How are UK prisons progressing with equalities?

Zahid Mubarek Trust has developed a success criteria that shows good practice, with information based on the most recent Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons reports. The data presented is sourced from the Ethnicity, Diversity and Faith section on the reports (under Respect).

As a charity who works to reduce racial inequality in prison, this table has a particular focus of Ethnicity and Religion and doesn’t necessarily account for experiences of inmates with other protected characteristics, such as disabilities.

We decided to use a red/amber/green system so that the table was simple but descriptive:

Red | Not meeting goal at all

Amber | Needs improvement

Green | Successful in this area

If an area is not covered in the HMIP report, the cell is left blank.

Equality in prisons


  • Protected Charasteristics

    There are 10 characteristics protected by the 2010 Equalities act. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

  • Chaplaincy

    Chaplaincy refers to the prisons Chaplain, a religious fig43 ure who provides support to the inmates.

  • Forums

    A Protected characteristic forum is an opportunity for inmates, who have a particular characteristic, to meet up, usually with prisoner representatives and staff, to discuss there needs and connect.

  • Prisoner equality representatives

    A prisoner equality representative is a prisoner (usually one per wing) who is assigned to take any questions or grievances about equalities, advise on the complaints procedures, and report back to management.

  • Discrimination incident reporting forms (DIRFS)

    Discrimination incident forms were introduced in 2011, as a direct way for inmates and staff to report incidents of discrimination.

  • Equalities action plan

    An equalities action plan is a plan produced by management in the prison, to improve equality processes and make every prisoner feel safe and respected.

  • HMIP Survey

    When Her Majesty’s inspectorate for prisons undertakes prison inspections, they also get prisoners and staff to fill in survey’s, as a method of collecting a lot of data and understanding experiences first hand.

HMP SwanseaHMP WhattonHMP WymotHMP ErlestokeHMP HewellHMP PrestonHMP Whitemoor
BAME population based on HMIP report12.3%12%25%50%
Does the prison have...
Strategic oversight of equalities
Effective data management which monitors progress and protected characteristics?yellowyellowredredredyellowred
An equalities action plan that leads to change that is monitored?yellowyellowred
Effective and well attended equalities meetings?yellowredyellowyellowyellow
Effective engagement with prisoners
Protected characteristic forums with good attendance from inmates and staff?yellowyellowgreenyellowyellow
Celebration of different cultural events, in order to raise awareness and acceptance?red
Effective prisoner equality representatives who are listened to by staff?green
External community representatives provide strategic advice and support to
Discrimination incident reporting forms
How many DIRFs were there during the reporting period?
Good awareness of the DIRF process throughout inmates and staff?yellowred
Appropriate and timely responses to DIRFs?redgreenredred
Effective scrutiny of DIRFs by a community organisation?greenred
Effective operational resources?
A senior member of staff whose role is ring fenced for equalities, such as an Equalities manager?redredgreen
A team of staff who help to manage equalities?yellow
Adequate resources to meet inmates religious needs?
An effective Chaplaincy that provides support for different faiths present in the prison?greengreengreengreengreengreengreen
Adequate resources to meet the needs of Foreign nationals and/or Non English speakers?
Adequate resources for non-English speakers?redyellowred
Adequate help for foreign nationals, such as immigration surgeries, or immigration officials visiting?red
HMIP Survey results
HMIP survey results that show no differential treatment of inmates with protected characteristics?redredgreenredred
HMIP survey results that show the majority of prisoners feel safe and respected, with no disparity between prisoners with or without protected characteristics?redredredred
COVID19 and equalities
Awareness of how COVID19 could impact inmates with protected characteristics and action taken to minimise this?yellowgreenred

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