Saturday, December 1, 2012

Injustice 2 - The Thakrar Story


HMP Frankland – Kevan Thakrar, racist brutality, and the prison's response

It is rare that I write a blog about an individual prisoner. Whilst inside, any urge to do so was tempered by a rule prohibiting me from identifying either prisoners or staff. Now I have no such restrictions.

But I will talk about Kevan Thakrar. Keen readers will Google the name and find that he is a prisoner, and like all prisoners has been convicted of a fairly horrible crime. I don’t defend this.

But I would hope that his alleged antecedents do not excuse the staff at HMP Frankland’s Segregation Unit (the Block) from running a campaign of racist brutality that left Thakrar in fear of his life. His own unwillingness to be cowed was only made worse – in the eyes of screws – when he attempted to highlight the situation with his MP and the media, and defending his fellow prisoners.

And so the day came when a group of staff charged his door to inflict another beating. Thakrar defended himself rather too well on this occasion and stabbed three staff. He was promptly charged with attempted murder.

And Thakrar was acquitted of all charges. The all white, non criminal jury accepted his evidence of acting out of self-defence. As could be expected, the local media was hijacked by the prison governor and prison officers to portray this as an outrage. The brutality in Frankland has still not been investigated, the jury be damned.

Never willing to accept defeat, the prison service promptly dumped Thakrar in the deepest hole it could find, the Close Supervision Centre at HMP Woodhill – a dungeon within a dungeon. Their excuse for this act is the very crime Thakrar has been acquitted of.

Here is Thakrar’s own account:

"Following my unanimous Not Guilty verdict at Newcastle Crown Court for attempted murder x 2 and GBH section 18 x 3 against Frankland prison staff, by a jury of 12 white British members of the general public, I have been hearing a lot about how this was due to me suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Although it is correct to say that due to the serious gang attack I sustained whilst on remand at HMP Woodhill on 31 May 2008 that I do indeed have PTSD, the reason why I am innocent of any assault on Frankland prison staff is because I acted in self-defence.

Had I not defended myself, I would have suffered life-threatening injuries in a pre-planned racist attack. Staff at Frankland had taken exception to the assistance I was providing to victims of assault by staff in the segregation unit and decided my time was up.  How dare I report staff criminality to the police!

The actual tipping point came when I wrote to Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods.  I asked for her assistance in putting a stop to the racial attacks by staff and culture of criminality which was being covered up by a code of silence.  The help Roberta Blackman-Woods MP gave me was to send a copy of my letter to the governor of Frankland (thank you!) who then had enough.

Unfortunately I was still almost killed after I defended myself.  The Durham police have attempted to cover this up and I am yet to see any of the media report these real facts.

The Prison Service, which feels embarrassed by this whole situation, has kept me locked away in the isolation unit of the Close Supervision Centre at HMP Woodhill.  For two years now, the psychological warfare has included stopping all communications to friends and family through mail and phone, and non-stop aggression.  I am an innocent man, wrongly imprisoned in the first place, and proven to be innocent of the false allegations made by corrupt prison staff – am I really worth £250,000 of taxpayers’ money?

I am sure everyone can understand my safety in prison from corrupt, criminal prison staff is now much harder to ensure. It must be difficult for Prison Service management to find a safe location for me to progress through my wrongful sentence, so I wait with anticipation to see where they will move this innocent man to.

It is a sorry state of affairs made worse by the pathetic lies coming from the corrupt prison officers’ camp in order to increase the possibility of compensation.  Surely the time has come for the oppressors to give up with their unjust acts and recognise that the 12 members of the jury saw the truth.  The time has come to move on and learn from mistakes made on all sides; attempts to spin more lies, half-truths and misrepresentations to cover up the racist, sadistic nature of the Prison Service institution help no-one.

The jury were unanimous: I acted in lawful self-defence using reasonable threat against the threat posed.  The way forward is to seek to eliminate that threat so no other prisoners have to experience the torture and no innocent bystanders get burned by the fire which the corrupt staff continue to fuel.  A ‘rehabilitation revolution’ can never occur until an independent body is tasked with rooting out these problems and is paid for every corrupt official exposed.

Kevan Thakrar, Saturday 18th February 2012”

There are those – perhaps many – who sincerely believe that what is done in prisons is done with consideration and in a proper humane manner. I cannot criticise those who live in ignorance – even if it is wilful.

But the situation at Frankland has been known throughout the prison system for years, and exists in the face of all official regulation and the various watchdogs. Power corrupts; and the prison system is the essence of State power.

All  can ever do is drag some of these events into the light. Ignorance can no longer be an excuse for indifference.

42 comments:

  1. well if he didn't go around murdering people X 3 then he wouldn't have the problems would he?
    What's his race by the way?

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    1. Are you saying that his original crime excuses staff from their racist brutality? Interesting....

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  2. How helpful..... Face the facts; he was acquitted- the jury accepted his defence... He never denied attacking the staff.

    C-A

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  3. The fact that he had something to stab the prison staff with suggests a degree of premiditation, so I fail to understand how he can claim self-defence.

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    1. if you saw what kevans face and body was like, ud see it was self defence.
      hes been beaten up loads of times.

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  4. It was a sauce bottle (now banned in prisons), a weapon of opportunity not premeditation.

    And you miss my point. Regardless of Thakrar's original crimes, in this instance he was acquitted by a jury because they were persuaded he and others were subject to a brutal and racist regime.

    That is the crime here. Unless anyone thinks that State servants should be allowed to brutalise prisoners at will?

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  5. Ben, truly harrowing. The national media should have been all over this - that a prisoner was rightfully allowed to stab three officers in the eyes of the law is incredible, and should have caused a storm of condemnation of the prison in question.

    Anonymous @ 11:40, farmers often have guns in their houses, and have been known to use them for self-defence too, especially if they repeatedly have their homes broken into. Self-defence can be pre-meditated and still legitimate - it's different from "heat of the moment."

    For the other trolls, let's look at it another way. A white, British, working class man living in a small flat in central London has a gang of violent, aggressive, racist black men living around him. Repeatedly, they smash his windows, break in and beat him and intimidate him and his other neighbours. He writes to the police, who don't do anything. He writes to his MP, who sends his letter on to his landlord who posts it in a public place for the gang to see. Knowing what's coming, he gets ready for the next attack and hospitalises a few of them.

    I think I can see which side of the argument the trolls here would be on in that story. However, that was quite a long sentence, and a bit more complicated than rhyming the words "crime" and "time," so maybe they'll struggle to get through it before they are paralysed by one of their fits of monosyllabic, spiteful hate.

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    1. @ Andy S....
      Your analogy is flawed; you can't substitute Mr Thakrar for some ordinary guy trying to live an ordinary life who is being harassed by his neighbours..,
      The facts are that he is an extraordinarily dangerous prisoner who is unable or unwilling to comply with and / or function within a normal prison regime and thus lands up serving his sentence on segregation units.
      That's the daily grind that those block screws have to face up to, prisoners with very little to lose, totally unwilling to cooperate with procedures or routines, and pretty willing or eager to use gross violence to achieve whatever they want... Could you do that every day??
      Moving on from this one case, my problem with the assertions within this particular thread that Frankland, Wandsworth, Dartmoor etc are "brutal" is that those making these statements are only putting one side of the story..
      Frankland for example has a population of 880 yet there are only 15 cells in the block.. Therefore at any one time 98% of its population are just getting on with it and doing their time, the 2% who are apparently being brutalised are only on the block because their behaviour has led them to it .... That's why the analogy with a "normal" victim of harassment or violence is wrong ....

      Innervision

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    2. Inner Vision, you portray cons in the Block as a pack of snarling beast just waiting to attack staff - and that is complete crap. The Block will be filled with a mix of those on protection, those serving punishments for offences ranging from refusing an order to work up to murder, a couple on Administrative Segregation...etc, etc. This is why such assaults on staff are so bloody rare.

      There is only one side to this story. Thakrar was in prison as punishment for his crime. He and others were subjected to a regime of racist brutality and fought back - and his actions found to be reasonable by a jury.

      It doesn't matter why he was in the Block. Staff brutality was and is illegal and that you are trying to justify it is why Thakrar felt he had no other option to defend himself in the first place.

      Condemn staff brutality, or sling yer hook. You certainally are not the type of screw that should be in any prison.

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    3. What an offensive, bile filled, response.
      Please take the time to re-read my post; I do not and have not condoned staff brutality, what I did say was that Andy S's analogy was not a reasonable one.
      Astonishing that whenever anyone posts a comment that disagrees with you regardless of whether its mindless trolling or a reasoned point if view you jump down their throat and scream at them calling them screws ...
      Maybe this blog could be re-titled .... How about "Axes to grind? Bring them here!!!"

      Inner vision

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    4. Your response was essentially a justification for staff brutality, characterising cons in Blocks as rabid and the staff as put upon.

      Condemn staff brutality or, as I said, sling yer hook. I have nothing to debate with anyone who fails to decry staff brutality - and if you think that issue is up for debate then you are clearly in need of a new moral compass.

      So step up. Condemn it, or not?

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    5. Gladly.... I condemn all brutality in prison regardless of the perpetrator- staff, prisoner, prisoners family-- condemn it all...

      Do you?? Or do you wish to insert some codicil that says sometimes its justified??

      Innervision

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    6. Oh dear, if you knew anything at all about my work for the last few decades then you'd know its all non-violence for me, unequivocally. But then you haven't bothered to learn....ho hum.

      Took your time getting there, though, didn't you? Now have fun and entertain yourselves, I have work to do.

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    7. Truly breathtaking arrogance....
      In the land if the blind the one eyed man is king... You're no longer in that land, so probably have less reason to be supercilious and condescending in your responses, lets hope you reach that conclusion soon too eh?

      Inner vision

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    8. Typical screw response, anything less than absolute grovelling characterised as arrogance etc. Get over yourself. I have.

      Now to work.

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    9. I can't see how your clear and unbridled hatred of prison officers is compatible with working with or for the Howard League... Your default mode seems to be to dismiss any view that doesn't match your own as worthless and 'typical of a screw'
      You clearly haven't managed to get over many many things, let alone get over yourself.... How on earth do you expect to be able to bring anything other than a woefully one sided view of things to any debate?

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    10. just when did I display "clear and unbridled hatred of prison officers"? Please point it out to the rest of us. That I disagree is hardly news but like a typical screw you just had to take it too far...

      And perhaps my view is valued precisely because it is a "cons perspective"? That wouldn't occur to you, because in the crews moral universe nothing a con ever says is worth squat.

      Luckily, your view isn't the one determining my income. hose going to pay you for your perspective and analysis...?

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    11. Enlighten us all Ben ....

      What is a 'typical screw' like then??

      Inner vision

      PS.... Do you realise how very like a 'typical con' you really are?? Take away the degrees, strip away the uber ego, and what's left?

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    12. Yeah, strip away all that makes me an untypical con and then I will be a typical one...

      Thinking like that is what sums up a "typical screw"!

      For the fuller flavour, though, try prisonofficer.org.uk

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    13. But, of course, if you strip away a man's differences, every man is the same.

      It is the fact that, despite his incarceration, Ben went through his degrees, and gained an ego of any type that marks him out as not typical.

      But as to a Typical screw... it depends on whether you think a screws job is to lock doors, or to make changes.

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    14. The job requires the ability to do both Fenrir;
      Locking doors is the easy part...

      Inner vision

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    15. Ben....
      If you review this thread you will see that I joined it with a post disagreeing with Andy S's analogy..
      No more, no less... I also pointed out that some prisoners in some blocks are extremely challenging. Surely I have the right to disagree with the analogy in the first place, and the right to state a truth about some prisoners dont i?
      however; its seems that in doing so all i have done is incense you: what is it about counter-argument that you don't like? And why is your default response to counter-argument one of aggressive dismissal of the other view???
      Innervision

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    16. Disagree all you like and, unlike the screws blog, won't ban you.

      Typical screw - that I brush away your trite words is labelled "aggressive". Read the dictionary. It doesn't say that "aggression" is defined by not being obsequious to prison staff.

      Crappy labelling like that by staff in Reports cost people years. For shame on you.

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    17. @Inner Vision While I don't disagree with you, I cite two different officers who I dealt with.

      One was a screw: "Why do you do this job, Guv?" - "Banging doors of the dangerous fuckers in this jail gives me a sense of achievement"

      One was an officer: "When you get out, don't even fart in the wrong place - too many people want to see you back. Here's a list of useful contacts in Northampton - make a network and show your probation you are doing so"

      And he was from Durham... And he still banged me up according to the rulebook.

      Locking doors is the easy part, but it's that part that has the most negative effect. I always appreciated the staff who took a moment to check all was OK before bangup, then closed the iron door as if it the entrance to a child's bedroom. And I respected those officers, because they realised that the punishment was the door, not the attitude of those with the keys.

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    18. Ben...
      Semantics again.... Nothing that I said was trite, nor did you brush it away in a manner that wasn't aggressive. However, if you want to sit hairs I will accept that perhaps aggressive us an inappropriate label to attach to you.... How about overweening?? That seems to fit like a glove ...

      Innervision

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    19. Semantics are rather important.

      Are you ever going to address the substance of any blogpost? Or merely continue to take pokes at myself and the blog?

      Because while I try to engage with anyone, to be frank you are now plain boring, snide, and I just can't be bothered. I daresay you will live with it.

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    20. Oooooh, it looks like you looked up overweening in the dictionary and didn't like what you recognised .

      Delete
    21. I have just stumbled on this blog and i must say that you sir are a misguided, ill educated and brutal minded cunt of a human being.
      top yourself, go on- you so full of hate that it must have crossed your mind already.
      cunt.

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    22. typical screw= small minded, ill educated, tons of repressed anger, massive control issues, oedipus complex, racist, bullying, self righteous, aggressive, uncompromising, unreasonable, quick to temper, vengeful, paranoid, fearful of intelligence, power hungry AND vindictive -TO BE FRANK MOST OF THEM WERE DOWNRIGHT STUPID TO THE POINT OF SOME SORT OF ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
      It seemed like they were still stuck in the mindset of violent, disadvantaged 12 yr old boys with all the character traits to match.
      - i only spent three months in nick for having a run in with a copper who showed exactly the same attributes- but as an educated and soulful human being i had little trouble getting on with the prisoners at all, but knowing my rights and voicing them got me some hellish stick and vicious beatings from the screws.
      There were a couple of officers who, in the company of their colleagues, shone like angels!
      beacons of humane behaviour in fact who handed out considered advice mostly regarding their totally bonkers and deranged colleagues and handed out advice akin to the words one would use to assist someone in dealing with a pack of violent and rabid dogs- dont make any sudden moves and pretend you are as dumb as they are so they dont feel threatened quite so much,
      This contrast only showed how downright evil and insane most of the screws were to everybody- especially if you happened to be brown.

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    23. To quote innervision
      "You're no longer in that land, so probably have less reason to be supercilious and condescending in your responses,LETS HOPE YOU REACH THAT CONCLUSION SOON THEN EH?"
      oh the irony...

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  6. It a shame/scandal that politicians don't get as animated/outraged regarding cases such as Kevin Thaker, as they do, the prisoner vote!

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  7. I would love to spend an hour chatting with Kevin. What kind of a moral code must he have were it is Ok to murder men women and children but not to make racists comments?

    He reminds me of Winston Churchill, 'when you are about to kill someone it costs nothing to be polite'

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    1. And what is your morality which allows you to overlook the crux of this tale - brutality by prison staff?

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    2. Kevan was a victim of mutiple hearsay and joint enterprise he is innocent and a good guy he is wrongly accused of the crimes he did not commit. So the racially agravated abuse he suffers in prison by the staff is not lawful in anyway and he was simple acting in self defence. In no way should he be tortured mentally and physically by staff he is a good guy just wrongly accused! !

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  8. And what is your morality which allows you to overlook the crux of this tale - brutality by a triple murder?

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    1. That's not the crux of this tale. That's the crux of a different tale - one which ended in the perpetrator serving multiple life sentences in jail. In the eyes of the law, and society, justice has been served. Individuals may or may not agree with that, but there is a reason that we have a consistent, established system to set the penalties for crimes: it's an attempt to get around the problem of he-who-fights monsters, to penalise wrongdoing without descending into it ourselves. Neither you, nor I, nor groups of random prison guards have the right to amend the sentence handed down by the court, not even if you think he deserves it (and to heap abuse on top of imprisonment *is* altering the penalty given by the court.)

      In relation to the comment earlier in the thread: idle curiosity aside, I don't see how Kevan Thakrar's moral system, whatever it may be, has anything to do with this. I don't live by his moral system, I live by mine, and in my moral system, racism and unnecessary violence cannot be justified by saying "but other stuff is worse!" Murder is wrong...but that don't believe that gives me the right to commit further wrongs, and I believe the same principle applies to prison staff.

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  9. Brutality is nothing new in prison and promotion of racially motivated acts is a well recorded fact in our jails and mental hospitals. I watched the Birmingham six being very badly beaten and abused. The Hull riots highlighted systematic violence. HMP Armley carried out some serious damage to individuals. HMP Dartmoor was very brutal. Oh, the list very long. The real point is that violence is not acceptable at any level in our society and those that use violence must be brought to justice and thus putting and end.Imprisonment is a punishment but to brutalise further with illegal violence is a crime under our law NO MATTER WHERE IT TAKES PLACE.
    Inscribed in granite on HMP Dartmoor is "those who enter, abandon all hope". We like to think that we have moved on from there. Churchill said we measure the "civilization of society by the way it treats it's prisoners". May the Good Lord keep us giving hope to make whatever little difference we can to bring an end to injustice and brutality.
    prem

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  10. kevan Thakrar is supported by JENGbA and maintaining his innocents. He was convicted using the lazy law of joint enterprise in which the burden of proof is virtually non existent. I believe Kevan was convicted on multiple hearsay evidence. Shocking to think any of us could end up like Kev don't you think. Not kill anyone. Get life and then be brutalised by the very system you cannot complain about because either no one will believe you or they will say it serves you right. Catch 22 no way out. A living death. Kevans story is an important one and controversial because he is classed as a murderer but he was convicted using an equally controversial legal principle that has no threshold test and has hundreds of convicted people claiming to be miscarriages because it is being abused. Miscarriages that are being recognised by academics and legal professionals, due to the type of flimsy evidence used to convict. b
    But not being recognised by the courts coz a legal principle is more important than a human life. It is political and politicians don't like backing down or admitting there is a serious problem in our justice system.This is a stain on British Justice and a human rights issue ready to explode. www.jointenterprise.co for more info and look for Kevan amongst the faces of the wrongfully convicted xxx

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  11. Well said. But of course, all (good) points overlooked/ignored by the dog screws queuing up outside his cell to give him a good bashing. Unusually, this time, they came unstuck/second! Oh well....

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