Black teenagers in young offender institutions say overt racism
is rife, a report from the Children’s Society found.
Most black prisoners in YOIs did not know about complaints
procedures or had no confidence in them. Only five out of 45
inmates aged 16 and 17 had heard of the race relations liaison
officer or the race relations management team.
The report is based on research by a former prison governor, now
Professor David Wilson of the University of Central England and
involved interviews with black teenagers at three YOIs in different
Many of the young people felt offended by prison posters defaced
with racist graffiti, but complaints, if they filed them, seemed to
go unheard. They tended to use two survival strategies, keeping
quiet and “going nuts”.
Wilson’s findings contrast with official prison inspection
reports which said the YOIs visited had a good record for race
“While there is no evidence of racism on official Prison
Service paper, talk to the black prisoners themselves and they will
tell a very different story revealing fundamental flaws in the
complaints procedures,” said Professor Wilson.