Work on renovating riot jail to start soon

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The massive job of getting a riot-hit Doncaster prison back into shape is set to get underway later this month.

The Prison Service confirmed last night that work to repair the huge amount of damage to wings at Moorland Prison and Young Offenders’ Institution is imminent.

Several wings at the Hatfield Woodhouse detention centre were wrecked when inmates went on the rampage last November.

Parts of the jail were damaged and set on fire during three days of rioting.

An investigation into how the riot happened and who was responsible for starting it is still being conducted by a team of detectives from South Yorkshire Police.

It is hoped the jail, which is currently housing 476 inmates, will be back to full capacity of 791 by September after the renovations are completed.

A Prison Service investigation into the riots has been completed but its results not released to the public.

Large numbers of prison officers from jails in Doncaster, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire were scrambled to try to regain control of Moorland.

It is thought delays in inmates receiving post, poor relations between officers and governors and gang rivalries all played a part.

Trouble flared when a group of about 50 lags refused to go back to their cells in the evening.

Two wings were so badly damaged that they could not be used and a total of three prison officers sustained injuries during the violence, including a woman officer who was taken to hospital with a broken jaw.

But rioting continued over three consecutive nights and the situation was not fully resolved until large numbers of the troublemakers were shipped out to other institutions.

At the time the Prison Officers’ Association blamed Government funding cuts.

Prison governor Rob Kellett said there was always a risk rioting could happen again.

“We’re about risk minimisation. I’m not saying it can never happen again, plainly we do everything to stop that.”

A Prison Service spokesman said: “A report into the incidents at Moorland has been completed. The Chief Executive of the National Offender Management Service and the Regional Director are considering appropriate action following the recommendations in that report.”