Prison officers sent to 'BANTER workshops' so they don't offend lags
Prison officers are sent to woke ‘BANTER workshops’ so they don’t offend inmates after lags complain about offensive language and discrimination
- Bosses at HMP Moorland in South Yorkshire sent 16 staff to ‘banter workshop’
- Equality course set up after inmates made 51 offensive language complaints
- The staff discussed when ‘banter’ may be deemed offensive/discriminatory
- Source said you can’t ‘take the mick out of the football team someone supports’
Prison officers have been sent to ‘banter workshops’ with equality experts so they don’t offend inmates after lags made 51 offensive language complaints in a year.
Chiefs at 1,000-capacity prison HMP Moorland in South Yorkshire, sent 16 staff to the workshop as part of its equality and diversity programme.
A report out into the prison released this week by inspectors from the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) stated that the workshops were aimed at figuring out what kind of ‘banter’ was suitable.
Chiefs at 1,000-capacity prison HMP Moorland (pictured) in South Yorkshire, sent 16 staff to a ‘banter workshop’ as part of its equality and diversity programme
The report found stated that there had been 18 discrimination incident report forms (DIRFs) – official complaints to the governor about prejudice or discrimination – submitted by prisoners about staff in the past year.
There has also been 33 DIRFs submitted by prisoners complaining about other inmates using offensive or discriminatory language against them in the past year.
Prison bosses decided to organise ‘banter workshops’ to ensure prison staff didn’t inadvertently offend prisoners after the 51 complaints – just under one per week.
The report states: ‘There were 18 discrimination incident report forms (DIRFs) submitted about staff and 33 about prisoners within the reporting year.
‘Fourteen (of the complaints) were reviewed by the IMB, the majority of which complied with Moorland Prison’s DIRF guidance.’
Anti-bullying practitioner John Kahn said there are three kinds of banter which are as follows:
1) Friendly banter
- Harmless fun, with jokes not causing upset of any kind
- Protected characteristics are avoided when making funny comments to colleagues
- For example: ‘You’d look really cool with a mohawk!’
2) Ignorant banter
- When a comment hurts someone’s feelings without intention
- This usually happens because somebody wasn’t yet educated on a topic, and once they are, the situation is usually resolved with an apology
- For example, ‘I just love touching Sammy’s afro hair!’
3) Malicious banter
- When somebody makes a comment that knowingly humiliates and/or hurts the feelings of someone else
- This type of banter is really just bullying masquerading as a joke and is often done in a public setting
- For example: ‘This is James, our resident B***y Boy!’
The report added: ‘It was found that DIRFs received were investigated and responded to within a reasonable timeframe, and responses were polite and professional.
‘Concerns identified were raised with the equalities officer and, where appropriate, practice was addressed.’
It added: ‘Moorland Prison has online equality and diversity training for staff, with 49 staff completing this within the past year.
‘During the year, 16 staff attended ‘banter’ workshops, discussing when ‘banter’ may be deemed offensive/discriminatory.’
A prison source – who has worked in prisons across the UK for the past 15 years – said: ‘There are all sorts of initiatives and workshops these days to ensure prison officers don’t breach equality rules, but a banter workshop is a new one on me.’
He said any references to another prisoner’s ‘protected characteristics’, like sexual orientation, disability, age, weight, religion, weight or nationality would be outlawed.
He said: ‘You certainly can’t make any jokes about someone’s weight or nationality, and any reference to disability or religion is a complete no-no.
‘You can hardly even take the mick out of the football team someone supports.’
Experts in workplace law say banter can sometimes be ‘positive’ – and that it can ‘reduce stress and defuse tension’.
However, it only works when the people in which the banter is directed are ‘on the same wavelength’.
They say that anyone spreading jokes, rumours or excluding others in a ‘negative’ way is simply ‘bullying’.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: ‘This short training helps us keep staff so that we can rehabilitate more offenders and ultimately cut crime.’
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