The first race equality adviser to the Prison Service has told
the Zahid Mubarek inquiry that she heard “disturbing”
allegations of serious violence against black and ethnic minority
prisoners, an inquiry has heard, writes Maria
Judy Clements, who advised the Prison Service between 1999 and
2003, told the public inquiry into Mubarek’s death that
prison staff and management were in “complete denial”
of issues relating to racism in a number of institutions.
She also said there was a “disparity” among prison
staff in reporting racist matters.
Mubarek was killed by his racist cellmate Robert Stewart at
Feltham Young Offender Institution in March 2000.
Clements told the inquiry that she recalled incidents where
black prisoners complained about being moved to segregation while
white prisoners were left “to continue as normal”
following alleged fights.
She said: ”When it came to perceived racism at the hands
of prison staff, it was felt that it was an utter waste of time
trying to complain because there was a perception that, for
example, race relations liaison officers would collude with their
Clements also said the Prison Officer’s Association would
occasionally refuse to meet her when she visited institutions.
She referred to a case in London [not Feltham] where there were
“significant challenges” facing POA members “with
regard to allegations of inappropriate behaviour and racism, and
lots of complaints”.
Clements told the inquiry: “It was my perception that they
might have found it
uncomfortable to meet with me because I had been very
She added:” When Zahid was killed…it was more than a
wake-up call. I think the question was: could we have been so
The inquiry continues.