Racist Full Sutton – a view from inside

HMP Full Sutton is a high security prison in East Yorkshire. In April 2013 the Chief Inspector of Prisons published its report into an unannounced inspection of the prison in December 2012. The report noted that: ‘the perceptions of black and minority ethnic prisoners and Muslim prisoners about many aspects of their treatment and conditions were much more negative than for white and non-Muslim prisoners. For example, significantly fewer told us staff treated them with respect and significantly more said they felt unsafe’.

Despite almost every black or Muslim prisoner who spoke to the inspectors telling them that Full Sutton is institutionally racist, their report is far more concerned that the prison address this ‘perception’ of racism, than actually do anything to tackle the racist attitudes and behaviour of prison staff. One of the three ‘Main concerns and recommendations’ of the report is described as:

‘Concern: Black and minority ethnic and Muslim prisoners reported much more negatively about their treatment and conditions across a range of indicators than white and non-Muslim prisoners.

Recommendation: The prison should take further action to understand and, if possible, improve black and minority ethnic and Muslim prisoners’ negative perceptions of their treatment and conditions.’

I am currently housed at Full Sutton and what I see is a prison with staff that are so racist and have been carrying out their work from a racist angle for so long that half of them think their actions are normal.

The staff all live locally in areas that are 99.5% white, and the prison is connected to everyone in some shape or form. The number one governor was a principal officer in this prison in the 1990s with dirt on his hands. Then you’ve got security staff who hate Muslims and are not shy to say so, and managers whose idea of resolving complaints is to send an attack-dog senior officer to threaten the complainant. These are the people who control Full Sutton and feed off each other in order to suppress the truth. Prisoners do not even bother to submit race complaints any more and for the most part are of the view that you would get more sense and justice if you were to have a conversation with the sheep and cows in the farms surrounding this prison than you do by talking to the staff inside the prison.

So, you’ve got a place with very few jobs to go around, without much hope, with people being stored up like a big warehouse for years on end, with no purpose or end goal, and the powers-that-be projecting one image for the prison, while the reality is a totally different thing.

SM, HMP Full Sutton

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 233 June/July 2013


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