Muslim inmates living in fear for their safety at high-security prison

Muslim prisoners, including some convicted terrorists, inside one of Britain’s biggest high security prisons feel so unsafe that they have sought sanctuary in the jail’s segregation unit for their own protection, the chief inspector of prisons discloses today. Anne Owers says that there have been serious incidents of “prisoner-on-prisoner” violence inside Frankland prison, near Durham, with black and ethnic minority inmates in general the target of attacks and Muslim prisoners in particular.

Owers says in her inspection report on the high security jail published today that some, but not all, of the Muslim inmates who have been attacked had been convicted of terrorism offences. Fourteen prisoners have been identified by the prison authorities as involved in racist activities, some for racially motivated offences and others with links to racist organisations. Owers also reports there has been a “serious incident” involving groups of black and ethnic minority prisoners and white prisoners.

Two high-profile terrorists, Dhiren Barot and Omar Khyam, were moved out of Frankland prison in March amid claims the jail had become “an extremely dangerous environment for ethnic minority prisoners”. Barot’s solicitor, Mudassar Arani, told the high court that boiling water and oil had been thrown over Barot last July and he had spent a week in hospital. The prison inspectors report that when they surveyed inmates about their treatment by staff the responses by black and ethnic minority prisoners were worse than those of white prisoners on a range of issues and they were also over-represented in all disciplinary procedures, including use of force, segregation and adjudications. Alan Travis reports.