A prisoner has finally come down from the roof of HMP Manchester after staging a 12-hour protest overnight.
Police cordons have been removed and ambulances have been seen leaving Strangeways after the 12-hour protest, reports the Manchester Evening News. A series of witnesses contacted the M.E.N. to report that a prisoner had climbed onto the roof of the prison – officially known as HMP Manchester.
Police say they were informed at around 4.30pm on Wednesday evening. The building – still known to many by its former name ‘Strangeways’ – is one of the country’s largest high security, category A men’s prisons.
The jail, to the north of Manchester city centre, which has capacity for over 1,200 inmates, was rebuilt following the infamous Strangeways riot of April 1990 – the biggest disturbance in prison service history.
During the protest the prisoner wrote on the roof ‘FREE IPPZ’ – which it is believed refers to The Imprisonment for Public Protection sentence (IPP) sentence which was abolished in 2012 and branded ‘unjust’.
What are IPPs?
Your average prisoner serves half their sentence. But an IPP prisoner who was sentenced for a relatively minor crime could be forced to remain behind bars far longer than many killers, rapists, major drug dealers, paedophiles and organised criminals.
In 2012 IPPs were abolished on the back of a European Court ruling that they breached human rights – on the grounds that prisons had failed to provide inmates access to the rehabilitation courses required to demonstrate to the Parole Board that they were safe to be released.
But the abolition wasn’t retrospective, so by 2019 there remained 2,489 prisoners still locked up on IPP sentences.
The Manchester Evening News understands that the prison was put on lockdown during the incident. Specialist trained negotiators were also called and attempted to engage with the prisoner.
According to a statement issued by Greater Manchester Police: “At 4:15 am this morning (Thursday 13 April) the male prisoner willingly came down from the roof and is back in the custody of prison staff.”
The Prison Service has also released its own statement this morning. A spokesperson said: “Staff safely resolved this incident and the prisoner will face punishment as disorder in prisons is not tolerated.”