The Justice Ministry said it had taken back control of HMP Birmingham to counter “squalid” conditions. REUTERS/Darren Staples
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The British government has taken over the running of a major prison from contractor G4S after an inspection found that staff locked themselves in offices to avoid prisoners who were using drugs and violence with near impunity.The chief inspector of prisons said HMP Birmingham in Britain's second-biggest city had deteriorated dramatically in the last 18 months, with staff locking themselves in offices and prisoners openly using drugs.G4S said the prison faced "exceptional challenges".Of 123 prisons across England and Wales, 17 are run by private companies, including five by G4S.The Justice Ministry said that in general, contracted prisons are among the best-performing across the prison estate.G4S is the world's biggest security company, employing 570,000 people in more than 90 countries.
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