Prison officers at Gartree Prison, near Market Harborough, have walked out on strike as part of a national protest over health and safety in prisons.
Thousands of prison officers across England have stopped work, their union the Prison Officers Association said.
The Association said as many as 10,000 members were taking part, with a skeleton staff remaining to provide emergency cover to protect prisoners’ well-being.
The Government’s Ministry of Justice described the action as unjustified and “unlawful”. A spokesman for the Ministry said it would take court action over the protest.
The protest began at midnight and comes after multiple high-profile incidents at prisons across England, including an alleged murder at Pentonville Prison in London and a riot at Bedford Prison.
A union spokesman said the union had consistently raised the volatile and dangerous state of prisons.
“Chronic staff shortages and impoverished regimes has resulted in staff no longer being safe, a lack of discipline and prisoners taking control of areas” the spokesman claimed.