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The BBC's Bob Sinkinson
"Panorama discovered... there was still a culture of depression, bullying, self-harm and hanging"
 real 56k

Sunday, 11 March, 2001, 04:28 GMT
Governor fears more cell deaths
Feltham Young Offenders Institution
Feltham's governor says staff often lack details about inmates' backgrounds
The governor of a young offenders institution in London where an Asian inmate was murdered last year says similar attacks could happen again.

Zahid Mubarek, 19, was killed by his cellmate, 20-year-old Robert Stewart, who had a history of racist and violent behaviour. He was sentenced to life for the March 2000 killing.

Nick Pascoe, governor of Feltham young offenders institute, has told BBC One's Panorama programme that his staff often lack information about inmates' backgrounds and the crimes they have committed.

The Panorama programme, which is broadcast on Sunday night, has discovered that inmates are still entering the prison with no reference to the crime they have committed.

These could range from persistent shoplifting to violent crime.

Zahid Murerek
Zahid Murerek: Killed by Feltham cellmate
An official report into the killing of Zahid Mubarek said he should not have been sharing a cell with Robert Stewart.

Asked if a similar incident to the Mubarek murder could happen again, Mr Pascoe said: "There is always a possibility that might happen again. I cannot say that will never happen again."

Prison Service director Martin Narey told Panorama: "We need to do a much better job of distilling the information we have available, there was no excuse for putting Robert Stewart in a cell with anybody. We failed appallingly."

Mr Pascoe told the BBC programme: "I witnessed a warrant [document which arrives with each new prisoner] come in a few weeks ago where all that was written on the warrant was that he was convicted of 'crime'."

When asked whose responsibility it was to supply this information, he said: "I think there are a number of agencies involved in that and we're at the end of the chain."


I cannot say that will never happen again

Nick Pascoe
The Panorama programme reveals that Zahid Mubarek's killer wrote racist comments in a letter which was noted by the prison, but neither Stewart or his increasingly violent letters home were monitored.

The programme says that both prisoners had a personal officer who did not read the warnings or files on Stewart.

The internal inquiry into the Mubarek murder did not question her.

Mr Narey defends the decision not to question that officer and says the personal officer scheme was not fully operational at the time of the Mubarek incident.

He told Panorama: "The personal officer scheme was not working in other than a nominal sense. Now that is not any individual's fault."

Panorama: Boys behind Bars is broadcast on 11 March at 2215GMT on BBC One.

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