Two men have been charged with prison mutiny and criminal damage after a group of prisoners barricaded themselves into a cell at High Down Prison last October.

Surrey Police officers were called to the prison, on the border between Banstead and Sutton, at 6pm on Monday, October 21, after reports that prisoners had barricaded themselves into a cell.

Some of the prisoners involved were subsequently transferred to other prisons and an investigation into the incident followed.

Today, April 25, Jordon Rowe, 20, of Leander Road, Thornton Heath, was charged with participating in prison mutiny and criminal damage.

Nathaniel Nickel Johnson, 23, of Barkworth Road, Southwark, London, was charged with the same offences yesterday, April 24.

Both men are due to appear at South East Surrey Magistrates’ Court next month.

High Down prison has come under scrutiny in recent months after complaints from relatives of inmates and ex-prison officers that staff shortages are causing prisoners to stay locked in their cells for long periods of time, preventing them from attending rehabilitative classes. 

Claims have also been made that staff feel unsafe as prison officer numbers have fallen.

But in an exclusive interview with the Epsom Guardian, when it was invited to visit the prison last month, its governor Ian Bickers insisted that there was no crisis and that prisoners and staff members felt safe – despite huge changes introduced by the Government across the prison estate last year.