Lesbian prison officers claim sexual discrimination

A group of lesbian prison officers transferred from Holloway Prison after allegations that they ran a regime of sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation claimed they had been made scapegoats for a jail which had been failing for 50 years.


Claiming sexual discrimination at an employment tribunal in London, the group and two other female officers denied they were a clique which had intimidated young female staff to “turn” them, and treated male officers with contempt, according to the Guardian newspaper.


If the prison officers win their claim, they could be entitled to damages worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, the newspaper says.


The women were moved to prisons across the country after a five-month inquiry.


Martin Narey, the then director general of the Prison Service, said at the time, in March 2002: “There is clear evidence of sexual harassment – the sort of behaviour which we wouldn’t dream of tolerating between men and women. I am not tolerating it between women and women.”


Giving evidence yesterday, one of the claimants, a 32-year-old officer who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she learned from colleagues that reasons behind the inquiry into the culture were longstanding.


“It had been going on for 50 years, I am being made a scapegoat for the problems at HMP Holloway for the past 50 years,” she told the tribunal. The hearing is continuing.

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