Justice For Kevan Thakrar

Kev is suffering from a miscarriage of justice. He needs your help and support...

A full inquiry into violence by prison staff in segregation units is urgently needed

This article from: Prisoners’ Fightback – Issue 217  October/November 2010
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

I write with regards to the letters you’ve received about the abuse prisoners are subjected to by staff in segregation units. The inmates at HMP Frankland are not alone.  I’ve been attacked on a number of occasions over the last four and a half years.

Most recently on 18 March, I was attacked by staff at HMYOI Swinfen Hall’s segregation unit by three members of staff who decided to administer their own form of justice when they punched me in the face, used nose distraction techniques and pulled my arm off the bed threatening to break it. Despite all this being captured on CCTV which clearly shows the staff subject me to an unprovoked attack and contradicts their version of events I now find myself due to stand trial at Stafford Crown Court for two counts of ABH.  They claimed I was being threatening and abusive when in reality it was the staff being threatening and abusive.  I was verbally abused throughout the incident.

Then on 21 July I was again assaulted by staff, this time in HMYOI Reading seg unit.  My door was opened at around 7am and I was informed I would be going to HMP Woodhill in a few minutes.  I told the Senior Office I didn’t want to go. He then gave the other staff an order to restrain me.  I was then attacked by over six staff, punched in the face, poked in the eye and nose distraction techniques used.  I was pinned on the floor of the cell and placed in handcuffs.  I was then forcefully carried out of the cell.  One officer even grabbed me purposely by my genitals.  Once outside the cell I was once again pinned on the floor.  I was held like this for about two minutes, then carried outside to the van and pinned down for a third time for about five minutes whilst a second set of handcuffs were put on.  I was then carried on to the van and held down until I got to HMP Woodhill.  On arrival I had all my injuries noted by healthcare and I put in an application to see the Police Liaison Officer.   I’ve reported the assault but am yet to hear from Reading police and doubt I will without submitting a complaint.  Unfortunately staff believe and can get away with assaulting prisoners by covering it up, claiming they were assaulted very first.  Very rarely do the police take prisoners’ allegations seriously or investigate them and when they do it’s always the same outcome – no further action.

In October 2006 an operation was set up by Cambridgeshire police to investigate a large number of assaults by staff on prisoners in the segregation unit at HMP Whitemoor –  although I must say I do not know the outcome of the investigation and I’m trying to find out.  I’ve also heard of similar goings-on in the segregation unit at HMP Long Lartin where prisoners have reported being physically and racially abused.  I don’t agree with Colin Moses [Chair of Prison Officers Association] that prisons are being liberalised.  Far from it, in fact; however I do agree that there needs to be a proper investigation, not just of the events at HMP Frankland, but of all segregation units in the high security estate, to establish why there are so many assaults taking place – not a whitewash as Mr Moses suggests but a proper investigation by the Prison Service, the police and the prisoners’ representatives of their choice.

Let’s not be biased – prisoners can and have assaulted staff; however this is normally only after months of abuse, both physical and psychological.  Mr Moses needs to accept that his staff do assault prisoners out of sheer spite, boredom and on occasion for sexual gratification. After the events of 13 March 2010 [for which a prisoner faces charges of attacking staff at Frankland] Mr Moses said he’d like to see the Prison Service adopt a zero tolerance to violence.  What he doesn’t mention is the abuse that prisoner was subject to at HMP Frankland, and after at HMP Wakefield Close Supervision Centre (CSC) and now in HMP Woodhill’s CSC where staff continue to provoke him and subject him to a wide range of psychological abuse and torture.

In the 12 years the CSC system has been in operation it’s been proved it doesn’t work.  In many cases prisoners end up worse than they were before being selected for CSC.  These units are nothing but psychological torture chambers designed to mentally break not the most resilient or dangerous prisoners but prisoners the system has decided to make an example out of.  The CSC system is designed around humiliating and degrading treatment of prisoners and needs to be closed down.

Finally, I urge all your readers to keep challenging false allegations made by staff and stand up against the bullies who abuse their position of trust.

Ross Macpherson A6791AD, HMP Woodhill


  1. George Coombs says:

    Good to hear from Ross and from what’s been getting back
    to me yes, a full independent enquiry must be a priority -evil
    bastards they are

  2. sharon says:

    my son is at frankland he has been unable to barley walk because he was attacked by officers i do not know the full story but i know my son is at the moment in danger he should not be there as he is a burgaual low grade

    • admin says:

      Hi Sharon
      I am sorry to hear about the treatment your son has been receiving at Frankland. So many people believe what they hear on the news or in newspapers about prisoners having a cushy life while victims suffer. Only people like you or I who have loved ones in prison know what it is really like. Prison officers are viscious and more violent than the prisoners.

  3. sharon says:

    I belive i might not see my son again

  4. Rachel Begg says:

    I’m glad I happened to stumble upon this artical. My son was moved from Wetherby YOI almost 3 weeks ago. Upon his arrival at Swinfen Hall YOI, in less than 2 weeks he was assaulted by 2 prison officers and thrown into the segregation unit because he wasn’t quick enough to brush his teeth.He was badly bruised and sports a huge black eye. I’ve made a complaint to the Governor, Prison Chaplaincy and am making a formal complaint to the IMB (Independant Monitoring Board). The same officers had attacked 2 other children (18 years old) in the previous 2 weeks. This cannot continue. These are vulnerable children who don’t know the prison system and their rights.

    • admin says:

      This sort of thing happens all the time in prisons but no one is held to account. Prison officers do what they like. People die and no one is held accountable. you are right. This sort of thing should not be happening in 2013. Most people are blinkered and believe the kind of things that Chris Grayling is saying in the newspapers about prisoners living a life of luxury with xboxes and sky tv. It is only when you have a loved one in prison that you know what it is really like.
      make sure you put all your concerns in writing to the governor every time something is not right. Phone calls do not work because they will deny they have ever spoken to you. If you write they will have to reply. Make sure you send any mail recorded delivery so that they cant say they havent received your letter.

      As far as the IMB are concerned; they are not independant of the prison service. They should be, but are not. There is also a prrison liasson officer in the local police force who will say is completely independant of the prison but they work within the prison and are not independant. IMB and the Police are of the view that the word of an officer is of more value than a “criminal”.

      My son has been held in solitary confinement for 4 years because he fights against everything that is wrong with the prison system and makes it public.

      I hope your son will be home soon.

      Best wishes

    • dave says:

      I’m a prison officer, what a load of shit ,we get verbaly abuse day in day out ,prisoners might get restrained, and if they continue to be non compliant technique are used ,ask your self why are they in seg units ,9 times out of ten ,because they are a class A grade shit bag ,rest asure there’s two sides to a story and there watering down there version ,again there in prison for a reason , robbing some granny ,selling drugs etc ,wake up smell the coffee

      • admin says:

        These prisoners are in prison. That is their punishment. They are not there to be beaten and humiliated by prison officers. That is not your job role.
        If you treat someone with respect you will gain respect. Better for you in the long run. Dont forget there are more of them than you and in time there will be a breaking point to the cruelty you dish out. The way someone talks to you should make no difference if you are professional. Perhaps you have far too much testosterone from the steroids you pump to try to make yourself a real man. The fact that you use the term Grade A shit bag just proves you are in the wrong job. If i were you I would get out now while you can before you do something stupid and end up in there right beside them.

  5. j colly says:

    everybody must stand up and be counted more must be done to help the prisoners

  6. Maria Hepplestall says:

    On the 26th of June 2009 my Son was placed in the segregation unit of HMYOI Swinfen Hall, sadly my Son did not make it out alive , it is my belief that my Son was murdered and I am hopeful that one day the truth will prevail .

    • admin says:

      I am so sorry to hear about your son. The media make out that prisoners are living a life of luxury and so many people are convinced. Prison officers, like police officers seem to be above the law.

  7. shaun rudd says:

    i was in long lartin seg in 2006/07 i got my nose broke by the screws down there whilst been restrained and all they done was deny me the doctor/chaplain by telling them i was on dirty protest. i was down there when one of the lads stabbed the screw in the eye down there and although ya can’t condone it it happened because they denied him food all weekend the screws in long lartin get away with everything because its the main csc assessment block so no one does fuck all because the screws just go on about inmates been violent against them..in all the times I’ve seen screws assaulted i can honestly say they deserved what they got except one time in full sutton seg bottom line is unless the screws get made to wear camares they will continue doing what they do because the governors don’t give a shit about staff to inmate violence and id hazard a guess even if the do wear camares the footage would probs go missing if it didn’t show what they wanted it to

  8. lorraine says:

    My son was beaten up by 3 prison officers at woodhill,just before they moved him on,I have contacted woodhill about this and have asked for the photos that were taken of his injury so I could forward them on to a solicitor but was told I can’t have them,my son is young and I worry so much for his safety,

  9. Jason hepplestall says:

    There is a lot of assaults in all prisons on prisoners by staff and being a person who has spent 15years of my life behind a door I have had this happen to me on a lot of ooccasions and there is a boys brigade mentality with prison staff never to believe the prisoner this is also.the case with the outside adjudicator who is meant to be impartial in his decisions when you the prisoner is in segregation it is a disgrace and looks set never to change

  10. Lisa says:

    I have my son going there Tuesday and with all these stories I’m so scared for my son if this is happening why is nothing done about this and I would also like to know if this is a bad prison for my child who is vp and has no wing for this which I can’t understand why there’s no vp in this wing for these people who suffer mental health problems now I’m so worried for his welfare lots of concerns here to say the least which need to be a dress and very frightening as well

  11. David says:

    My son is at swinford hall segregation unit and has had 5 lots of bulling in less then a month 5 prisoners got into the cell to my son and stared rowing with him where were the guards to protect him and have done nothing he could of been hurt bad where is the justice today for your children and u complain about it I have lots of times and they have done nothing I have written to the governor who yet again never replies and the staff fail to protect there prisoners and let it happen I’m at my wits end with this prision and no one wants to help my son has mental health problems and the prision he is on is the wrong cat for him they should move a prision eat for there safely but they haven’t my son and if distress me s great deal since he been there is calls have only ever been about bullying and that he’d isolated And not happy please advice me on this a concern mother

    • admin says:

      The Governor must reply within 28 days. Please keep a copy of the letters you send andforward them with a detailed letter of your issues to
      Office address
      Clive House
      70 Petty France
      SW1H 9EX
      Main switchboard
      0300 047 6325
      and the prisons ombudsman

      Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, PO Box 70769, London SE1P 4XY
      Email (general & complaints): mail@ppo.gsi.gov.uk
      Email (fatal incidents): PPOFIIAdmin@ppo.gsi.gov.uk
      Fax: 020 7633 4141

      never give up it is what they expect

    • admin says:

      when writing to the governor please send it recorded delivery. the governor must respond within 28 days. keep a copy for your records.
      email or post a copy to your local MP with your concerns. Your son can appoint a solicitor to help using legal aid. you can get a free consultation
      from a solicitor if you need advice. they will need to know about prison law. your son can fill in complaints form within the prison and keep the replies and send
      them to the prisons ombudsman. he must stay strong.

    • admin says:

      Report every assault to the police local to the prison. Get a crime reference number. You are entitled to this. Dont let them fob you off.
      Contact Lochlinn Parker, ITN Solicitors,No.5 Stratford Ofice Village
      4 Romford Road
      E15 4EA

  12. katie says:

    my partner is currently being held at HMP Stocken he has be verbally abused and now physically abused by officers whilst in the segregation unit i have contacted the safer custody team on many occasions and have been told that everything is okay and its not how my partner is relaying to me i have contacted the independent monitoring board twice now as my partner is to honest and would out rightly say if he had done something and have had no luck in anyone getting back to from the imb. the last assault left my partner with a split lip and brusied check the officer involved has said that my partner was becoming aggressive so he was restrained when he actually punched him straight in the face and then got two other officers to restrain him whilst he carried on hitting him. what or who can i contact to have this dealt with properly i understand prisoners may have to be restrained at times but to be hit and kneed is outrages and to be left with injuries im really in despair as what i should do or who i can contact that will actually listen to me and take these incidents seriously … if anyone has any advice it would be so gratefully appreciated

    • admin says:

      I am sorry this has happened. The IMB will do nothing.You should contact the police and report the assault. Do this every time it happens. Get a crime reference number. The police will try to tell you it is not a police matter which they have done to me but be strong. You have a right to an incident number or crime reference number. Ask them to get the Prison Liasson officer to investigate.
      Contact Lochlinn Parker,ITN Solicitors, No.5 Stratford Office Village. 4 Romford Road, Stratford,London,E15 4EA

  13. Collerte says:

    Extremely concerned mother My son contacted me today from Swinfen hall prison he’s 23 yrs old told me that he was taken to the segregation unit for running out of his cell he was then restrained but kept getting free from there restraint due to this he was but down the block where 4 prison office entered is cell and beat him and sexually assaulted him I fear for my son safety but I will not let this go I’ve done the right thing I’ve reported it to the police I will do all what I can to make this stop not just for my son but all it as happened to and to prevent this keep happening to others I’m not saying all prison officer are bad but my son is no liar and as took a lot for him to tell me this I will not stop until these 4 have lost there job and I get justice for my son

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately these prison officers are not held accountable for their actions. If we all keep up the pressure on them we may make a difference for all loved ones. The problem is most people are scared to speak up for fear retribution.

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Miscarriage of Justice

The term miscarriage of justice carries with it the inference of accident but also of death. There is a pressing need to investigate in detail how it has come about that there has been a form of death in this case – the death of justice – and who shall be found responsible.

Joint Enterprise

Joint Enterprise is a charge used when prosecuting an individual proves difficult or impossible.


Contact Kevan

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
HMP Wakefield
5 Love Lane