Up to 180 inmates at Maidstone Prison in southeast England
were involved in a "riot", a senior member of the prison
officers' trade union told Sky News television.
Prison authorities confirmed that there had been an incident
confined to one wing of the facility and said they had
deployed additional prison officers.
A spokeswoman for Kent Police said the force had not been
involved. The BBC said two ambulances had been at the prison
for several hours in a supportive capacity but had not
Ralph Valerio, described by Sky News as vice-chair of the
Prison Officers' Association, said he understood foreign
prisoners had been involved in "concerted indiscipline" but
the situation had escalated.
"As time moves on it's looking more like a riot," he said.
The official Prison Service had no immediate comment on what
Valerio said or on what may have caused the incident.
Citing sources at the Prison Officers' Association, the BBC
reported that prisoners were angry because their living
conditions had deteriorated as a result of recent staff cuts.
In particular, the inmates felt they spent too long locked up
in their cells, the BBC said.
On the Prison Service website, Maidstone Prison is described
as a centre for foreign national prisoners with more than 18
months left to serve and provides liaison with the UK Border
The website says the operational capacity of the prison was
600 as of May 2009.