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Nick Moss

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Comment: Racism and Custody Deaths in the U.K.: The Zahid Mubarek Inquiry

On March 21, 2000, Zahid Mubarek was attacked and fatally injured by his cellmate, Robert Stewart, at Young Offenders Institution Feltham, UK, which is managed by Her Majesty’s Prison Service southwest of London. It was immediately apparent that Zahid’s murder was the consequence of an unprovoked attack by a known racist. An internal inquiry was held. This appeared to satisfy the government’s concerns regarding accountability within a state institution. Zahid’s family embarked on a protracted campaign and legal battle to force a full, independent, and government-backed public inquiry into the institutional circumstances surrounding Zahid’s murder. Prisons continue to warehouse the most vulnerable members of the working class; they contain them, neglect them, and lock them away for up to 23 hours each day in overcrowded wings. Such conditions are brutalizing–accentuating preexisting mental ill health–and are potentially lethal. The Zahid Mubarek inquiry provides some insight into these conditions and their fatal consequences.

Zahid Mubarek, deaths in detention, prison

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 4 (2006): 142-150