Young offenders win settlement for alleged assaults

Seven former young offenders, who claim they were assaulted by
prison officers at Portland Young Offenders’ Institution in
Dorset, have been awarded £120,000 by the Prison Service in an
out of court settlement, writes Clare

The prisoners were aged between 16 and 21 at the time and claim
they were punched, kicked, slapped and had their heads slammed
repeatedly against the floor in the segregation block by prison
officers, who also tore their clothes off them during strip

“These seven are only the tip of an iceberg,” said
Nogah Ofer, solicitor for the young offenders. “The police
investigated 53 cases dating back to the 1980s.”

“A culture of intimidation and brutality has been deeply
entrenched in Portland for decades,” the solicitor added.

In some cases, which emerged as a result of an inquiry by the
Howard League for Penal Reform, the prisoners were put on false
charges of assaulting officers and punished by having extra days
added to their sentences.

A three-week trial was due to begin at Weymouth county court
next week.

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