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NCJ Number: 192434 Find in a Library
Title: Comment on Racial Discrimination in Prisons in England and Wales
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:25  Issue:1, 2  Dated:Spring/Fall 2001  Pages:199-214
Author(s): Wing H. Chui
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper systematically revisits some of the evidence regarding racial discrimination against ethnic minority groups in prisons in England and Wales.
Abstract: The first section of the paper discusses definitions of racism. For the purpose of this study, the terms "black" and "ethnic minorities" are used interchangeably to denote all nonwhite members of minority groups, without marking the differences in experience for females and males. Racial discrimination is viewed as direct and indirect. Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favorably than others on racial grounds or any other ascribed characteristic. Indirect discrimination occurs when a rule or procedure appears to be fair, but in practice puts people from a certain ethnic group at a much greater disadvantage than others, unless there is justification for the rule. The apparent disparity in rates of imprisonment by ethnic origins was not sufficient to determine that racism existed in prisons in England and Wales. The second section of this paper provides a more detailed discussion of incidents of racism in prison. Evidence for discrimination can be obtained by exploring inmates' perceptions of the treatment received and racist attitudes of prison officers. According to Smith (1994), Black Caribbeans were less likely to report that prison officers and prison governors had treated them well, compared with whites in the National Prison Survey. Nearly three out of five Blacks, almost half of Asians, and one-third of whites viewed prison staff as racist. Racism can manifest itself in inmate disciplinary decisions, the allocation of resources to inmates, and in parole decision making. The Prison Service has undertaken measures to promote racial equality since 1981. Progress, however, is slow and inconsistent. In order to ensure that policies are put into practice, commitment is required from the top management, and more personnel resources are needed. Training directed at changing racist attitudes among prison staff is essential, and this requires the targeting of training resources for this purpose. Basic training requires reinforcement either through follow-up training or supervisory support. Other recommendations are to establish an effective complaint mechanism for reporting discrimination and to evaluate the effectiveness of various means used to eradicate discrimination in prison programs and decision making. 81 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Correctional Personnel Training; Corrections in foreign countries; England; Inmate staff relations; Minority overrepresentation; Prison management; Racial discrimination; Staff development training; Wales
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