A report [report, PDF] on discrimination and how it is handled in British prisons was published on Sunday, showing that only 1 out of 100 complaints of discrimination by prison guards are won by the prisoner. The report, which was written by the two rights organizations Prison Reform Trust [website] and Zahid Mubarak Trust [website], concludes that the system for handling complaints for discrimination is neither fair nor impartial, and does not have the confidence of prisoners. As opposed to the 1% success rate in cases accusing guards of discrimination, prison staff was successful in 76% percent of cases when accusing a prisoner of discrimination. The report attributes the lack of focus on avoiding discrimination to fewer officers in the prison and increasing violence. The report also finds that the burden of proof is too high on the prisoner, resulting in cases often being dismissed even though the prisoner did present some evidence of discrimination. The report is the first study of British prisons since the use of the discrimination incident reporting form (DIRF) started five years ago. The DIRF method was instituted [Guardian report] after a report criticized the system following the death of Zahid Mubarek, who was killed by his racist cellmate.
The treatment of prisoners has been widely criticized around the world. In March a report [JURIST report] detailed how prisons in Thailand did not live up to international standards. In January a report [JURIST report] in England and Wales showed that overcrowding and a cut in funding and staffing had led to a record number of prison deaths in 2016. In September 2012 a report [JURIST commentary] criticized the treatment of prisoners in Malawi and other African countries, claiming that many prisoners had been in prison for years without being in front of a judge.