Is abuse in UK prisons a surprise when we have open racists like this as guards?

So I happened to be reading a satirical news story claiming that all immigrants are going to be given £8500 upon entry to the UK. Most commenters on the story were well aware of the satire aspect, but a few were fooled … including this one:

Okaaay … fair enough for not agreeing with this ‘policy’ if you think it’s true, even though I’m generally sympathetic to plight of immigrants (and especially refugees) I wouldn’t support giving everyone £8500 either. I’d think it really had to be a joke. Which it is. But regardless of your particular view on immigration policy, to wish people death en masse just for trying to make a better life for themselves seems deplorably over the top.

Of course it makes perfect sense that someone with such a view would be an English Defence Leauge (EDL) supporter. Out of curiosity and perhaps boredom I clicked on Lisa Lawton’s name to find out little more about an individual who thinks like this. I don’t know anyone like her and I guess I have a morbid interest in having the occasional peek into a horrible mind.

It turns out she’s a prison guard. And a racist. She describes herself as both a foot soldier and a commander in the EDL. And on her single finger salute profile picture, she says “That’s for the fucking muzies”. She’s signed and advertised a petition asking David Cameron to Remove all Muslim Terrorist from UK — which if you get past the illiteracy seems to be asking for the removal of Muslims in general. She supports various other right wing nationalist groups, such as the vile This Is Our England.

Right, so what then? We know that there are plenty of her type about, many of which spout their views on social media. Why pick on her? The reason is that she’s a prison officer and therefore a public servant. This gives us an insight into the mind of a prison officer and therefore the reasons behind the why prisoner are treated the way they are. Are we really to believe someone like this switches off her hatred as soon as she puts her uniform on & treats Muslim prisoners the same as all others? Or does she use her position of power to put a boot in a face whenever she has the opportunity?

Conveniently, Lisa’s facebook page links us to her place of employment, HM Prison Leeds (otherwise known as Armley Prison), which has faced racism controversies in recent years. It never occurred to me that prisons could be reviewed on facebook, but clearly they can and there are some indicating all is still not right at Lisa’s place of work.

I can’t claim to know anything about how Lisa conducts herself in her professional life. However it’s difficult to imagine that the human rights of those in her custody come near the top of her agenda, especially the rights of inmates that are Muslim or generally not white British.

There is also the question of whether Lisa is even legally eligible to work at this job. One of the three conditions to apply for a job at HM Prison Service is that the applicant must “not be a member of a group or organisation that HMPS considers to have racist philosophy, aims, principles or policies”.

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