The Anti Discriminatory Practice In Prisons Criminology Essay

This briefing notice will identify the issues and issues with regards to anti-discriminatory practice in prisons. "A racist event is any incident which is identified to be racist by the sufferer or any other person". (HMPS, 2007). Anti discriminatory practice is to issue and reduce discrimination due to sex, race, era, disability and other kinds of discrimination. Prison staff can certainly discriminate other prison staff or prisoners on the forms of discrimination, mainly racial discrimination occurs in jail (Noden 2009). Over the last ten years the amount of prisoners from cultural backgrounds has increased greatly, this briefing be aware looks at their conditions and treatments and the factors where to minimise racial discrimination in prisons. In many cases a prisoners particular needs are not met and they are not given the same support as other prisoners, prisoners are often treated with disrespect and experience racial abuse. The payment for racial equality announced that an inspection into racial discrimination in the prison service would be taking place, this investigation is going ahead due to the serious concerns that racism is widespread in many prisons. The commissions for racial equality are concerned at situations of proven racial discrimination in the prison service. The decisions were made after several situations including the murder of Zahid Mubarek, during guardianship at HMYOI Feltham, Zahid was murdered and was thought to be racially aggravated (BBC, 2003).


Overall, racial situations have increased overtime, figures show that in 2006 there were 11, 389 complaints of racism and this has increased by 25% to 14, 191 in 2008 and increasing each year. However racism between prisoners has lowered between 2006-2008, the most common racism issue was "prisoners against staff" and increased by 39%, "staff on staff" racism increased by 37% and "staff on prisoner" racism also increased by 13% (Guardian, 2010). The murder of Zahid Mubarek lead to a formal analysis and found that the prison service had shattered race laws on 17 different events, a few of the breaches include failing to deal with a racist atmosphere in jails, discriminatory treatment of personnel, and punishments predicated on racial stereotypes. The analysis discovered that "prison culture recommended that staff could disregard equality obligations and openly racist attitudes or behaviour had been tolerated" (BBC, 2003). Jail staffs of cultural minority were found to be working in an atmosphere of racist taunting and would be victimised if indeed they made issues. Racial stereotyping was another factor, good examples such as "black inmates were more likely to be targeted for drugs testing then white cellmates", which locking a prisoner in a cell for consequence was used unreasonably towards cultural minority prisoners (BBC, 2003). 12% of the overall prison population are overseas prisoners, they originate from a variety of countries, mainly Jamaica, Pakistan, India and Turkey (Prison Reform Trust, 2004). Although the more and more prisoners, the prison service doesn't have a dedicated coverage or technique to deal with international prisoners. Most overseas prisoners have dedicated drug related offences and are offering sentences greater than four years. During the early 1990s there were an increasing number of Nigerian nationals sentenced for medication related offences, it has increased within the last ten years to them being the largest single band of international prisoners. No source of regular income has led many Jamaicans prepared to earn a living from the drug trade, providing them with a means out of poverty. "Recent characters show that almost 126 foreign nationals under age 18 were in custody and nearly one half of them kept in Feltham Young Offenders institution". (Hansard)

Current Status:

During a recent interview in March 2009, Muslim inmates have told the BBC that they have been verbally abused by personnel at Glen Parva institute in Leicestershire. One man said "I am called a terrorist because I grow my beard. . . or ridiculous Muslim. "I put so many problems in this joint I cannot tell you. This is the worst prison I've been too. . . more racist than others". During the same interview the prisoner also expresses that when a complaint is made, nothing is done about it, and the panel always feels the prison staff. Out of this we can inform that racism is still rife in prisons, and that nothing appears to be done about it (BBC, 2009). Since the Zahid Mubarak circumstance the jail reform trust has completed many projects and studies into factors leading to racial abuse and discrimination, the prison reform trust consulted BME prisoners and asked for opinions on changes that they would like to see in the jail that involve responding to racial situations. The prisoners determined four main changes

The dependence on an unbiased review and type into investigations

Procedures and rights in grievances should be obviously explained

Enhancing the role of prisoner contest representatives

Mediation should be produced available

Key considerations / Options:

The jail system could apply the next changes in order to help minimise racial misuse and discrimination. First of all each prison should change its solutions to meet up with the particular needs of the prisoners, this will raise the confidence in BME prisoners in the types of procedures for handling racial situations, by applying the changes it'll permit both prisoners and personnel to effectively communicate with one another and also come to an understanding. Prisons need to judge and appearance at the harm that racism triggers to prisoners and personnel, in addition they need to give attention to the various types of racism that occurs (blatant racism, institutional racism etc), immediate discrimination where punishments or benefits are given out on the lands of race is one of the most common types of racism in prison, and by prison personnel is not seen as racism, prison personnel should be given relevant training on equality and variety, and also be trained to respect other prisoners religious and moral principles, once prison personnel know about their values and values they can change the manner in which they certainly things to prevent them from discriminating. Prisons need to check out the current procedures and strategies and assess whether the methods work or not, and whether changes have to be made, the current policies and procedures are not working because racial discrimination is still rife in prisons, the prison board must address this problem and appearance into changing the plans to match the prisoners and staff, which will subsequently minimise the chance of racism. Moreover they should talk to prisoners and understand how they might like the prison to act in response when racism takes place. When prisoners get excited about setting up systems to handle racism, they have more self confidence in the machine, as many believe that it isn't an effective measure, they will also realize that the system is reasonable and very sensitive. By talking to prisoners, solutions to problems can be revealed, such as whenever a prisoner expresses that "when a complaint is made, it is not kept confidential and when discovered by other prisoners or personnel could put themselves in peril to either more abuse or maybe even physical injury" (Bhui, 2009), the prison plank could then enhance the manner in which complaints are created also to ensure that confidentiality is retained. The jail service should also look at each prisoners record and history to see if they have a brief history of racial misuse or any type of racial discrimination, this will decide if they should put a certain prisoner by himself or sharing a cell with other prisoners, if this have been carried out, then the murder of Zahid Mubarek would not took place. Another thought could be that to put all prisoners of the same race on a single wings, this will minimise the chance of racial misuse from other competition prisoners, however this will also stop non racist prisoners from mixing and not permitting them to integrate with people from other cultural backgrounds or areas. The prison panel should bring in new totally trained staff, who know about the several types of discrimination and the consequences it is wearing prisoners and personnel, this will ensure that prison staff are not committing racial serves, and prisoners can also deal with staff if they are being verbally or physically abused by other prisoners, because they have self confidence that the personnel can be trusted then one will be achieved about it. Each jail should be frequented by an independent organisation once a month, it should investigate any happenings including racial and happenings that involved violence, by carrying out this measure it'll put trust and self-assurance in the prisoners that if indeed they were to put a complaint, an unbiased organisation would research and this may lead to the necessary changes that need to be produced. The prison service should ensure that all prisoners know about the complaints procedures, aware of how they are reported and prepared, which prisoners are shielded from any problems due to investing in a issue (Prison Reform Trust, 2010). One prisoner mentioned "If he's racist, he has got to be suspended. At this time, they have got immunity to do whatever they need. There needs to be a deterrent"(Prison Reform Trust, 2010), another concern that may be made is the fact that staff or prisoners that carry out racial problems should either be suspended or given some type of consequence, this will deter them from carrying out the same offence again.


This briefing notice has identified the problems and issues with regards to anti - discriminatory practice in prisons. It first of all shows the background of how racial discrimination impacts prisons, prisoners and staff members, it then continues on to explain the reality and reports of racial problems in prisons, the briefing word also clarifies the Zahid Mubarek circumstance and the factors adjoining it. After that it goes onto look at the current status in prisons, and looking at interviews from prisoners and their views and opinions on the changes that they would like to see in the prison system. Finally the briefing take note of provides reasons and analyses the changes that require to be produced and advantages and down sides with each option.

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