Whitemoor prisoners claim they have been victimised and intimidated by staff

PRISONERS in the Whitemoor high security jail at March have reported being victimised, threatened or intimidated by staff.

Inspectors visited the site without any warning in January - and a report issued this week says one in three prisoners felt unsafe at the time of the inspection.

The report said: “Many prisoners, particularly if they were black and minority ethnic or Muslim, reported being victimised, threatened or intimidated by staff.

“In individual structured interviews, issues relating to relationships came up more often than any other, with prisoners referring to discrimination, aggression and bullying by staff.”

Despite these concerns, the overall conclusion was that the prison had improved, the prison was safer and drug use was reduced. Inspectors reported that the number of fights and assaults had reduced, and education was good quality,

The report concludes that an effective prisoners’ council should be set up, with representatives from all parts of the prison.

According to the report, 60 per cent of prisoners said they had felt unsafe in prison at some time, and almost a third said they felt unsafe at the time of the inspection.

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Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons said: “Overall, Whitemoor was an improving prison with many strong features, but some ineffective relationships between staff and prisoners remained the biggest brake on fast progress.

“The most serious aspect of this was the lack of trust between black and minority ethnic and Muslim prisoners and prison staff.

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service, said: “I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has recognised the improvements made at Whitemoor since the last inspection, and his conclusion that drug use has reduced. It is now a safer and more secure environment.

“The governor and his staff will work hard to tackle the areas where more improvements can be made.”

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