Ministry of Justice wins bid for staff injunction at ‘volatile’ prison

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has won a High Court order forcing prison officers to operate a “full regime” at crisis-hit HMP Lindholme.

Staff at the “volatile” prison near Doncaster operated a “controlled lockdown” on Friday after two prison officers were attacked by inmates the previous evening.

But the MoJ obtained an interim injunction on Friday to restrain what it says is “unlawful industrial action” which has been induced by the prison officers’ union, the POA.

At the High Court on Tuesday, Mr Justice Goss extended the injunction – which requires the POA to instruct its members to return to a full regime at HMP Lindholme – until a full trial of the dispute can be heard.

The POA say they did not instruct staff to take any action, and that officers decided to “restrict the regime in the interests of the safety of themselves and prisoners”.

The union claims that, last Thursday, one prison officer was “punched in the throat” and another was “choked…until he became unconscious” when a prisoner put a towel over his head.

HMP Lindholme, which currently holds about 850 prisoners, was named by the MoJ as one of ten of “the most challenging prisons” in England and Wales.

In August, prisons minister Rory Stewart pledged to resign if he had not managed to reduce the level of drug use and violence at those prisons within a year.