her report said half the centre's children were later released because they were either no longer facing removal or were being allowed to live normally while legal appeals were considered by the courts. Each year, about 2,000 children were held at the centre for an average of 15 days. There have been a number of protests at Yarl's Wood, including a hunger strike by women reported to be campaigning against their length of stay at the detention centre.

May 6, 2010 British Safety Council
The British Safety Council has today announced that it will be withdrawing the 2009 International Safety Award bestowed on G4S Oakington Immigration Removal Centre pending the completion of official investigations currently taking place into the death of Mr Eliud Nyenze at the centre on 14th April 2010. The eligibility conditions for the British Safety Council’s International Safety Award preclude member organisations receiving this award where a fatality has taken place at the specified site. The British Safety Council will give further consideration to G4S Oakington IRC’s award application once the results of the investigations into the cause of Mr Nyenze’s death are known. Our deepest sympathy goes to Mr Nyenze’s family and friends.

December 12, 2008 The Guardian
Conditions have deteriorated significantly at Oakington immigration removal centre in Cambridgeshire, with half the detainees saying they feel unsafe and staff increasingly using force, according to the chief inspector of prisons. A report by Anne Owers, published today, says that Oakington, which had been a flagship "fast-track" asylum centre, has lost direction and purpose and is not performing well, especially in the areas of safety and respect. The relationships between the private security staff running the centre and the 328 detainees have deteriorated to the extent that they are significantly worse than at any other removal centre. The chief inspector says the management and staff take so little interest in individual detainees that they were unaware of the fact that they had been holding one Chinese man for nearly two years. Owers says that Oakington has changed considerably since it was the fast-track processing centre and now holds only men, some for long periods, and all facing the possibility of deportation. The threat of closure has been hanging over the centre for the past four years, which means many of the staff are temporary. "None of this makes for a stable, secure and positive environment," says the inspection report. "Half the detainees, compared with a third last time [2005], said that they had felt unsafe. Only 60%, compared with 89% last time, and 94% in 2004, said that most staff treated them with respect. These are significant and troubling slippages." One source of fear is the use of poorly supervised dormitory accommodation, with failed asylum seekers locked up with foreign national prisoners also facing deportation. The use of force to control detainees has also increased at the centre - which is run by the private security company Global Solutions Ltd - from 53 incidents last year to 34 in the first six months of this year. The number of detainees put on segregation for breaching rules has also risen, from 328 times in the whole of 2007 to 220 in the first six months of this year. "This was a disappointing inspection of an establishment which seemed to have lost direction and purpose," Owers says, adding that the UK Border Agency should quickly clarify Oakington's future. The agency said it would consider the report's recommendations. "We take any concerns about the welfare of our detainees extremely seriously. Our removal centres play a vital role in enforcing immigration rules and we are determined to make sure they are well run, safe and secure."

October 1, 2008 The Sun
FOUR illegal immigrants were on the run yesterday after a Colditz-style escape through a web of tunnels. The Vietnamese men are thought to have stumbled on details of the network beneath their detention centre on the internet. They realised sunken grass paths that “criss-cross” the site’s grounds marked out the passages. The four, who were all facing deportation, lifted turf over one and found concrete slabs. They removed one slab — carefully re-laying the grass — and hid it in a locker. The men then waited until dark to crawl into the network. Fleeing -- They found their way under a perimeter wall before smashing above ground and fleeing into surrounding countryside. Oakington Immigration Centre in Longstanton, Cambs, twigged at a 10pm roll-call last week. Cops haven’t found them. A source said: “It’s like something out of Colditz and so embarrassing.” The passageways, which house electrical ducting, used to link World War Two bunkers at the ex-airbase. The centre source added: “They could have found out about them in the site’s IT room.” The 352 all-male centre houses illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. They are locked up from 10pm to 7.30am, but are free to roam at other times. Group 4 Securicor, which runs the site for the UK Borders Agency, now faces a fine of up to £3,000 for each escaper. The agency confirmed: “We are working to re-capture four detainees. They don’t pose a threat.”

November 14, 2006 Cambridge Evening News
A report by Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, found bosses had failed to implement improvements recommended following an earlier inspection in several key areas designed to improve the welfare of detainees. Highlighting her concerns, she warned the centre would have to take note of its shortcomings if, as is planned, it stays open for another three years. She said: "Oakington remains a reasonably safe environment. It was, however, disappointing several of our recommendations on suicide and self-harm had not been implemented, and that anti-bullying procedures were weak. "This will be of increased importance if the centre remains in operation, and holds men who are detained for longer periods, with no on-site access to independent legal advice or to the immigration service." The centre was also rapped for failing to improve its race relations procedures, although staff were not accused of being racist towards detainees. Ms Owers said: "We were extremely disappointed to find there to be insufficient attention to basic protective race relations structures, such as effective ethnic monitoring procedures. "There can be no excuse for failing to put in place effective mechanisms to detect and prevent racial discrimination."The lack of suitable activities and welfare support for detainees was also criticised, and Ms Owers said the centre was in a period of transition. A CULTURE of bullying and abuse was exposed by an undercover investigation at Oakington Reception Centre. Global Solutions Ltd (GSL), which runs the centre, launched an investigation after an undercover reporter spent three months working there, filming abuse that went on. One member of staff, Jason Martin, known to colleagues at Oakington as Wolfie, was filmed telling a detainee whose mental well-being was reportedly causing concern: “Get out of ******* bed before I do you some damage.” Martin, right, then tipped him out of bed after saying: “You just don’t want to do it because I’m white. And you think you’re not going to do anything because a white person tells you what to do. Well I’m afraid you’re wrong. My great- grandfather shot your great-grandfather and nicked his ******* country off you for 200 years. “I’m not to be ****** about with. Personally I don’t go with this Gandhi ****. Passive resistance means **** all to me.” GSL said Mr Martin subsequently moved on to a job as a prison custody officer for a private company.

December 15, 2005 Virgin.net
New safeguards are to be introduced after evidence of racism was uncovered at an asylum seeker detention centre. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will act as an independent monitor of complaints from October next year, ministers said. The ombudsman, currently Stephen Shaw, investigated Oakington fast-track detention centre in Cambridgeshire earlier this year after a BBC documentary exposed allegations of racism and mistreatment. "The behaviour of some of those working for the contractor company, as seen in the BBC documentary and confirmed by Stephen Shaw's report, was unacceptable." Oakington, which is already marked for closure by the end of next year, is run by the private company Global Solutions Ltd. Oakington officers boasted of hitting detainees and made racist comments while a BBC researcher was working undercover at the Cambridgeshire centre.

March 4, 2005 Interactive Investor
The government asked the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman to investigate allegations of abuse at the Oakington immigrant detention centre, said Home Office Minister Des Browne. The independent probe was established after a BBC television documentary showed staff at the centre racially and physically abusing asylum seekers. Ombudsman Stephen Shaw's remit will be to investigate the allegations made in the documentary and review the centre's own probe into the affair, Browne said.  Oakington is run by Global Solutions Ltd. GSL was formed after Group 4 Falck merged with with Securicor in 2004. Electra Partners Europe and Englefield Capital each took 50 pct stakes in GSL last July, according to GSL's website.

March 3, 2005 Financial Times
A BBC film showing asylum seekers being assaulted, racially abused and sexually humiliated by guards has prompted demands for a public debate into how government policy is fuelling human rights abuses and miscarriages of justice. The film, shown last night, has generated adverse publicity for Global Solutions, one of the government's largest contractors, which runs Oakington detention centre near Cambridge and the in-country escorting contract featured in the undercover documentary. The Home Office said it was taking the matter "extremely seriously" and would decide on what further action to take once it had all the facts. GSL was formed in 2004, when Group 4 Falck of Denmark merged with Securicor, its UK rival. It inherited a number of public-private partnership contracts, from healthcare and schools to the construction and servicing of the new GCHQ, one of the largest buildings developed under the private finance initiative. What has shocked human rights and refugee groups is that Oakington had been considered one of the better-run and more humane detention centres. The documentary has fuelled concerns that the abuses at Oakington are but the symptoms of a wider malaise across the system that has long generated protests to the Home Office from human rights lawyers.

November 9, 2004 The Guardian
Children detained in the Oakington asylum reception centre in Cambridgeshire are not being cared for properly, with some found to be suffering distress, according to the chief inspector of prisons. Anne Owers says in a report published today that when she visited the privately run centre she found that 41 children were being detained, some for weeks. The chief inspector's report also discloses that the agreed procedures for detaining the children of asylum seekers had not been followed. "The centre made conscientious attempts to identify and support children at risk of harm, but residential staff lacked the necessary qualifications or support from social services," she says.

Olympics
Group 4

September 28, 2012 The Upcoming
Two senior executives from G4S (Group 4 Securicor) have resigned after a report blamed management failings for the Olympics’ security fiasco. G4S, the world’s largest security firm, failed to provide the contracted and adequate number of security personnel to cover the Olympics in a public blunder that nearly overshadowed the successful Games. Nick Buckles survives the G4S management cull in the wake of the Olympics scandal. G4S chief operating officer, David Taylor-Smith, and the managing director for G4S Global Events, Ian Horseman-Sewell, are stepping down in wake of the scandal.

September 22, 2012 Reuters
G4S's bill for its embarrassing London Olympic staffing failure could rise after a government committee demanded the embattled security firm waive its management fee and compensate Games staff neglected in its chaotic recruitment drive. The world's biggest security firm has been under fire since admitting just two weeks before the Games began that it could not provide a promised 10,400 venue guards, embarrassing the government - a key customer - and forcing British troops to cancel holidays and fill the shortfall. G4S has already estimated a 50 million pound loss on the Olympic contract relating to the cost of deploying additional police and military personnel and the likely penalties the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will impose, but that may prove conservative. In a report published on Friday, the Home Affairs Committee, which twice hauled in G4S chief Nick Buckles to explain the Olympic debacle, said responsibility for the failure was with G4S and that its most senior personnel should be held accountable for making misleading staffing assurances to security officials so close to the start of the Games. "Far from being able to stage two Games on two continents at the same time, as they recklessly boasted, G4S could not even stage one," said Keith Vaz, Chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee, referring to an interview managing director of G4S Global Events, Ian Horseman Sewell, gave to Reuters in July. "G4S should waive its 57 million pound management fee and also compensate its staff and prospective staff who it treated in a cavalier fashion." LOCOG has so far parted with only 90 million pounds of the 237 million pound contract and earlier this month insisted the remainder would have to be negotiated.

September 13, 2012 GMA News
Security firm G4S has a fight on its hands to convince Olympic chiefs to hand over the rest of its contract fee that remains unpaid, after the group failed to deliver enough venue guards and forced the military to step in. So far, G4S has been paid only 90 million pounds ($144 million) of the 235 million pounds contract with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the rest will have to be negotiated. The total Olympic security contract is worth 284 million pounds including work already paid for in 2011 by the Olympic Delivery Authority. Payments to G4S were stopped on July 13, two days after the world's largest security firm admitted it would not be able to supply a promised 10,400 guards, said Paul Deighton, head of LOCOG, who was addressing a Home Affairs Committee looking into the debacle on Tuesday. With G4S having previously estimated the problems would result in a deduction of 50 million pounds from the contract fee, a potential storm is brewing between the group and LOCOG as the two thrash out the remainder of the contract and penalties incurred. The firm's Chief Executive Nick Buckles, back in parliament for a second time to face the committee, said G4S, which also runs prisons in Britain, expected to be paid for its work. "I'm not going to sit here and say we did a great job, but we delivered a significant proportion of the contract. I expect them to pay us in line with the terms of the contract," he said.

September 7, 2012 Reuters
Embattled security firm G4S will be forced to relive its embarrassing London Olympics staffing failure on Tuesday when its boss returns for a second showdown with British lawmakers demanding to know how the debacle was allowed to happen. Group Chief Executive Nick Buckles and David Taylor-Smith, who is the group's UK and Africa CEO, w ill be pressed for further explanation of the recruitment failure which has hit shares and raised questions about its prospects on future deals. "Everyone now accepts that G4S let the country down before the Olympics began. We need to ascertain the reasons why this happened and who else was responsible for the pre-Olympics shambles," Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee and a member of Parliament for the opposition Labour party, told Reuters. Vaz said the committee had quizzed Home Secretary Theresa May, who is in charge of domestic security, on Thursday, and had received a detailed letter outlining the department's oversight of the contract and the minister's meetings with Buckle and the Olympics organizers during the run-up to the Games. G4S, the world's largest security firm, which in Britain runs services for airports, prisons, immigration and the police, admitted just 16 days before the Games began that it could not supply a promised 10,400 venue guards. It eventually raised 7,800 at peak times, leaving the military to make up the shortfall. The failure embarrassed the government, one of G4S's core clients which accounts for more than half of its 1.8 billion pounds British revenue. More than 20 percent of its pipeline of potential UK work also stems from that market. Those numbers mean the UK public sector is one of the biggest global clients for the group, whose revenue for 2012 is forecast at just over 8 billion pounds according to a Reuters poll of 21 analysts. G4S has said it expects to take a 50 million pound ($79.7 million) loss over the contract failure, but the potential for a longer-lasting reputational blow goes beyond the UK market. A week before it conceded recruitment problems, the company told Reuters it expected its work at the 2012 Games would help it win a bigger share of a four-year cycle of global events whose safety and security budget has been estimated at more than $10 billion.

July 31, 2012 Manchester Evening News
Embattled security firm G4S was booted out of Old Trafford before the first Olympics football match there, the M.E.N. can reveal. Hundreds of G4S staff workers were supposed to patrol United’s home ground while it hosted matches at the 2012 Games. The arrangement was part of a £284m contract between Games organisers Locog and the crisis-hit company. But a string of problems led to the decision to drop G4S at Old Trafford and bring in security firm Controlled Event Solutions, (CES) which looks after the stadium for Reds’ matches. A United source said the final straw for Olympic bosses had come when G4S sub-contractors walked out, claiming they had not been paid. The source added: “Someone has looked at it and said enough is enough and they have sent them packing and brought in CES.”

July 16, 2012 The Guardian
The slide in the G4S share price on Monday reflected the Olympic-sized blow to the private security company's reputation, not only in Britain but throughout its global operations. The company has been here before. In its former incarnation as Group 4 in the early 1990s it became a national joke in Britain, as its first contracts to escort prisoners from courts to jail were hit by one high-profile escape after another. Since those dark days – helped by the fact that it was not then a publicly quoted company with a share price to protect – Group 4 not only recovered but has gone on to become a global success story, with 657,000 employees in 125 countries. G4S is now the largest player in global security, with 8% of the market and contracts that include protecting ships from pirates in the Indian Ocean and supplying security systems to the Pentagon. But its proud boast to be "securing your world, in more ways than you might realise" has been dealt a massive blow by overstretching itself on such a high-profile contract. While Olympic tier-one sponsors such as British Airways and Adidas have paid more than £700m to ensure they harvest a positive boost to their profiles, G4S is experiencing a turbocharged PR meltdown. Will this prove fatal to the company's UK reputation as the go-to contractor for everything in the criminal justice system from running police stations to managing prisons? Replacing its chief executive, Nick Buckles, 51, may not prove sufficient to repair the damage, especially if he pockets, as he will be entitled to, £20m in pay and benefits if he goes. The company will already have written off its hopes of winning the security contracts at the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, both in Brazil.

July 13, 2012 RT
Despite spending more than £1.5 billion on security, the London Olympics face a safety crisis, after a whistleblower revealed malpractice at its main contractor, which has created severe “security loopholes.” ¬A secret source in charge of training security guards for the Games told UK channel Sky News that recruits are given “completely insufficient” training, and failed to conduct body searches or operate scanners. He also noted that despite the low standard of recruits, the company operates a “no-fail” policy, and anyone who attends is certified to provide safety at the Olympics. “I think if you walked through into one of the Olympic venues with a lethal capability on you then you have a 50-per-cent chance of getting through that screening procedure and getting into the venue,” says the whistleblower. G4S is a private security giant with a yearly turnover of £7.5 billion that employs more than 600,000 people. It was awarded the £283-million contract to supply 13,000 staff for the games last year, but decided to train staff “just-in-time” for the Olympics, to make sure fewer people would drop out.

Onley Young Offenders' Institution
Warwickshire, England
July 23, 2003
The youths were then ordered to clean up their mess in "deplorable" conditions described by the Chief Inspector of Prisons.  Inmates from Onley Young Offenders' Institution near Rugby in Warwickshire must travel to and from jail in the privately-run prison vans with no toilet facilities, the Chief Inspector's report said.  The report, published on Wednesday, also said inmates were left shivering in sub-zero temperatures in their cells last winter.  (BBC News)

Parc Prison
Bridgend, South Wales
Group 4/Securicor
June 29, 2012 The Independent
Two private companies with lucrative prison and police contracts across Britain have been criticised by a jury for the role they played in the suicide of a vulnerable inmate with mental health problems. Shaun Beasley, 29, was found hanging in his cell at Parc prison in Bridgend, south Wales in August 2010. He had a history of self harm and had previously made several serious suicide attempts. A jury at the inquest into his death ruled that he "took his own life in circumstances contributed to by neglect of healthcare and prison". Parc prison and young offenders institute is the only private prison in Wales. It is run by G4 Securicor, the second biggest commercial employer in the world, which has six prison contracts with the Ministry of Justice. At the time of Mr Beasley's death, G4S had sub-contracted out the healthcare services to Primecare Forensic Medical Services, which provides primary care or GP like services in prisons, police and other secure institutions across the country. Prison inspectors found "chaos and crisis" within Parc's healthcare unit shortly after Mr Beasley death which they said was "foreseeable and preventable". Inspectors said the provision of care and treatment by Parc to Mr Beasley was "grossly inadequate" leading to a systematic failure to protect him from suicide. Similar systematic failures were identified in the healthcare wing run by Primecare at the 2009 inquest into Aleksy Baranovski death at Rye Hill in 2006. G4S took over running Rye Hill in 2008. Experts last night called for urgent action to increase accountability of private contractors. Deborah Coles, co-director of Inquest said: "Shaun's tragic death was an accident waiting to happen. What is deeply concerning is that Parc's healthcare was allowed to descend into such a state of chaos, again. "This begs the question, what control and accountability is in place when things go wrong with private contractors? What must happen now is national scrutiny and learning to address these deficiencies."

July 19, 2010 Western Mail
FEARS have been raised over an escalating culture of violence at Wales’ only private prison after fights among inmates trebled in a year. The number of recorded fights at Parc Prison in Bridgend jumped from 56 in 2000 to 189 last year. This compares with fewer than five fights recorded in Cardiff and at the Usk/Prescoed prison. Former probation officer turned Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood obtained the evidence of a trebling of violence from the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information Request. Parc Prison is run by G4S, a “secure solutions company” with a turnover of more than £1bn. There are 1,200 prisoners and 600 staff at Parc today; a new housing block will make it one of the UK’s three biggest prisons with 1,670 prisoners and around 800 staff. South Wales Central AM Ms Wood said: “The extent of violence at Parc Prison is very disturbing. These figures paint an emphatic picture of frequent fighting at the prison. “From speaking to people involved in the Prison Officers’ Union, I know there are concerns about low staffing levels at the prison, overcrowding and a high turnover of staff. If this is the case, then it should be looked at immediately in order to try and make the prison a safer place.” A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said: “Prison issues are a matter for the Ministry of Justice. However, the Welsh Assembly Government is concerned about the levels of violence reported at Parc Prison and will seek clarification about this from the National Offender Management Service Cymru.” Plaid wants responsibility for the police force, probation, prisons and courts in Wales to be devolved to the Assembly Government. Ms Wood added: “Prison is not only meant to punish offenders but also rehabilitate them and I question whether any such programmes within the jail can have the maximum effect if there is a culture of violence at Parc.” There were a further 30 incidents at Parc in 2009 involving “multiple known assailants”, 97 incidents involving “single known assailants” and 56 incidents with “unknown assailants”. Parc opened in November 1997. It houses both convicted adults and young people and offenders who are convicted or on remand. G4S has challenged the accuracy and the interpretation of the figures and said the “high-risk” nature of Parc’s population made it impossible to make comparison with other establishments.

May 12, 2010 Western Mail
A PRIVATE prison has been accused of letting down a vulnerable young remand prisoner who hanged himself in his cell. Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood said Emmanuel Buyoya could still be alive if there had been a specialist remand unit in Wales for people like him accused of crimes. Instead he was sent to Parc Prison, Bridgend. Mr Buyoya, 20, originally from Burundi in central Africa, had been accused of indecently assaulting his 22-year-old female flatmate in Cardiff. A six-week inquest into Mr Buyoya’s death concluded with the jury issuing a statement that said: “We have unanimously agreed that Mr Emmanuel Buyoya on June 29 2006, took his own life whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed. “Emmanuel Buyoya was received on remand at Parc Prison on December 23, 2005 for alleged offences. During his time at Parc he was moved to the segregation unit on two occasions, the second occasion lasting from March 23, 2006 until his death on June 29, 2006. “We feel this was a considerable length of time for a young and vulnerable person to be in segregation, but unfortunately this was the only option available to Emmanuel at that time. We also feel that his mental health deteriorated to such an extent it contributed to him taking his own life. “We also feel that the documentation and communication of Emmanuel’s everyday behaviour, such as his violent outbursts and sometimes bizarre behaviour, should have been more closely monitored and recorded more accurately, and this was a missed opportunity for a better and more relevant care plan to have been put into place for the wellbeing of Emmanuel.” The coroner, Peter Maddox, recommended that Prime Care, the private medical company responsible for health care in Parc Prison, should put together a multidisciplinary team to improve the assessment of vulnerable prisoners. He also recommended that the Ministry of Justice should heed concerns about the lack of a specialist unit in Wales for vulnerable adults accused of crimes and remanded in custody. Ms Wood said: “This is a really disturbing and desperately sad case which shows that Parc Prison failed Emmanuel Buyoya. It has left us wondering whether the system can take appropriate care of other vulnerable young people. “The coroner has recommended that the Ministry of Justice should look at the issue of a lack of a specialist unit in Wales for vulnerable adults accused of crimes and remanded in custody, and this is something I wholeheartedly support. It is possible that Mr Buyoya would have been alive today if he had received the necessary care and support.”

December 17, 2009 Liverpool Daily Post
A LIVERPOOL prison is among five in the country allowing its inmates to watch satellite television. More than 4,000 prisoners enjoy the privilege in private jails nationwide. Altcourse Prison, in Fazakerley, is among the contractor-run prisons allowing access to a “limited number” of satellite channels. The number of prisoners allowed to watch satellite varies according to behaviour. But Justice minister and city MP Maria Eagle revealed the number was currently around 4,070. The Garston MP was responding to a written question from Tory MP Philip Davies. She said no inmates in public sector jails have access to satellite in their quarters. But they do at Altcourse and other GS4-run prisons in South Wales and Warwickshire. The other private prisons offering satellite television are run by Serco in Staffordshire and Nottingham. Ms Eagle said: “In these establishments, satellite television in cells is generally only available to prisoners on the enhanced or standard level of the incentives and earned privileges scheme.” There are 84,500 prisoners in England and Wales, meaning around one in 20 has access to satellite TV.

June 8, 2009 South Wales Echo
A PRISONER assaults another inmate at least once a day at a privately-run jail in South Wales. There were 381 attacks in a single year at Parc Prison in Bridgend, which includes a young offender institution, according to figures released today. South Wales Central AM Leanne Wood, below, who requested the statistics, said: “This is a damning indictment of the present criminal justice system which is chronically overcrowded. “It is much more difficult to maintain control and this could be an explanation for the increase in prisoner- on-prisoner attacks.” The figures, given to Plaid Cymru by the Howard League for Penal Reform, showed prisoner-on-prisoner attacks at Parc soared by 68% from 227 in 2004 to 381 last year. Attacks at Category B HMP Cardiff, which has a capacity of 784, fell by 64% from 53 to just 19 in 2008. Four fires were started at the capital’s jail last year, compared with 2004. At Parc, they rose from 13 to 18. Attacks on prison officers at Parc fell from 57 to 53, and at Cardiff from 15 to four. Ex-probation officer Ms Wood called for the Ministry of Justice to take over Parc, which is operated by Group 4 Securicor, now called G4S. “I’ve always been of the view prisons are better run in the public sector with experienced prison officers employed on decent wages, terms and conditions. “These figures provide further evidence of the need for all prisons to be in the public sector, and for a strategy designed to reduce the prison population.” Howard League director Frances Crook said: “This shocking rise in violence is far above what might be expected as we lock up ever increasing numbers of men, women and children whose mental health problems and addictions will never be properly treated within our flooded and failing jails. “As these are recorded statistics, it is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg with real levels of assaults, rapes and arson much higher than the Prison Service is admitting. Overcrowded, squalid prison conditions lead to rioting, violence and chaos.” Prison Reform Trust director Juliet Lyon said: “Figures on increased violence and shocking levels of self-harm in prison, as well as reflecting improved repor- ting of incidents, also point to the urgent need to reserve prison for serious and violent offenders only. “For prison staff to have a chance to reduce re-offending, they should not have to shoulder the additional burden of trying to care for people who are mentally ill and at risk of suicide and self-harm.” A spokeswoman for Parc, which has 580 staff and is Wales’ biggest jail, said: “Parc’s figures would appear disproportionately higher than other prisons due to our complex population mix and higher operational capacity at 1,200. “In general terms, both young offenders and young people prisoner-on-prisoner assaults are far more prolific than that of adult offenders, hence our figures are skewed on the high side due to our younger population. “If however you compare our proven cases of assault like for like, our figures are broadly similar to other establishments, if not lower,” she said.

April 2, 2009 BBC
Inspectors have criticised Parc Prison in Bridgend for not having enough resources to carry out its role as a training prison for Wales. An official report said there were only 70 education spaces for 1,200 male prisoners at the private jail. The Prison Reform Trust said prisoners needed to learn adequate skills to be properly prepared for their release. Parc said it was reviewing the matter but the local MP said inmates must have up to 40 hours a week on training. Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon told BBC Radio Wales: "We've all got to be worried about that because if we don't use the opportunity while these people are in prison to give them access to the skills that they need to have a different life on the outside, we're wasting the time in the prison. She said academic staff at the prison were "working their guts off" but they had too much to do.

November 16, 2008 BBC
Inadequate mental health care provision at a young offenders' institution has been criticised as scandalous by Wales' children's commissioner and an MP. Both Keith Towler and the MP Madeline Moon have demanded urgent action by the Welsh Assembly Government to address the issue at Parc Prison in Bridgend. Currently, young offenders with mental health care needs have to be sent to England to serve their sentences. The assembly government said it was committed to support young offenders. Mr Towler and Ms Moon have called on the assembly government to set up a community mental health service at Parc, the only institute for young offenders in Wales. The category B prison, Wales' only private jail, has more than 1,000 male adults and young offenders. Primary health care, such as GP services, is provided to the private prison by Primecare, but other health services such as dealing with serious and enduring mental illnesses are the Welsh Assembly Government's responsibility. "Parc Prison has never had an in-reach mental health service - a child and adolescent mental health service - reaching into the prison and we have a serious problem here," Ms Moon told the BBC's Politics Show Wales. "Parc was opened specifically so that Welsh youngsters could serve their sentence in Wales as close to their families and communities. "Those most needy youngsters with mental health problems have had to be sent to England," she added. Ms Towler agreed with Ms Moon's view that the situation was a national disgrace. "These are children in need regardless of their behaviour and they deserve a response that can meet that mental health requirement," said Mr Towler. "The stark fact is that we do not have those resources available. "It is a scandal," he added. Levels of serious mental health illnesses are believed to be higher among young offenders and female prisoners, according to professionals working in mental health care. Reports dating back to 2002 have outlined concern of a lack of adequate mental health care.

August 22, 2008 BBC
A father on remand accused of murdering his baby son has been found hanged in his prison cell, it has been revealed. David Cushing, 35, from Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly county was in Parc Prison, Bridgend on remand awaiting trial for the murder of four-week-old Alexander. Mr Cushing was found hanging from a door last Saturday, three days before he was due at Cardiff Crown Court. An investigation has been launched but a South Wales Police spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances. Police investigating Mr Cushing's last Saturday death said he was not high-risk and was not on suicide watch by prison officers.

April 13, 2008 Wales on Sunday
AN OFFICIAL report has uncovered “serious failings” at a prison pharmacy where a health chief was suspended last year after prescription drugs went missing. The damning report into HM Prison Parc, in Bridgend, also reveals how prescription drugs intended for inmates had gone missing inside the jail. The conclusions come just months after Wales on Sunday exposed how healthcare manager Rachel Bourne had been suspended following the disappearance of medical drugs. It has now emerged that Ms Bourne has been reinstated, but a second, unnamed person was still suspended pending an investigation. An unannounced inspection back in October revealed “several irregularities” in the pharmacy’s management at the prison, for remanded and sentenced 15 to 18-year-olds. Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers wrote: “We identified serious failings with the pharmacy that required immediate rectification.” * Private prescriptions were being dispensed for staff; * medicines sent to wing treatment rooms had not been received and some medications no longer required on wings were left outside the pharmacy and then “went missing”; * policies covering use of the out of hours medicines cupboard were not followed; Ms Bourne, who was contracted to work for the jail through the national independent health firm Primecare, was at the centre of an inquiry into the disappearance of vital medication for prisoners stored in the healthcare wing. Following the discovery, Primecare carried out a full investigation into the claims, which were made public by the guards at the jail. A spokeswoman for G4SJustice Services Limited, which manages Parc, said Ms Bourne has since been reinstated. “Allegations were investigated by Primecare as part of their disciplinary process. “We are happy with how they conducted the investigation and happy with the outcome,” she said. The prison report made a series of recommendations, including ensuring that the pharmacy door remained locked at all times, and that medicines should remain locked up. Other failings at the prison included inadequate mental health provision and healthcare beds being used to separate badly behaved young people, which was considered “an inappropriate use of scarce specialist accommodation”. But Ms Owers added: “Our inspection found that the unit was now more settled and was providing a reasonably safe and respectful environment, with plenty of purposeful activity and a sound approach to resettlement.” Parc is a category B training prison, which is managed by private firm, Group 4 Securicor (G4S). A spokeswoman for G4S Justice Services Limited said all recommendations, which fall within Parc’s jurisdiction, have been carried out. “For those, which do not fall within our control, the relevant parties have been provided within the information to act where necessary,” she said.

March 5, 2008 IC Wales
VIOLENT attacks at a privately-run prison leapt by more than a third, according to official statistics. There were 315 violent incidents at Parc Prison, Bridgend, last year, compared with 241 the previous 12 months – a rise of 35 per cent. Eight-five per cent of all assaults in Wales’ four prisons took place at Parc, which is home to sex offenders and youths, as well as adult non-sexual offenders. Meanwhile, attacks at Cardiff jail, Adamsdown, almost halved from 47 in 2006 to 25 last year. The figures were released in a Parliamentary answer to Cardiff Central MP and Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Jenny Willott. She said: “It is completely unacceptable that in Welsh prisons, there is at least one violent incident every day and that one in seven inmates is a victim of prison violence. “How can we expect offenders to be rehabilitated within the penal system if they are exposed to such high levels of violence? These figures suggest there is a real risk they may become more dangerous criminals than when they went in.” Parc, which opened in November 1997, houses more than 1,100 inmates. It is Wales’ only private prison and is managed by Group 4 Securicor. A spokeswoman said all incidents of violence were recorded, “from the very minor to the major”, but she said there were very few incidents of serious violence. She said young offenders at Parc meant the institution had more incidents. She also said national prisons’ overcrowding impacted on figures. The spokeswoman said: “The high-risk nature of Parc’s population, added to the complexity of offenders housed, which includes adults, young offenders and young people, make it impossible to make any comparisons to any other Welsh establishments.

December 2, 2007 Wales on Sunday
UNDER-FIRE Parc Prison faces more questions this weekend after it emerged almost 1,400 prisoners managed to self-harm while held there in the past five years. Astonishing figures released to Wales on Sunday revealed that seven out of every 10 prisoners found to be self-harming in Welsh jails had done so at Parc. Prison bosses have defended the figures, insisting it is unfair to compare it with other jails. But prison reform campaigners said inmates’ mental state should be monitored more closely, while Shadow Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan, who obtained the figures, blamed it on the strain put on jails due to overcrowding. A total of 1,393 prisoners have self-harmed in Parc Prison since the start of 2003. That was out of a total of 2,013 across Wales’ five jails, according to figures held by the Department of Justice. One had killed himself. Cardiff Prison recorded 351 incidents of self-harming, Swansea 264 and Usk and Prescoed four between them. Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said prisoners should be monitored more carefully for signs they could self-harm.

December 2, 2007 Wales on Sunday
SHADOW Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan is to hold talks with Parc Prison bosses Group 4 Securicor after failing to get the answers she wanted on their huge number of sacked officers. She is set to meet with the firm later this month after the Department of Justice was unable to answer questions about what disciplinary proceedings were taken against staff and whether criminal charges or prosecutions followed their dismissals. In addition, numbers kept by the Government on reasons for dismissal did not tally with the actual number of those sacked. Ms Gillan said: “I want to know exactly what happens to these officers and have got an appointment to see G4. “I want to know how prisons can operate functionally if there are no records kept on officers disciplined. They can then go and get a job elsewhere. “And the numbers of reasons for dismissals don’t add up to the number of dismissals in the original answer, so the Government can’t even get that right. Once again it just shows what a shambles this government is in.” Delyn MP David Hanson, a Justice Minister, said: “Disciplinary proceedings cease once a member of staff has been dismissed from service. “The Prison Service does not maintain records of criminal charges or prosecutions that are instigated against a former employee.” The reasons figures on the number of dismissals and reasons for those dismissals did not tally was “due to a difference between the local and central records held at Her Majesty’s prison and young offenders institution Parc,” he explained. A spokesman for Group 4 Securicor confirmed the company was to meet with the MP.

December 2, 2007 Wales on Sunday
A WARDEN who was sacked from Bridgend’s Parc Prison today claims there is a culture of bullying among prisoners and staff. Now the guard plans to take the company which runs the prison, Group 4 Securicor (G4S), to a tribunal claiming wrongful dismissal. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted Wales on Sunday following our revelation that shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan is asking questions about the running of the private jail. She has demanded answers over Parc’s record of sacking 42 officers in the past 10 years. The former warden, who insists he holds an unblemished 10-year employment record, claims staff disputes with management explain the prison’s high turnover. But G4S have strongly denied the claims, saying: “The management team at Parc upholds rigorous standards of employee behaviour and expects its officers to act responsibility and professionally at all times. We do not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind.” The warden, a former Royal Welsh Fusilier, was sacked for gross misconduct in July over allegations he sexually harassed a female guard while on duty. But he claims that was not true and that charges were brought because he complained about the prison’s “bullying culture”. Now, as he prepares for his tribunal, citing wrongful dismissal and victimisation, the married guard explains: “I’m one of the officers that was dismissed this year. I was dismissed for gross misconduct following a complaint by a female member of staff. “I believe the allegation was made because I gave evidence about a member of staff who was bullying others. Because of the allegations made against me, I feel I have been labelled a sex offender.” The guard says he received five commendations for prisoner care during his time at Parc, including one for saving a prisoner’s life who attempted suicide. He said: “When I was dismissed I was two months’ short of my 10th anniversary,” he said. “I was one of the 350 staff who opened the jail in November 1997. I was never disciplined in all this time until this disciplinary and was sacked for not owning up to something I didn’t do.” The prison, which has a history of racism and poor management, has dismissed eight officers this year alone – just one less than the total figure of all the other Welsh jails combined have in an entire decade. And the guard said: “Staff don’t like the way they are treated by management. They feel there is a lack of training. Some don’t want to be there. They are trained for half a day, once a week. They don’t feel they’re learning anything. It’s about time the Assembly looked at what was going on. I have lost my livelihood. I have been accused of something I haven’t done.” On Friday, G4S said bullying was not tolerated at Parc but refused to comment on the guard’s forthcoming tribunal.

November 18, 2007 Wales on Sunday
A WELSH MP has demanded answers after shock new figures showed Bridgend’s Parc Prison has sacked an astonishing 42 officers in the past 10 years. Shadow Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan, who obtained the figures, said she would be seeking to find out exactly why the figure was so high. The private prison, which has a history of racism and poor management, has dismissed eight officers this year alone – just one less than the total figure of all the other Welsh jails combined have in an entire decade. But a spokesperson for Group 4 Securicor, which runs the jail, said it simply “reflects the facility’s stringent disciplinary policy”. Ms Gillan said: “I need to know why so many people have been dismissed by Parc Prison. “How many disciplinary proceedings followed the dismissals of prison officers? What were the reasons? “Something has gone badly wrong and I want to know why. So far I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. “I think questions need to be asked. Also, I think we need to find out what the outcomes were.” The prison provides more than 1,000 places for adults, young offenders and non-convicted juveniles. The figures have led to fears the prison could have reverted to the turbulent years it experienced after opening in 1997. It was criticised in a Prison Inspectorate report in 1999 when it emerged a racist group with links to the Ku Klux Klan were virtually running an entire wing and management had to avoid housing black prisoners there. One inmate had pictures of Hitler and newspaper cuttings about racist attacks pushed under his cell door. In 2004 it was rated the worst performing privately-run prison in Wales and England. Last year it failed to meet inspection tests and in the past five years there have been three changes in management at Parc. Six officers were dismissed in 1999 and five in 2000, but numbers dropped to one or two a year between 2001 and 2004. But in 2005 nine officers were sacked in one year and six more were dismissed last year. In comparison, in the whole of the past 10 years, Cardiff Prison has sacked six officers, Swansea two and Usk just one. The prison does not recognise the Prison Officers Association, the main union for prison workers. The spokesperson for Group 4 insisted it just treated ill-discipline more seriously than at other prisons. “We can confirm that 42 officers have been dismissed from Parc Prison over a period of 10 years,” he said. “This figure reflects the facility’s stringent disciplinary policy. G4S upholds rigorous standards of employee behaviour and expects its officers to act responsibly and professionally at all times. “All dismissals are conducted in accordance with G4S HR Policies which take account of all appropriate employment legislation. G4S works to ensure that Parc operates to the highest standards that have been established by the Ministry of Justice.” Imran Hussain, of the Prison Reform Trust, said private prisons such as Parc tended to take on “inexperienced” officers who may not be up to scratch on disciplinary offences. “Private prisons like Parc tend to have less experienced staff and a higher turnover – that’s a point both the Chief Inspector of Prisons and the National Audit Office have made,” he said. “Places with a higher turnover add to the stress of already undervalued and overworked prison officers but also makes it much harder to secure a safe environment for prisoners.”

August 1, 2007 BBC News
The presence of mentally ill prisoners in HMP Parc, Wales's only private jail is a "constant concern," according to a new report. The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said it was also concerned there was no psychiatrist who specialised in young people with mental illness. However, the report commended the company which runs Parc, Group 4 Securicor (G4S) on recent improvements. Parc, near Bridgend, has around 1,110 places for adults and young offenders. The IMB, which monitors the state of prison premises and the treatment of inmates, issued the report covering the period between March 2006 and February 2007. Deportation -- According to its findings, there were more than 80 referrals of prisoners with mental healthcare needs between March and November 2006. Also in November 2006 a mental health team at Parc treated 52 cases, the majority of them adults. Both the IMB and G4S voiced an "urgent need" for a dedicated "young offenders own interest" unit in south Wales. John Homfray, chair of the Independent Monitoring Board at the jail, said the 15-place health care facility was used like a "cupboard" to keep mentally ill patients. He told Radio Wales: "What happens is that if somebody goes on a normal wing and is found to be mentally ill - and therefore can't cope properly on that wing or causes terrible disruptions - then they get transferred to health care.

November 2, 2006 IC Wales
A prisoner 'pretending' to be ill attacked his guards and tried to escape while being checked over in the middle of a busy hospital. The HM Prison Parc inmate caused chaos when he lashed out in the middle of the Princess of Wales Hospital casualty department, in Bridgend. During the scuffle, a chain was wrapped around the prison officer's neck. Hospital staff, ambulance crews and by-standers raced to help the prison officers as they fought to bring the man under control during what jail bosses have confirmed was an attempted security breach. A spokeswoman for Group 4 Securicor Justice Services, which runs Parc Prison in Bridgend, said: 'There was an attempted security breach by an adult male. 'The prompt actions of prison and hospital staff ensured this attempt was unsuccessful. The individual concerned remains in lawful custody.'

August 9, 2006 24Dash.com
A privately-run prison which has had three changes of director in four years and recently allowed an inmate on remand to walk free by mistake, has been criticised in a report released today. A HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report found that HMP & YOI Parc in Bridgend, south Wales, was unable to meet the inspectorate's tests of safety, respect and purposeful activity. But it noted that the prison was moving forward under a new director. The Category B prison, which houses around 900 convicted men and convicted or on-remand young offenders, recently hit the headlines for allowing 20-year-old Martin Burnell to walk free on July 4. Burnell, 20, who was in custody for alleged muggings, was eventually recaptured by police later that month. The prison, which opened in November 1997 and is the only private prison in Wales, is managed by Group 4 Securicor Custodial Services on behalf of the Prison Service. Inspectors found during their visit between January 9 and 13 that although Parc was not unsafe and there were relatively low levels of use of force and segregation, serious faults emerged. They expressed concern that reception, first night and induction procedures were weak; there were gaps in the management and support for prisoners at risk of self-harm or suicide; and a good violence-reduction strategy was not being operated properly on the wings, nor were managers monitoring this. Other major concerns included officers on lightly staffed units not being able to routinely engage with prisoners, black and ethnic prisoners having an even more negative perception of the jail than their white counterparts and a lack of evidence of an action plan to deal with issues raised in the recent critical Commission for Racial Equality investigation. Inspectors also noticed that although prisoners were out of their cells for up to 11 hours a day with many attending workshops, there was little work achieved. On one morning, it was observed that only 6 of the 69 prisoners in workshops were actually working; and there was little work-skills training. Inspectors reserved praise for the prison's juvenile unit which they said was "well run and focused on the needs of young people." They said the unit's training planning was done well, and staff engaged positively with the young men there. Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said: "Though this was a disappointing inspection, we were clear that the prison was moving forward under a new director. "The pockets of good practice show what can be achieved, given motivation, leadership and resources. "But it is of some concern that Securicor, who managed the prison, and the Office for Contracted Prisons, had not taken decisive action earlier to halt and reverse the drift downwards. "Parc can be a significant resource for Wales. But its role needs to be clarified, and its contract examined to ensure that it provides the right incentives and sufficient resources for that role. "There is now a Director of Offender Management for Wales, with direct oversight of Parc, and we would urge that she and her team undertake that task with some urgency, to ensure that progress this time is sustained and developed." Sian West, acting Director of Offender Management for Wales, said: "I am satisfied that the report is a fair and accurate reflection of Parc prison at the time the inspection took place." She added: "I firmly trust that this progress will be maintained into the future and will be working closely with Parc over the coming months to monitor that progress." Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "Inconsistent leadership, as the prison has got through three directors since the last inspection, seems to be the main reason for Parc's slide downhill. "The Chief Inspector's detailed report of its failure to meet the tests of a healthy prison should now enable Parc to move forward." Jerry Knight, Custody and Rehabilitation Director for Group 4 Securicor Justice Services, said: "We have taken various steps to action the recommendations in the report to ensure that the continued improvement of HMP & YOI Parc is sustained. "Within the past six months, the Prison Service has published performance tables which, when considering improvements, placed Parc 9th out of 134 establishments in England and Wales." He added: "The report acknowledges that solid foundations are in place at Parc to sustain performance improvements in the future."

July 19, 2006 BBC
An investigation has been launched at the privately-run Parc Prison at Bridgend after an alleged mugger was freed by mistake before trial. Martin Burnell, 20, from St Mellons in Cardiff, was on remand in connection with seven city street robberies. He is alleged to have robbed teenage boys and young women of mobile phones and cash in a week-long crime spree. Prison officials said he was released from custody "in error". A judge has issued a warrant for his arrest. Martin Burnell was released on 4 July after spending 10 weeks on remand. But the mistake was only spotted when his case came up at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday.

July 1, 2006 BBC
A 20-year-old man has been discovered hanged in a single-person cell at a south Wales prison. Parc Prison at Bridgend, a category B jail, said the man was pronounced dead at 0520 BST on Thursday. South Wales Police are investigating and the prison is carrying out an internal inquiry. Group 4 Securicor, which runs the prison, confirmed the death and said: "We have informed his family and offered our condolences". An inquest is due to be opened. Parc houses about 900 adult prisoners and young offenders, including those on remand. It has been open eight-and-a-half years and is Wales' only privately-run prison.

April 8, 2005 IC Network
A PRISON worker claimed yesterday she was sacked after she had an affair with a prisoner. The 20-year-old prison assistant said she began the affair with the man while he was serving part of his eight-year sentence at Parc Prison in Bridgend.

October 7, 2004 BBC
A teenage inmate found hanging in his cell had not been checked for more than two hours, a jury inquest has heard. Ian Powell, 17, was on remand at HM Parc Prison in Bridgend when he was found hanged from a light fitting. The jury also heard how two days before his death, a probation officer had found other accommodation for him but had not had time to tell the prison. A verdict of misadventure was recorded. Ms Stringer told the jury how despite efforts to find him suitable accommodation none could be found at the time of his court appearance and he was remanded in custody at HM Parc prison.

September 7, 2004 Western Mail
A nurse at a Welsh prison has been sacked after falling for an inmate. Married Carol Evans, 43, had an affair with serial Cardiff burglar Alan John, 27, while working as a nurse and counsellor at Parc Prison in Bridgend.     Her managers at the Securicor-run jail were tipped off about the relationship when they were spotted together and sacked Carol from her £25,000-a-year job on the grounds of misconduct. Other nurses had complained about the couple's behaviour.

August 10, 2004 BBC
Parc Prison in Bridgend has been rated the worst performing privately-run prison in Wales and England.  A report published by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for prisons also found that there was a lack of separate health-care facilities for juveniles, and issues of staff morale.  The research was carried out over a period of 12 months, ending in February this year.  In response, the prison said that things had improved since then.  The prison, run by Securicor, provides over 1,000 places for adults, young offenders and non-convicted juveniles.  The report found that by the end of February 2004 it had fallen to 132nd place on HM Prison Service's performance standard weighted scorecard, thus making it the poorest performing privately-run prison in Wales and England.  The research also highlighted a number of concerns which had been raised before. These included a "repeated failure to fill the 28-bed Juvenile Remand Unit", and the "continuing inability to meet certain contractual requirements."  The "failure" to provide separate healthcare facilities for juveniles was also pointed out, as were the "totally inadequate level of dental provision" and "issues" of staff morale.  In addition, the report found that there were seven outstanding inquests into deaths in custody at the prison.  These dated back, it said, as far as 21 September 2002 and included the final inquest into the death in custody of a 17-year-old trainee found dead in his cell on 6 October 2002. 

June 10, 2004
THERE was outrage last night when a prison officer had a sex-discrimination claim dismissed even though a tribunal acknowledged her managers had stopped her getting a promotion.  Caroline Jones did not get promoted at Parc Prison, Bridgend, despite being the highest-scoring candidate in an assessment.  Although a Cardiff employment tribunal said she had proved she was discriminated against, it dismissed her case because she had not applied for a hearing within a three-month time limit.  Delivering the tribunal's adjudication yesterday Mr Davies said, "We are satisfied that the applicant has shown, in the failure to promote her in that period of time, that she was the subject of sex discrimination."  (Icenetwork)

May 19, 2004
A FEMALE prison officer was locked in a cell on a sex offenders' wing by an inmate when she was forced to use it as an office, an employment tribunal heard yesterday. Caroline Jones complained she was "set up" by managers who wanted to force her out of Parc prison, Bridgend. Miss Jones, 49, of Margam, near Port Talbot, is claiming sexual discrimination and unequal pay at a Cardiff industrial tribunal. The senior prison officer says she suffered a series of setbacks to her career, beginning with her complaint about verbal and physical abuse from a colleague she worked with in January 2000. The tribunal heard that prison officer Nigel Bond spread rumours among inmates that Miss Jones used to be a lap dancer. He tormented her by tripping her and telling her it was a woman's job to make the tea. Bond was stripped of his badge for abusing prisoners. One said Bond had kicked him "and opened him up", it emerged yesterday. (Western Mail)

December 19, 2003
The Prison Service has been found guilty of racial discrimination in a report by Britain's race relations body into Wales' newest jail.  The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) report into privately-run Parc Prison, near Bridgend, found that both staff and inmates were subjected to racist abuse, which was allowed to continue unchecked.  The investigation, which was triggered by a racist murder at Feltham Young Offenders Institution in March 2000, focused on Parc, which is run by Securicor for HM Prison Service. It also looked at Feltham and Brixton jail, in London.

October 13, 2003
Nineteen-year-old Liviu Marin, who is Romanian, was serving time for burglary and theft.    He escaped from the privately-run Parc Prison in Bridgend by hanging underneath a van which travelled to Swansea Prison.  He eventually dropped free when it stopped at traffic lights after leaving the jail.  Independent investigators from the Prison Service are at Parc Prison on Monday, conducting an inquiry.  A police spokesman said Marin was believed to have made his escape by climbing underneath a prison van and clinging on as it left the grounds, using a piece of clothing to strap himself to the chassis on the Securicor van.  He held on to the van as it drove at up to 70 miles an hour for 20 miles along the M4 motorway to Swansea prison, only letting go as the vehicle stopped at traffic lights. Detectives are concentrating their search on the Swansea area after he was last seen climbing out form under the van in Oystermouth Road, at about 1140 BST on Friday.  But it has been revealed that the prisoner has connections in the West Midlands and police are appealing to motorists to remember if they have given anyone who matches his description a lift since Friday morning.  A South Wales Police spokesman said: "Marin was in Park Prison for burglary - we don't believe him to be dangerous but advise the public not to approach him. An external investigation is to be held at Parc Prison to discover how the prisoner breached security.  (BBC News)

May 31, 2003
Wales' privately-owned Parc Prison has reacted swiftly to criticism of safety by employing 14 new staff.  New staff at the jail at Bridgend - which has suffered a series of inmate suicides - will include 10 officers to work directly on supervisory duties, with the remaining four jobs involving helping and advising prisoners on resettlement.  Earlier in May, HMP Parc was criticised by Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers who said staffing levels were "too low" and as a result the safety of inmates and prison officers could not be guaranteed.  She said: "Additional staff are urgently needed to ensure that levels of safety are maintained."  A Parc prison spokeswoman stressed that this criticism had now been addressed with the creation of the 14 new prison staff posts.  The news comes on the day the Securicor group - which owns Parc under the company's Justice Division - announced profits of £35m for the six months to March 31.  Parc was the first prison to be designed, constructed and managed under the Government's Private Finance Initiative, and was awarded a 25-year contract by HM Prison Service in 1995.  (BBC News)

May 23, 2002
EDMONTON, May 23, 2002 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- A study of Alberta's corrections programs announced today by the Solicitor-General Department is a waste of taxpayers' money, says the president of the union that represents provincial jail guards, case workers and probation officers. "Most of the issues that have been announced as topics for this study have been studied to death for years and it's crystal clear what the province needs to do," said Dan MacLennan, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees. The department itself conceded in its news release this morning that Alberta's jails are the most cost-effective to run in Canada, MacLennan observed. "So we have to wonder why we are spending tax dollars to study them when there are far more pressing issues, such as health care and education, on society's agenda." MacLennan said AUPE members are particularly concerned by suggestions in the release that the panel of three government MLAs will be asked to study privatized correctional programs in Ontario and possibly elsewhere. "Jail privatization has been a failure wherever it has been tried," he said. "If Alberta goes that route, it will be bad news for everyone except the people who sell deadbolt locks - because Albertans will need to be buying plenty of deadbolts for their homes." Jail privatization leads to increased violence in jails, greater chances of escapes and less-safe communities, he said.  Rennich said that because of poor pay in private jail facilities in other jurisdictions, professional correctional officers will not work in them. Safety and security standards decline accordingly. Rennich said the suggestion that privatization is a possibility will be extremely upsetting to employees of Alberta's correctional facilities, many of whom will feel the need to look for other work. (Canada Newswire)  

May 2, 2003
The safety of inmates and wardens at Wale's only privately-run jail cannot be guaranteed because staffing levels are too low.  The chief inspector of prisons, Anna Owers, revealed her concerns on Friday in a report into HM Parc Prison, near Bridgend.  The report said new staff were urgently needed in order to ensure the safety of prisoners and wardens.  Low staffing at the jail - managed by Securicor Custodial Services - meant that prison officers had to unlock inmates single-handedly, a practice considered as unsafe.  The 82m jail has suffered a number of high-profile problems and suicides by inmates and has been dogged by disturbances.  (BBC News)

May 18, 2002
A SECURITY guard shot in a armed robbery seven years ago has won the right to claim compensation for his employers.  Appeal court judges in Leeds ruled that Securicor for which Geoffrey Henser-Leather worked, should have provided him with full body armor.  Lord Justice Kennedy ruled that the risk of armed attack in that area of Leeds has been "forseeable", and that under the 1992 Personel Protective Equipment at Work regulations, Securicor was obliged to make body armour available to its staff.  A future compensation claim against it would be lawful.  Mr.Henser-Leather, now 63, was shot in August 1995 when he was sent to collect $5,000 in cash and cheques from a service station in Leeds.  A robber grabbed the cash box and when Mr.Henser-Leather tried to wrestle it back he was shot at point-blank range with a .38 calibre revolver.  The only protective clothing with which he hah been issued was a visor.  Lord Justice Kennedy ruled that Securicor and other security firms had clear obligations under existing rules to assess risks and to ensure that suitable body armour was provided.  Penny Stead, Mr.Henser-Leather's solicitor, said that the ruling opened the way to a $100,000 injury compensation calim by her client, as well as those in similar positions.  Neil Derrick from the GMB trade union, who helped bring the case to court, said he hoped that Securicor would review its policy and provide body armour for all security guards who transported cash.  Securicor said after the case:"In line with the rest of the security and cash-in-transit industry, Securicor does not routinely offer body armour to its cash-in-transit officers.  (Times Online) 

February 8, 2002
A former inmate today alleged he was stripped naked and handcuffed by guards as he writhed in agony having a heart attack when he was in prison.  Former newsagent Nicholas Jones, 32, says he was treated worse than an animal by guards at the privately run Parc Prison, in Bridgend, south Wales.  The unemployed father of three from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire says he begged for help in the belief that he was dying, but was ordered to strip before being rushed to hospital.  Parc Prison, which is the only private prison in Wales, is staffed and run by Securicor.  (Press Association)

Peterborough
Cambridgeshire
Kalyx (Sodexho)
Dec 10, 2015 theguardian.com
Suspected prison murders at highest since records began after latest death
The number of suspected murders recorded in UK prisons is at its highest in at least 37 years after another alleged homicide at a privately run jail. Prison reform campaigners said violence in jails was out of control after a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder at HMP Peterborough in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The victim was severely beaten to death and was found in his cell, which he shared with one other prisoner, sources told the Guardian. There have been eight suspected murders at UK prisons this year, the highest since records began in 1978, when the previous record was set at five. There are on average one or two murders in prisons each year, according to official Ministry of Justice figures, whereas in 2015 there have been as many suspected murders as in the previous five years combined. There have been two other suspected murders in UK prisons in the last two weeks alone: a 24-year-old inmate was arrested on suspicion of murder after an 80-year-old man died on 3 December at Nottingham prison, and another prisoner was arrested on suspicion of murder after a fellow inmate was stabbed to death at HMP Dartmoor on 26 November. Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the spate of suspected homicides behind bars had raised the possibility of the highest rec