Prison officers at Feltham viewed inmates as “animals”

    Prison officers at Feltham Young Offender Institution acted like
    they were working in a “pig sty with inmates viewed like
    animals,” a senior prison officer has admitted,
    writes Shirley Kumar.

    Principal officer Keith Denman agreed officers constantly
    referred to meal times for inmates with the word
    “feed,” implying the inmates were no different to
    cattle.

    “Appalling conditions” at the institution led to a
    feeling of “dehumanisation” among prisoners,” he
    told an inquiry, adding personnel management were so bad, bosses
    did not know how many staff worked there.

    Denman was giving evidence to the government-led inquiry into
    the murder of 19-year-old Zahid Mubarek by his inmate Robert
    Stewart in March 2000.

    Mubarek, from Walthamstow in east London, was just hours from
    his release when he was beaten to death with a chair leg by
    Stewart, a psychopath who has been jailed for life.

    Evidence at the inquiry last week showed Feltham prison officers
    were involved in a shocking catalogue of racial abuse towards
    inmates.

    Officers routinely called black and Asian inmates
    “monkeys” and “black bastards” and told
    “they should be sent back to their own country”.

    Black inmates were stereotyped as “violent and
    aggressive” and labelled “drug dealers and drug
    takers”, said the report, which was a result of surveys with
    black and ethnic minority inmates by Hounslow Racial Equality.

    The inquiry is expected to end in March 2005.

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