Guards told not to yell at prisoners or refer to them only by surnames

Guards are told not to yell at prisoners or refer to them only by their surnames as it doesn’t show the requisite respect

  • An official report into HMP Winchester condemned the treatment by screws
  • The study suggested that guards should show more respect to prisoners
  • Despite the watchdog’s criticisms, the majority of inmates – 57 per cent – believed prison staff did treat them respectfully

He was the archetypal no-nonsense prison warden, exerting his authority over inmates by brusquely barking out orders.

But while Mr Mackay ruled the landings of HMP Slade with an iron rod in the 1970s sitcom Porridge, modern-day guards have been told not to shout at prisoners, lest they upset them.

An official report into HMP Winchester has condemned the way officers both yelled at offenders, even at close quarters, and referred to them only by their surnames, as it did not show the requisite respect.

An official report into HMP Winchester has condemned the way officers both yelled at offenders

The study, carried out by Charlie Taylor, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, said: ‘Staff continued to use surnames routinely when addressing prisoners. It was not uncommon to hear surnames bellowed from the ground floor to summon prisoners from around the wing.

‘Additionally, staff would unnecessarily yell “Exercise” and other orders at the top of their voices when in the vicinity of those they were addressing.

‘Not only was this unnecessary, but it also demonstrated a lack of insight into the impact of shouting on those who had suffered trauma in the past.’

The report added that it was ‘expected’ that prisoners should be ‘treated with respect by staff throughout their time in custody’.

Despite the watchdog’s criticisms, the majority of inmates – 57 per cent – believed prison staff did treat them respectfully.

The inspection, which also found ‘some examples of friendly and supportive interactions between staff and prisoners’, came five years after guards at the 700-capacity Hampshire jail were told to refer to inmates as ‘men’ rather than ‘prisoners or offenders’.

And it follows a briefing paper from HM Inspectorate of Prisons earlier this year which said officers could improve relations with female inmates by ‘not shouting’ at them and avoiding the use of ‘loudspeaker systems’ to call out their names.

Despite his disciplinarian streak, Mr Mackay, as played by Fulton Mackay in the BBC1 sitcom, was usually outwitted by wily inmate Fletcher, played by Ronnie Barker, and his cellmate Godber (Richard Beckinsale).

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