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The Director of the CJA Comments on the experiences of adult Black men in prison and Black prison staff: embargoed thematic report

‘We welcome HMI Prisons’ thematic inspection focusing on the experience of Black men in the adult prison estate and Black prison staff and were grateful for the opportunity to be on the External Advisory Board. HMIP’s deeply concerning report unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, echos the findings of a survey of over 260 Black, Asian and minority ethnic women in prison which we published as a three-part report earlier this year, in partnership with the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB).

In that report women recounted shocking incidents of explicit racism, name-calling and bullying, along with their experiences of indirect discrimination and more insidious and subtle prejudices. We also saw the upsetting sense of fatalism that women had accepted their poor treatment and that it was unlikely to change – pointed out by inspectors in this report on Black men in prison as a coping strategy of ‘resignation’.

HMI Prisons propose creative solutions and pathways to improvement, ranging from fostering mutual understanding and promoting positive, trusting relationships to improving more formal equity structures and mechanisms to hold prison staff accountable. Given the findings of both reports, recommendations need to be implemented with urgency across the prison estate to improve Black men and women’s experiences and outcomes.’

Nina Champion, Director, Criminal Justice Alliance [Member of HMIP Thematic External Advisory Group]