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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 02:40 GMT 03:40 UK
Feltham 'failed by management'
Feltham Young Offenders Institution
Feltham has been criticised for "overt racism"
Prison officers at Feltham young offenders' institution say they are being failed by senior management.

The troubled west London jail has come under strong criticism since the murder of an Asian prisoner by his white cellmate last year.

After an investigation into the death of 19-year-old Zahid Mubarek, the head of the prison service, Martin Narey, said some staff promoted "overtly racist behaviour".

But his remarks have been attacked as "insulting" by a committee member of the local branch of the Prison Officers' Association.

Writing in the association's newsletter, the committee member said blame for problems at Feltham lay with the top of the prison service.

'Worrying'

"Senior management is failing us as we continue to endure abuse, assaults, violence and death," he writes.

Zahid Mubarek
Zahid Mubarek: Killed hours before his release
In response, Mr Narey said the comments showed a worrying reluctance to face up to the enormity of the prison service's failure over the death of Mr Mubarek.

An inquiry was launched after the teenager was beaten to death by his cellmate Robert Stewart, 20, just hours before he was due to be released in March last year.

Stewart, who had a history of violence and racist behaviour, was subsequently jailed for life.

An internal investigation found there was "evidence that racism exists at Feltham, both overtly and by more subtle methods".

At the time of the report Mr Narey said: "There's a minority of staff at Feltham who are overtly racist and who would like to undermine what we are trying to do."

  • A report into the suicide of a teenager at a Feltham is to be sent to the Home Office, a coroner announced on Wednesday.

    Kevin Henson, 17, was found hanged from a bed sheet attached to a pipe in his cell in September last year, on the morning after he had been refused bail to visit his mother's grave.

    An inquest into the death had raised serious concerns over the "dissemination of information" at the young offenders' institution, coroner Alison Thompson said.

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