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Prison staff “refused to display” Stonewall posters for young offenders

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  1. Can you imagine a situation where the Prison authority will have to display every single poster sent to them? Please be realistic!

    1. Prison staff are not employed run their own private fiefdom. They are part of a larger criminal justice system – one that must be accountable to an adequate human rights standard.

    2. David Mcmillan 20 Dec 2011, 10:53am

      Did you get a grown-up to help you write that comment? No..didn’t think so.

    3. ok, if they get 10 posters then i can understand if only one or two get displayed but not to display even one? please pull the other one

    4. Another Hannah 20 Dec 2011, 12:14pm

      A law enforcement organisation that doesn’t obey the law (and so is run by criminals!)? That would be the UK. It says eveything about you you thicko that you think criminality is OK as long as it’s by prison staff.

      1. Nameo Obum 20 Dec 2011, 1:30pm

        Another Hannah, With that sort of temper and foul mouth, you need to come and visit us in Nigeria.

        1. Why would anyone sane/civilised want to visit nigeria?

    5. Miguel Sanchez 20 Dec 2011, 7:17pm

      You obviously aren’t gay or even give a damn about us so I hope this is the last reply you make to a serious issue.

      1. No I don’t give a dam about you, not when your whining all the time, about hard done by you all are, maybe if all homosexuals stopped bleating and playing the homophobia card all the time someone says something against them, or disagrees with them, they might get a better deal.

        1. and your point in saying this on a gay website is …?

          or your point in being on a gay website …?

          or your point in breathing …?

          1. Why is Neal replying to a comment back at some tosser called Nameo Obum as if it were the same person as himself?

            Could it be they are the same person who forgot to change their name? What a surprise. The desperate acts of the powerless.

    6. “Please be realistic!”

      LOL! Yes, you’re bigoted idiotic comments on the Jamaica Thread are such a paragon or realism, aren’t they? Shut up your twat.

  2. Christine Beckett 20 Dec 2011, 10:46am

    This does not surprise me.

    My own experience of prison officers, at a recent court case, was that most were very conservative, close-minded and resistant to change.

    The older ones were scornful of new initiatives, and especially scornful of new colleagues who attempted to bring more modern views and ideas onto their landings.

    That’s why problem prisons rarely get better when the governor is changed. The problem is rarely the governor. It’s the senior prison officers, and if you don’t change them, the bad attitude remains.


    1. An entrenched culture of contempt… Not to say that being prison staff is an easy job, or that it have no potential to try one’s patience. But prisons are places of rehabilitation, and must be held to a high standard of human rights. Prisons fail their rehabilitative purpose when they only serve to further dehumanise inmates, such that they are far more likely to be criminal after release than before.

    2. Another Hannah 20 Dec 2011, 12:16pm

      Privatise the prison system. Anywhere else they’d just be out of a job for this kind of behaviour. Tail wagging dog, etc, etc……..

      1. Spanner1960 20 Dec 2011, 3:36pm

        They already tried it just for transporting prisoners. Securior / Group 4 managed to lose scores of inmates just going from A to B, so would you seriously want them to look after an entire prison?

        1. @Spanner1960

          I remember a case in the north east of England where someone had been arrested in Durham City and detained to appear at the magistrates court in Chester le Street (8-9 miles away). G4S arrived to do the transport and the documentation said they were going to Chester Magistrates (as the court is locally known). However, G4S transported them 150 miles to Chester, Cheshire (without checking given that long distance transfers are unusual). It hit all the local papers … worrying

    3. The law enforcement people are mostly Christians who have been told not to promote the homosexual agenda by their Church. These people are part of the problem where LGBT people are treated badly by these people. Because of their job they can not openly discriminate but they have other hidden ways they do it. In this case they have openly come out an shown that they discriminate and this needs to be exposed, thanks to Pink News for doing it. I hope this matter goes to court and exposes the anti gay people who are behind this. We will be watching.

      1. law enforcement is mainly Christians?

        Far from my experience …

  3. Helen Wilson 20 Dec 2011, 10:53am

    In most employment contracts it says any other duties as required in the job description. Staff refusing to work in this capacity should face disciplinary action. If staff fail to implement programs for LGBT inmates it means the prison service are failing in the public sector duty under the equality act. Lets hope the equalities office step in and threaten prosecution for non compliance. BTW happy birthday equalities minister Lynne Featherstone :)

    1. Hear, hear! great comment, totally agree with you Helen.

  4. Perhaps this is not motivated by homophobia though (although it probably is).

    Were they allowed to display ANY posters, or were the Stonewall posters the only banned ones?

    Seeing as Stonewall is headed by Ben Summersill – who does not believe that LGBT people deserve legal equality – then I am not sure that Stonewall is an appropriate organisation to advertise in prison.

    However I suspect the reason the posters were banned is motivated by homophobia (and not because of Summerskill and Stonewall’s serious legitimacy problems).

    1. To be fair the Prison inspectorate did not demand Stonewall posters be displayed – merely that positive indications of same sex relationships be displayed … that did not mean Stonewall posters, other posters could have been acceptable …

      This isnt about a campaign against Stonewall – its about a culture of homophobia

    2. Another Hannah 20 Dec 2011, 12:18pm

      what a load of old cxap david. you are what’s called twisted by normal standards I’m afraid.

      1. Thanks for the feedback Hannah – your care worker speaks very highly of you also.

        And I know full well that this is not a campaign against Stonewall. I am merely highlighting the fact that a poster by an organisation which is opposed to LGBT equality should not be used under any circumstances when trying to deal with homophobia.

        I am not being contrioversial when I state that while Ben Summerskill remains as head of Stonewall; and while Stonewall remains so secretive about their agenda-setting and who they are answerable to; then they lack all legitimacy when it comes to LGBT rights.

        They have the power to restore some legitiimacy by sacking Summerskill and becoming more transparent. They choose not to. So they can deal with the consequences.

      2. Nameo Obum 20 Dec 2011, 1:34pm

        As I said, foul-mouthed Another Hannah needs a quick lesson in humility and it is only in Nigeria she can get it.

        1. What? the “humility” of a corrective rape or stoning , that nigeria revels in.

    3. This is a serious issue. What a pathetic comment.

  5. Good greif it’s prison. It would be foolish to come out in that enviroment and posters may encourage a naive kid to make a big mistake.

    1. My best mate is a prison officer in a maximum security prison and there are a significant minority of out gay inmates.

      Whilst it would be wrong to suggest that prison is a great environment to be (whether gay or not), homophobia is wrong – wherever it is, and that includes prison …

      One of the purposes of prison is to attempt to rehabilitate and encourage inmates to play a constructive role in society on their release (its difficult to imagine how they can fully do this if they are in turmoil over who they are) …

      1. And just who are they going to come out to?

        1. Maybe they were out before they went in !!!

          You would also encourage women not to go out (or maybe wear some form of head to toe garment) so as not to encourage rapists ?

          Prison may not be the most supportive environment to be out but some people are and they deserve to be treated humanely.

          1. ok for those who are out but a questioning man would be better off finding a less hostile enviroment. Sort out the culture with training then the posters

    2. David Myers 22 Dec 2011, 7:38am

      The naive kid that you are so worried about is likely the most likely victim of homophobia and rape in the whole prision system(regardless of his sexuality). To deny gay prisoners any support or hope is worse than useless. Nothing will change until change is instituted. Staff members who oppose or refuse to support such policy change should be disciplined and if that doesn’t change their behavior, they should be fired!

  6. I am concerned how they say “scheme” they piloted to find out one’s sexual preference…I’d be curious about what that scheme is….sounds like they are arranging “alternative” therapy for anyone who does acknowledge their sexuality as you can see they do not follow reccommendations, this is disturbing

  7. Christine Beckett 20 Dec 2011, 11:09am

    I’d say the attitude that came across was close to that held by the Met’s coppers in the ‘seventies.

    The senior officers I questioned had a hard-nosed tough guy image, displaying a very obvious contempt for the prisoners, along with a sneering disregard for “PC” rules that protected their dignity and welfare.

    It was an eye-opener.

    The Prison Service really needs to move into the 21st century.

    1. It’s a prison do you expect the officers to be touchy feely? If so I expect you to sign up and start the process of change frrom the inside

      1. Prison is supposed to promote reintegration into society. That includes making inmates ready to go back into society – meaning they should be aware of the need to respect each other – and that can (in part) be achieved by establishing a culture of equality and respect in prison.

        The prison service have been clear in developing approaches to protect racial equality and religious freedom – it is not beyond the realms of imagination to achieve protection for LGBT people too.

        Of course, prison often needs to be a robust environment. That includes challenging and confronting unacceptable behaviour – not creating a culture that tolerates and accepts inequality and discrimination (from staff or inmates)

        1. Wrong

          Society is supposed to intergrate people prisons are a sign that society is failing. You do not wait until jail to teach people how to behave

          1. @James!

            If society was successful at it then (in part) prisons would not be necessary …

            As it is prisons are needed because people commit ofences, and we want them not to when they come out of prison. That means (as well as lots of other issues) prisons need to ensure people integrate and participate in society, as far as possible ..

        2. Spanner1960 20 Dec 2011, 3:40pm

          Prison serves three functions:

          1. Punishment.
          2. Segregation from society.
          3. Rehabilitation.

          Forget the other two at yours, and societies, peril.
          The problem is our law enforcement is crap, our courts are weak and our prisons are too few and not tough enough.

      2. Putting a few posters up as suggested is hardly regarded as being ‘touchy feely’, James May I suggest that if they can’t or won’t carry out various parts of their job as directed then, just as in other occupations, they should be sacked. Its a few bits of blutac and 5 minutes for Gods sake, no touchy feely counselling knowledge required.

        1. Shane

          Why do stonewall think that prisons are the place to address sexuality. surely this should be done befroe incarceration. Prisons are tough places not the best place to get someone to open up. And who would they tell? the anti gay prison guards?

          1. @James!

            Lets not let prison demonise gay people though …

          2. How about this scenario James:

            A man goes to prison for a homophobic hate crime and is sent to prison, supposedly for rehabiltation, however whilst there his homophobia is reinforced and increased by the toxic homophobic environment inside. What do you think will happen when he is released?

          3. James!

            I don’t know what Stonewall think about the use of their posters in prison … it seems they were suggested as an option by the Prison Inspectorate (presumable having seen them elsewhere). It does not seem that it was Stonewall that made the suggestion

          4. I don’t think that there should be any areas where
            bullying should be allowed. Once again, its a POSTER not a 12 week course in political correctness or outting yourself.

      3. Christine Beckett 20 Dec 2011, 3:34pm

        I expect them to uphold decent standards of human behaviour, and obey the rules and laws laid down for them.

        That’s not being “touchy feely”. That’s just being professional.


    2. I agree with Christine.

      I’d also like to add that just because it’s a prison doesn’t mean that the inmates are all animals. They are still human and should be afforded basic human rights regarding food, sleep and sexual preferences.

      We all make mistakes and some of us have been inside. It’s not a pleasant experience but a good prison officer makes all the difference.

      Thankfully, that’s changing – slowly but surely from what I know.

      1. Just being realistic. Why encourge youngsters to come out in that enviroment. A few silly posters will not change a culture the kids have to put their safety first and not massage the ego of some idiot in stonewall marketing department ticking boxes for more funding. I can image the meeting” we have to make an impact in prisons I know wkets do some posters

        1. The prison inspectorate asked the prison to create a culture that raised a positive profile of same sex relationships – they did not demand specific posters.

          1. FFS

            Prison is not the place for a first intorduction to same sex relationships. How is that so difficult to understand. It’s negative reinforcement

        2. We can translate your question to say why should a youngster come out at school? Or why should they come out at home when they’re teens?

          The answer is they shouldn’t – unless THEY feel ready. I doubt that anyone in their right mind would come out in prison to be honest. Most of us have enough common sense not to put ourselves in danger through choice.

          However, you’re missing what this article is about. It’s not about encouraging or forcing people to come out in a prison. It’s about placing posters around the prison in an attempt to try and moderate and gradually change the negative perceptions regarding being gay. Again, no-one is forcing individuals to come out in a dnegerous environment.

          1. Dont be willflly ignorant. You go to prison for breaking the law it is not the same as a schooling enviroment.

          2. I’m not being willfully ignorant in the slightest. What I am trying to point out is that people do not need to come out anywhere until they are ready.

            Placing a few posters up will not coerce others into coming out, not will it force them too. The last time I checked posters didn’t have the ability to point at people and out them.

            Posters will however serve the purpose they’re designed to. To provide information and to gradually try and get a message across.

            I honestly don’t understand how one can equate a few posters providing advice and information with coming out.

            In addition, as I mentioned above – the vast majority of us will not come out in a homophobic and locked down environment and willfully place ourselves in danger. Why would we?

        3. Spanner1960 20 Dec 2011, 3:42pm

          I totally agree. If I went inside I would sure as hell keep my trap shut about my sexuality, and certainly if I was 15-20 years old.

  8. Another Hannah 20 Dec 2011, 12:13pm

    A law enforcement organisation that doesn’t obey the law (and so is run by criminals!)? That would be the UK. Have they thought about what this says to criminals? It says you can ignore the law as long as your powerful enough and your views are bigoted. How can anybody be expected to respect such a legal system?

    1. Its a rehabilitation service, not a law enforcement one.

      1. Another Hannah 20 Dec 2011, 3:39pm

        It’s the prison service and few people would deny that prisons are part of the enforcement of the law – it’s where they put people when they need to enforce the law.

      2. Spanner1960 20 Dec 2011, 3:42pm

        Bollocks. It is neither: It is a punishment.

    2. Another Hannah 20 Dec 2011, 3:41pm

      It’s the prison service and few people would deny that prisons are part of the enforcement of the law – it’s where they put people when they need to enforce the law. Rehabilitation is a less important function than law enforcement – or else they wouldn’t be locked up!!!!!

  9. Like many stories, it is difficult to come to conclusions without possessing all the facts.

    My take is that gay prisoners have every right to be protected as any other minority group.

    If displaying these posters help does this then I would think they should be displayed.

    1. @JohnB

      I was wondering if you would agree to stonewall sending you some LGBT equality posters to display in your church?

  10. Monty Crisco 20 Dec 2011, 12:28pm

    What about putting some tough lesbians in with the young male offenders?

    1. Wouldn’t that be a cruel and unusual punishment? :)

  11. They just don’t get it. The posters are partly for the benefit of gay inmates, sure, but that’s not all they’re for. They benefit the straight inmates too, by helping to foster a culture of tolerance and respect for sexual minorities. The problem is not a reticence to come out, it’s the prevalence of homophobic attitudes, mostly among straight people who don’t know any better. In my opinion it’s the straight inmates who need this most, not the gay ones.

  12. Perhaps readers might benefit from reading about situational homosexuality and in particular it’s role in underpinning homophobia.

    Absolutely, in my opinion, positive images should be reinforced wherever possible but in a closed prison environment I would prefer that condoms and lube be on tap to help people stay as healthy as possible.

    1. Its a prison, your there to do time not shag every inmate there is!

  13. These dreadfully blunt, insensitive posters are incendiary and provocative to those with homophobic urges. Whoever decided they would be a good idea plastered all over the tube and young offenders’ institutions needs to be in the dole queue. No wonder homophobic attacks have been on the increase since these posters started appearing. It is almost an open invitation for thugs with pea-sized brains to go “gay bashing”.

    1. You’re wrong.

      Firstly, anyone who is homophobic and looking for a fight doesn’t need any excuse. They’ll attack! You can’t blame increased visiblity of posters and information for the rise in homophobic attacks.

      Secondly, why should literature and information concerning the LGBT community NOT be displayed in public? Why should we not have anything on display in order to pander towards some outdated concept that we’re wrong.

      We’re not in the wrong, people with bigoted, homophobic and hateful attitudes are and there is no way on god’s green earth I will keep myself and anything relating to me hidden.

      1. You may think differently if you were in prison living in fear.

        1. That fear is going to be tackled incredibly well by failing to foster a culture that supports LGBT people

        2. Spanner1960 20 Dec 2011, 3:43pm

          Well maybe they might think twice next time about reoffending then.

          1. And what about their impact on the rest of society when released?

          2. Spanner1960 21 Dec 2011, 2:01pm

            Stu: With any luck, they will be so sh|t-scared of being banged up again they might actually do what the rest of decent society does and toe the line.

        3. How do you know I’ve not been inside? How do you know what it is like?

          I agree, I would keep my mouth shut but if anyone on the street tries to tell me that I’m in the wrong because I’m more visible…well that’s there issue – not mine.

          Also, I’m not frightened. I know that as an out gay man there is plenty of danger. But then I don’t put myself in the firing line and am streetwise enough to know where not to go and what not to do.

          However, that does not mean that I will hide my identity and I do not live my life in fear or others prejudices. I’m made of far stronger stuff than that as I’m sure as are many of the good men and women contributing to this thread.

          Your argument smacks of a fair degree of homophobia as it argues that information concerning us should be something to fear or hated. Please clarify that is your stance.

    2. “These dreadfully blunt, insensitive posters are incendiary and provocative to those with homophobic urges.”

      You mean homophobic like you Samuel?

      You’re proof that the biggest bigoted tossers out there are semi-closet basket cases like you.

    3. Such hypocrisy from you Samuel, when it comes to subjects that do not directly affect you then your view is to make education campaigns, posters etc as hard hitting and stigmatising as possible.

      As I have noted many times you have double standards and make statements that are in the main against mainstream opinion. Good to see your comment has been negatively received.

  14. I have refused to display this posters in my support group, The Poster should be restricted or edited, as its bullying people into them accepting a type of people, or lifestyle that they may not want to.

    Some people are gay, so what!?

    1. No one said it had to be that specific poster …

    2. Another Hannah 20 Dec 2011, 3:46pm

      You are breaking the law if you discriminate like this. Though I can see that stupidity would be a good defence in your case. Groups that support victimisation and hate campaigns should and will be banned eventually.

      1. Hannah, your clearly too sensitive, he is not breaking the law, hes making his own choice, which is what everyone should be able to do, men do it when they decide to be homosexual as women do when they decide to become lesbians

        If homosexuals have the right to take over our streets to embarrass themselves and further more make people dislike them, then people have the right to say their point, offend, ridicule, and more.

        Oh and I wouldn’t display that poster either.

        1. ‘men do it when they decide to be homosexual’
          can you tell me when you chose to be straight…that must have been a memorable day?

        2. Spanner1960 21 Dec 2011, 2:03pm

          @Neal: You don’t even have to take to the streets to embarrass yourself. You are doing a grand job just doing it here on the Internet.

  15. Miguel Sanchez 20 Dec 2011, 7:19pm

    I’d love to know where the staff get off at calling gay inmates girls or ladies? Maybe their attitude would change if the prison was sued.

    1. I don’t think you can sue a prison, and you certainly should not be allowed to, if you go to prison,for a crime, you should lose all rights and credibility.

      1. @Neal

        Unusually I am going to agree with one of your points.

        Firstly though I will correct an inaccuracy, it is possible to sue prisons (and happens relatively frequently).

        I don’t believe prisoners should be able to sue. Sure, there should be a process where prisoners can raise concerns eg that they arent receiving appropriate food, are being bullied, arent receiving appropriate medical care etc – and that process should have independent review. To a large extent that process does exist and issues will be either refuted, accepted or remedied. Prisoners should not be able to profit (ie compensation from suing from being in prison though).

        Prison isnt about losing ALL rights – there is a right to shelter, warmth, health care etc but it is certainly a place where rights are significantly (and rightly) restricted.

        However, there are two issues that I would raise that I perceive you may disagree with. Firstly, bullying is not acceptable anywhere – including prison. Secondly, ..

        1. … if prison has a role in rehabilitation (and the government say that it has) then we need to encourage prisoners and give them a reason to be constructive contributors to society – we don’t achieve that by bullying them.

          1. Spanner1960 21 Dec 2011, 2:07pm

            I agree with this to a certain degree, but let’s get a perspective on this: they are not there to be mollycoddled. It is a prison, and one reason they are there is to be punished. They should have basic human rights as you say, but no more. Considering the state of most of the world’s prisons, our people are in hotels by comparison.

          2. @Spanner1960

            I think we probably agree on this particular issue more than we disagree.

            I think that we need to ensure basic human rights are homoured for prisoners. That does mean they are able to raise legitimate concerns eg about bullying, food etc and that these can be dealt with. It does not mean they can profit from being in prison by being awarded compensation.

            There are prison estates in other countries that are less onerous than that in the UK eg New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Japan … but undoubtedly there are aspects of the UK system that make it preferable to other nations eg Brazil, US, China, Russia etc

            I don’t think the presence of posters (or indeed the absence) improves the rights of prisoners or staff or changes their punishment. The presence could lead to a culture which impacts on individual prisoners and society on their release.

  16. Another Hannah 20 Dec 2011, 7:59pm

    The worst part of this is that they are allowed to continue like this, and that basically there is no respect for the law which says every person must be treated with respect. Not even by the governments employees. Other problems are dealt with yesterday, but this one is just allowed to continue. Who is the present minister responsible?

  17. Spanner1960 21 Dec 2011, 2:13pm

    Her Majesty’s Prison Service is a part of the National Offender Management Service. That would be covered by the Secretary of State for Justice – The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP

    1. David Myers 22 Dec 2011, 7:40am

      I suggest all English citizens write letters to him, demanding accountability of the Prison employees!

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