Indirect discrimination consists of applying in any circumstances covered by the Act a requirement or condition which, although applied equally to persons of all racial groups, is such that a considerably smaller proportion of a particular racial group can comply with it, and it cannot be shown to be justifiable on other than racial grounds. 5 Training was provided with the assistance of NACRO for Governing Governors or their deputies to chair their Race Relations Management Teams.Race relations Liaison Officers were provided with an eight-hour per week minimum to perform their roles. Four new racially aggravated offences were introduced into the Prison Discipline Manual.
A pilot commenced of a more freely available complaint form that will make it easier for prisoners to indicate whether there is a racial element to any complaint. A new Prison Service Order on the conduct of investigations was issued, which contains guidance on the investigation of racist incidents.750,000 of funding was secured from the Cabinet Office’s Invest to Modernise Fund to enable the Service to improve its race and diversity training and a new Prison Service Order on the conduct of external recruitment was issued, containing guidance to managers on reducing the risk of racial discrimination.
6 The programme has also gained strong support from unions indicating some form of unison between management and unions which has to be positive from an HRM perspective. The Prison Service has also set national targets for the composition of minority ethnic staff in its workforce.The national target is analysed for operational and non-operational staff. From April 2001 the Service has incorporated the national target to ensure that minority ethnic staff constitute 4. 1% of the Service workforce by April 2002, as one of the thirteen national key performance indicators and targets which help gauge the performance of the Service. From a management perspective the Service need to ensure that its Equality and Diversity policies are properly implemented and understood if it is to meet this target.If it does not, does this indicate a failure in the policies or stubbornness in attitudes and beliefs that, generically, are not easily changed by issuing instructions on paper to promulgate changes? In order to support its new RESPOND Programme the Service organised a number of regional forums with the aim of making the operation of prisons and the treatment of minority ethnic prisoners more transparent to minority ethnic community groups and to help Prison Service managers increase their minority ethnic community contacts.
Additionally the forums also allowed the discussion of issues that effect minority ethnic prisoners, communities and staff, so as to raise awareness of these issues amongst Prison Service managers. The events were also used to raise awareness amongst these minority groups of the opportunities that exist for their greater participation in delivering prison services. Furthermore, structured questionnaires were piloted in 2001 and the results were collated and analysed centrally to identify whether racism, or other factors, are causing staff to leave the Service and to what extent.Interviews are then arranged to give minority ethnic staff an opportunity to make suggestions as to how the Service might further improve the working conditions for those who wish to remain.
A national minority ethnic staff support network called RESPECT (Race Equality for Staff) was formed during the year also and already it has over 1,500 members whose aim is to eliminate racism in the workplace.Free phone telephone support lines are provided by specially trained volunteers from the membership base to support victims of racism. Already this essay has highlighted a number of changes implemented by the Service on the recommendation of the Home Office but it is also interesting to note that most of these changes have been implemented, not two or three years ago, but only during the past year.Whilst it is generally recognised that the Police Force has undergone severe investigation initiated by the McPherson report as a result of the brutal killing of a young black male, similarly the prison service is not without incidence of extreme racist violence within its structures. The murder of Zahid Muabek whilst in custody at HMYOI Feltham resulted in an investigation into the Service by the CRE, which is limited to events occurring between 1998 and November 2000 in certain establishments of Her Majesty’s Prisons.7 However the report will be about the whole Service, which publicly welcomes the experience as a learning opportunity.
Her majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP) also raised a number of aspects of HMP Brixton but the report concluded that the establishment was institutionally racist with over 80 recommendations made for changes. Arguably it appears that these events were the catalysts in bringing about these desperate changes that the Service hopes will salvage its damaged reputation, inside and outside the walls that incarcerate so many.In order to demonstrate that the Service provided by staff and related agencies is professional, our Prisons need to be able to enforce the punishments awarded by our courts of law and change the habits and attitudes of those inside its walls, to prevent them from reoffending, by first applying the law within its confines. Surely if prison officers and staff display some form of respect for the law then there is hope, if nothing else, that inmates may eventually develop at least a better understanding of it.If staff and prison officers can demonstrate respect for the law then the chances are that they come to respect each other regardless of colour, creed or gender. Only when Service staffs fully understand the concept that inmates have already received punishment for their crimes, and need not be individually punished because they are different in some way. Further unjustified punishment can only serve to fuel anger and resentment between races in place of the development of self-respect and self-esteem that will go some way in fostering more positive reasons for living life without crime and violence.
Individual Prison establishments have policies relating to their immediate environment also in addition to generic policies that have been adapted to best suit the needs of the regional prison. The Northern Ireland prison service for example has the following policies in place to support the British Services’ development of equality and diversity. It has incorporated its support to equality and diversity by highlighting issues in its core values thus making equality and diversity a part of its culture.