CRE to probe claims of racism in prisons

The
Commission for Racial Equality has launched a formal investigation into racial
discrimination in the prison service after revelations that an employee at
Brixton prison was racially harassed.

Brixton is
one of three institutions that the CRE will scrutinise in its eight-month
investigation, after employment tribunals found evidence of institutional
racism at the prison.

The
tribunals upheld complaints made by prison officer Claude Johnson that
governors ignored complaints from employees of racial harassment (News, 7
November).

If the
investigation reveals evidence of unlawful racial discrimination, the CRE can
force the Prison Service to comply with a legally binding non-discrimination
Notice, requiring action to stop racially discriminating practices and
behaviour.

CRE chair
Grubby Singh said: "CRE Commissioners are deeply concerned at some
incidents of proven racial discrimination in the service. That is why we are
taking the exceptional step of launching a formal investigation."

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