Report reveals tensions between jail staff and Muslim prisoners

A Prison Service report has expressed concern about problems with the high number of Muslim inmates at one of Britain's high-security jails.

A review of Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire found staff were fearful of doing the wrong thing, "shifting the power dynamic towards prisoners".

The Howard League for Penal Reform said the report was "extremely disturbing".

The report, written by the Prison Service's Directorate of High Security, was obtained by the Howard League under the Freedom of Information Act.

It found staff at Whitemoor Prison near March, Cambridgeshire, "appeared reluctant to challenge inappropriate behaviour, in particular among black and minority ethnic prisoners, for fear of doing the wrong thing".

The report said there was an "ongoing theme of fear and instability" around the prison and many staff believed a "serious incident" was imminent.

It said the "very high Muslim population" - more than one in four of the 500 inmates - appeared to be "leading to anxiety and apprehension among some staff".

Jail staff 'fear Muslim inmates' (BBC News, 25 May 2008)