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Aug. 20, 2018, 2:54 a.m. EDT

U.K. government to temporarily take over operations of G4S prison: media reports

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By Ryan Vlastelica

The U.K. government has taken over the operations of HMP Birmingham, a major prison run by G4S Plc, after an inspection found it was in a "state of crisis," multiple media outlets reported on Monday. The Ministry of Justice said it would run the prison for an initial six-month period, Reuters reported, in order to combat "squalid" conditions, including widespread use of violence and drugs by the inmates, as well as a lack of sanitation that has attracted rats and cockroaches. As part of the change in operations, 300 prisoners will be moved to other sites, while a new governor will be installed. Prisons Minister Rory Stewart was quoted as saying that "it has become clear that drastic action is required to bring about the improvements we require." He called the prison's conditions "unacceptable." G4S [UK: GFS] said it welcomed the government taking over the operations, saying the prison had "exceptional challenges." Shares of G4S Plc have struggled lately, having dropped 8.6% thus far this month. The FTSE 100 [UK: UKX] is down 2.5% over the same period.

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