8 Oct

Police use tear gas and water cannons on antiSAITM protest

Pictures by Lalith Perera Despite the tear gas and water cannons being used on the students the students kept returning to the Colpetty junction and the protest continued till late into the evening. The Police used tear gas and water cannons on a protest by university students staged in Colombo today against the SAITM institute in Malabe.The protesters were prevented from moving forward at the Colpetty junction by riot squads who fired tear gas and water cannons. The Inter University Students’ Federation said that they will continue to protest till free education is secured in Sri Lanka. The protest led to roads in the area being closed and the public being greatly inconvenienced.Several people working in the area were unable to go home after work as the roads were closed as a result of the protest. (Colombo Gazette) read more

25 Sep

Thirteen prison officers hospitalised after violence erupts at Feltham youth jail over

The Prison Service said the perpetrators will face adjudication hearings over the next few days. A spokeswoman said: “A completely unacceptable series of assaults on staff at Feltham over the weekend led to 20 officers receiving injuries – with 13 needing hospital treatment.”Our sympathies are with those hard-working and committed staff, who deserve to be able to carry out their jobs without facing this kind of behaviour.”We will never tolerate violence against our staff and will push for the strongest possible punishment, which could lead to them spending more time behind bars.”It is understood the injured officers have since been discharged from hospital.Feltham YOI is made up of two parts, Feltham A, which holds 15 to 18-year-olds, and Feltham B, which holds young adults aged 18 to 21.In its A unit there is capacity for 180 young people, while 360 young adults can be held in unit B. Once judged to be unsafe, an inspection last year found levels of violence had been cut at the YOI.Safety had improved “quite dramatically” after new measures were introduced that included the teenagers being rewarded for good behaviour – including being given sweets and chocolate.But the facility has faced a battle to keep gang rivalries in check after “postcode” allegiances caused conflict among inmates. Thirteen prison officers required hospital treatment after being attacked by teenage offenders during a weekend of violence at a youth jail.Nineteen staff in total at Feltham Young Offenders Institution (YOI) in west London were injured as about a dozen young criminals, aged 15 to 17, mounted “unprovoked” attacks on officers.They suffered fractures, broken noses, cuts, bruises and bites during the violence which started last Friday and continued through the weekend.“They don’t need an excuse, they decided they were going to attack staff members, unprovoked. It was just wanton violence, simple as that,” said Mark Fairhurst, chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association.“Feltham has a difficult cohort to deal with as these are the violent kids who are committing the knife crime in London. They don’t stop violence just because they are in a young offenders’ institution.“They came up to staff, punched them in the face. When they got restrained, they bit staff. There’s some quite deep bites. It’s just unprovoked violence.”Mr Fairhurst sparked a backlash on Twitter after tweeting that they should “Replace the term ‘children’ with ‘violent young criminal’ and you more accurately describe what @POAUnion members in the juvenile estate face.”However, he was unapologetic over his comments and demanded that the attackers should be prosecuted and segregated, so they could be treated by psychologists to try to understand the motivation for their violence. “We will support staff and push for prosecutions,” he said. In March Feltham’s independent monitoring board said the issue presented staff with an “enormous problem”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more