UK Prison Loses Keys to All Its Cells

By Timon Woodward

Oct 26, 2011 8:47am

Well they haven’t quite been thrown away, but the keys have gone missing. The first prison in the UK to be taken over by a private security firm has suffered a major hiccup regarding the most important tool in keeping prisoners locked up, the keys.

Unfortunately for the prisoners, they were on the wrong side of the bars when the keys were misplaced, on the inside of their cells.   The prisoners were locked in their cells at the Birmingham facility, built to house 1,450 inmates, for almost a full day while guards searched to retrieve the missing set of keys which opened most of the prison cells.

Theories as to how the keys went missing have varied from them simply being misplaced, to a rogue guard stealing them to make a statement towards the security firm G4S taking over Oct. 1. An anonymous prison guard said: “The keys were ‘lost’ from the gatehouse, almost certainly to embarrass G4S.”

The embarrassment will cost G4S £250,000 to £1,000,000 to fit new cell and door locks, which the company will foot as part of its contract.

That’s an expensive set of keys; has anyone checked down the back of the couch?

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