HMP Whitemoor In 2006
‘Police have launched an investigation into claims of “systematic” racial assaults, racist abuse and brutality by prison officers at maximum security Whitemoor prison, it emerged last night. Cambridgeshire police confirmed to the Guardian that an investigations team was set up last October to examine an alarming number of serious allegations at the jail.
HMP Whitemoor, near March in Cambridgeshire, specialises in managing and treating prisoners with dangerous and severe personality disorders.
‘The Guardian’ has learned of a variety of incidents alleged by inmates and their solicitors, including an assault to the head by an officer using a riot shield and an assault which resulted in a spinal injury. It has also been alleged that staff used a range of racial abuse including “black bastard” and “black cunt”. A number of officers have been named in complaints.
Though police are declining to comment on specific incidents being examined by Operation Pond, the Guardian has established that several firms of solicitors are pursuing complaints on behalf of prisoners. Black prisoners also claim to have been referred to as “nigger” and “monkey man” while Muslim prisoners have complained of being denied access to prayer facilities and being referred to as “Paki”.
One source with close knowledge of the investigation said there was a fear of systematic abuse being meted out by “a hard core of rogue officers”. In one case, a prisoner claims he was hit on the head with a riot shield, dragged into a cell and stripped naked. He says an officer then climbed on top of him and pushed his thumbs into his eyes as if he were trying to blind him.
Lubia Begum-Rob, a solicitor at the Prisoners’ Advice Service, said: “I am most concerned that the largest numbers of complaints I deal with are persistently from prisoners held in HMP Whitemoor.”
Solicitor Dan Rubinstein, who is representing several Whitemoor prisoners, said: “I’m very concerned because of the sheer number of incidents occurring in one prison. This has got to be more than a coincidence. The situation appears to be worse in Whitemoor than anywhere else.” He said the “scale and the repetitiveness of the assaults” indicated a serious problem.
The Good News Is That Things Have Improved….Haven’t They?
‘However, black and minority ethnic, Muslim and foreign national prisoners were much less positive about a range of issues relating to safety and respect. Muslim prisoners in our survey, and those we spoke to were particularly vocal about these issues, and many felt victimised because of their faith.’ (unannounced HMI visit in 2014)
Further to this, a blog posting by ‘Prisoner Support Bristol ABC‘ on Prisoner Kevin Thakrar
Kev was transferred to the segregation unit of HMP Whitemoor on the 17th of December 2013.
Please use the exact address below as some of his mail is going to his brother who is also there.
Rather than being on the CSC unit he is on a punishment regime. No explanation has been given for this, apart from that he has refused to engage with interventions. This is nonsense as no psychologist came to see him in HMP Manchester. They only moved him because of the Judicial Review that he had taken out against the prison authorities.
Right now he is in a cell with no heating, nor access to showers or phone calls on a daily basis, and no access to gym equipment at all. He expects to stay at least until the 21st of January when there is a CSC Management Committee Meeting. Please write to him at:
Kevan Thakrar – A4907AE
Question: Would a prisoner transfer be perceived as a meted out punishment if the prison concerned had reformed as much as the authorities say it has? Maybe the Chancellor can tell us.