Feltham YOI still dogged by racism years after Zahid Mubarek’s murder

Continuing problems at Feltham Young Offender Institution have been revealed just as the inquiry into the death of inmate Zahid Mubarek published its damning report.

The Independent Monitoring Board’s annual report on Feltham, published in the same week as the Mubarek Inquiry’s report, said the high number of young offenders with personality disorders were a “continuing drain” on the YOI.

It also found there were 468 racist incidents recorded at Feltham during 2004-5.

The Mubarek Inquiry report delivered a devastating critique of how Zahid, 19, came to share a cell with and be murdered by racist Robert Stewart, then also 19, at Feltham in 2000.

Mr Justice Brian Keith’s report found prison staff “never got to grips” with Stewart – who had a diagnosed personality disorder and a history of dangerous and “bizarre” behaviour. Vital information was either not passed on or not acted upon.

For instance, the inquiry found that while Stewart was at Hindley YOI in 1997, a nurse who overhead him talking to his friend Maurice Travis wrote in a security information report that they could “endanger their lives and possibly others”. But this was never put into Stewart’s file.

Keith’s report found that staff shortages, a lack of resources and overcrowding had contributed to Feltham’s problems at the time of the murder. It put forward 88 recommendations, including a review of mental health care in prisons.

It also criticised 20 staff for the lack of action in prevent the murder.

The report was published as the prison population reached a record high of 77,865.

See Prison murder inquiry slams individual and systemic failings

“The Zahid Mubarek inquiry has broken new ground. Inquiries need to be held quickly and in public to dispel concerns about malpractice. If the prison service has nothing to hide then it has nothing to fear.”

Lord David Ramsbotham, former chief inspector of prisons.

“Zahid was a very nice boy. Today he would have been 26 years old. The family miss him very much.”

Zahid Mubarek’s mother, Sajida, on the day of the report’s publication.

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