1990 Strangeways Prison Riot
In 1990 the inmates of Strangeways Prison in Manchester held a 25 day riot in protest of the inhumane treatment they were being subjected to. It was the longest and one of the most violent riots in British penal history, with 1 inmate being killed and 147 prison officers injured. The conditions the prisoners were living in were things like weekly showers, being locked in the cell 22 hours a day and unhygienic toilet systems. This riot sparked off a series of other riots throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The 1990 Strangeways Riot led to a complete review of the prison system, where they discovered the living conditions were ‘intolerable’ and ‘unsanitary’, and the reviewers recommended a complete reform of the system.
The prison was rebuilt at a cost of £55 million. One prisoner was quoted-
“The better conditions in here are not down to the prison department. But for the riot, we would still be in the same old jail banged up all day and slopping out … The rioters brought this about. These conditions … should not have cost the lives of a prisoner, a prison officer and two huge court trials. They should have done it years ago but it took a riot to get them to do it.”
The effect of this riot is one of the main reasons as to why the penal system tries to focus more on attempted rehabilitation rather than cruel punishment.