High Security Prisoners Fear Jail Staff

Staff who made an unannounced visit to the high security HMP Whitemoor in January were told one in three prisoners felt unsafe.

Poor relationships with officers were blamed, inspectors said.

Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said the prison was "safer and more secure" than when last inspected.

Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, found "poor staff attitudes about race and religion".

"Many prisoners said they had been victimised, threatened or intimidated by staff, particularly if they were black and minority ethnic or Muslim," he said.

'Cause for concern'

"Muslim prisoners said many staff were unsure how to relate to them without resorting to assumptions about extremism.

"Too many [60% of prisoners] told us they had felt unsafe in the prison and almost a third, significantly more than in other high-security prisons, told us they felt unsafe in the prison at the time of the inspection.

"In my view, this reflected relationships between staff and prisoners which, although improved, were still not what they should be.

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