Zahid investigation. In July 2001,the Mubarak family once again

Zahid Mubarek Inquiry report

The essay identifies and explores the premature death of Zahid Mubarek whilst
incarcerated at Feltham Young Offenders Institution in southwest London on the
21th March 2000 by his cellmate Robert Stewart, as well as the public inquiry report
that followed concerning the circumstances of Zahid’s death. Zahid Mubarek, aged
19 at the time of death, was serving a short term sentence of 90 days at Feltham
Young Offenders Institution ,for attempted theft of razor blades worth £6 (Dominic
Casciani 2006)as well as interfering with a motor vehicle(Dominic Casciani 2006).
This in itself caused an uproar within the public and many believed this was yet
another failure within the criminal justice system that resulted in the premature death
of Zahid Mubarek. In more detail,many raised the question as to why Zahid was
made to serve prison time for a crime that did not involve any form of violence or
aggression ,however the report does not raise or address this issue,as the inquiry
focuses heavily on the failures of the prison services rather than outside influences
within the criminal justice system such as the police force.Throughout the public
inquiry,as well as the initial investigation within the Feltham young offenders
institution as well as a separate police investigation, it was evident that Feltham
young offenders institution failed on numerous occasions to insure the health and
safety of Zahid Mubarek including failure to follow basic procedures that could have
prevented the events that followed,including disorganisation and miscommunication
well as failure to practice anti discriminatory practices within feltham prison. The
request for a public enquiry was made by Mubakerks family within the week of his
official death which was recorded as 28th March 2000,7 days after the attack(
Keith,2006 1.1) . This however was rejected due to already ongoing investigations
into the case,which was believed would be efficient in satisfying the need for another
investigation. In July 2001,the Mubarak family once again asked the minister for a
separate inquiry into the death of Zahid. The solicitor representing Mubarak stated
the family still have many questions that have remained unanswered,including how
the prison services allowed for Robert Stewart, an individual that frequently and
openly displayed discriminatory views,came to share cells with Zahid Mubarek. On
the 29th of April 2004 (Keith,20061.15), four years after the death of Zahid mubarek,
the home secretary announced that a public inquiry into the death of Zahid Mubarek
will be carried out. The inquiry shortly after came to be known as “The Zahid
Mubarek Inquiry” and was authored by Justice Brian Keith.

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Although Zahid’s criminal past is nowhere near as extensive as Robert Stewarts,he
did have frequent encounters with the law.In 1997, Zahid was charged with
possession of a firearm with the intent to cause fear of firearm in which he was
ordered to attend an attendance centre for 15 hours (Keith,2006 5.7).He was 15
when the offence was initially committed however he was 16 when he was
sentenced. According to the court report that followed after the offence Zahid

claimed that his brother,cousins as well as himself were subjected to racism
expressed by individuals that remained unnamed. Zahid claimed that these
individuals were themselves were armed and for this reasons chose to “arm” himself
for protection. In total Zahid carried 11 offences on his record,most of which were
believed to be a result of his drug dependence all of which occured within 10
months. On april 1999 Zahid was cautioned with two offences of handling stolen
goods (Keith,2006 5.7)and again on the 7th of july 1999 where he pleaded guilty to
shoplifting (Keith,2006 5.8). This offence wa committed whilst on bail for a similar
offence on 30th March 1999 (Keith,2006).While he continued to be on bail for three
separate offences awaiting sentencing Zahid committed further offences two of
which were for interfering with a motor vehicle and another two for going equipped
for the purpose of theft. These offences were committed around the 25th September
1999 (Keith,2006 5.9) Whilst committing these offences Zahid was ordered to attend
appointments and meet members of the community drugs team as well as other
agencies in the hopes to reduce the chances of him returning to the life of crime
however on multiple occasion Zahid did not attend at all or was not punctual. The
court adjourned on multiple occasions to assess his suitability for community
sentence rather than imprisonment in the hopes to effectively rehabilitate Zahid. On
the 17th of January 2000 (Keith,2006) the court adjourned one last time and
concluded that Zahid was no longer fit for community sentencing due to repetition of
crimes committed most of which while he was still on bail,making a custodial
sentence inevitable. In this case,similarly to most cases in the UK,community
sentencing did not work as an effective from of detterenance and therefore the court
had to configure another form of punishment,which in this case, was imprisonment.

The author of the inquiry introduces the report with stating that one of the primary
focuses of the inquiry will be how Zahid Mubarek came to be sharing cells with
Robert Stewart, a known racist. This is said to be why the Mubarek family “rejected”
the other reports/investigations,as they were not informed as to how and why the
institution allowed a known racists to share a cell with Zahid. The attack on Zahid
occurred during the night in which Zahid was just a few hours away from release.
Robert Killed Zahid using a table leg and “battered” Zahid continuously. Stewart
then proceeded to pull the alarm in which guards found Zahid near death and
immediately moved robert to an isolated unit. Zahid was dead within 7 days of the
attack. The police investigation as well as the prisons own investigation launched
almost immediately.The initial investigations aimed to find whether the institution was
to blame,which required numerous amounts of evidence gathering. After finding that
the institution was in part to blame , caused more push for an inquiry to be taken as it
was the right to not only Mubarek’s family but Zahid himself.

Robert had an extremely challenging upbringing .From the young age of 13 he was
excluded from school for an arson incident,although he was not criminally convicted

for this the police was involved in this incident. After this event a consultant
psychiatrist evaluated Stewart and concluded that the teeneger dispalyed signs of
multi-personality disorder however no further action was taken. His relationship with
his parents was difficult to uncover however negligence and abuse was suspected.
When Stewart arrived at Feltham he had already acquired 18 convictions for 70
offences (Keith,2006). Stewart was serving 175 days for vehicle offences and during
his initial imprisonment in Swallow Prison, raised multiple red flags within the
prisons. There were multiple occasions in which Stewarts mental health should
have,but subsequently wasn’t, questioned and action should have been taken. For
instance there multiple incidence in which Stewart made multiple suicide attempts
from swallowing screws to setting his own clothes on fire.On June 23 1998 (Keith
2006) Maurice travis,a friend and fellow inmate ,stabbed another inmate to death
although Stewart was not charged for the offence,authorities heavily believed he
played a part .These incidents were filed however very little action was taken to
counteract this behaviour, which the Zahid Mubarek inquiry identified throughout the
report. This is one of the multiple failings on behalf of the prison services in which
more precautions should have been taken ,not only to insure the safety of the
prisoners themselves but and any threat to members of staff and other prisoners.
Moreover in 1999 (Dominic Casciani News 2006) ,whilst still imprisoned it was
documented that Steward was making considerable improvement,although
precautions were taken and it’s senior officer at the time ,named James Farrell,
(Keith,2006)suggested that a mental health nurse speak to Stewart in which the
nurse revealed that Stewart was in fact a “psychopath” and displayed numerous
psychotic tendencies ( Dominic Casciani 2006). It was also concluded that Steward
had in fact multiple personality disorder.No practical action was taken although the
disorder cannot necessarily be medically treated,after this was noted no further
action was taken despite being a clear potential danger to himself and others around
him. In further detail, despite the apparent uncertainty of the stability of Stewarts
mental health on the 8th of February 2000 ,Stewart was transferred from the prison
in manchester to Feltham Young Offenders Institution where he would share a cell
with Zahid Mubarek.

The report also highlighted that around Stewarts arrival there were numerous strains
on the the institution (Feltham Young Offenders Institution) and was facing numerous
issues including over population of inmates as well as being understaffed and
therefore having to overwork members of staff at Feltham young offenders
institution.The report even stated that officers on duty were “crisis managing”
(Keith,2006) which resulted in low morale and is one the highlighting factors that
resulted in the death of Zahid.In the inquiry it is made apparent that Feltham
reputation has always be viewed as troubling (Keith,2006 3.11) . In 1996 the prison
was viewed to be “in trouble” by the inspector of prisons and a second visit in 1998
(Keith,2006) saw little improvement and it was evident that criticisms addressed

were not acknowledged and the appropriate action was not taken. This makes it
apparent that negligent practices occurred even prior to the death of Zahid Mubarek
within Feltham prison. This led the inquiry to not only focus on frontline staff at
Feltham (members of staff that made direct contact with Zahid Mubarek or Robert
Stewart) or were directly in charge of them but also the seniors that were in charge
of the frontline staff. The inquiry stated that it is the responsibility of all staff in
Feltham to insure the health and safety of its inmates and staff. The seniors who
were in charge of these officers had the responsibility to enforce Feltham policy and
insure that the correct practices were carried out. The inquiry acknowledges that in
1998 Feltham was not in the position to make enough changed in order to improve
and therefore it was unrealistic that feltham would have been able to make the
necessary changes before 2000. However the inquiry stated that negliciant practices
by front line officers is simply inexcusable and cannot be blamed on factors such as
prison overpopulation but rather the officers morale . In more words, during the many
interviews that were conducted during the inquiry it was evident that numerous
officers at Feltham as well as inmates,recognised Stewart as displaying “strange
behaviour” such as talking to the wall and remaining and isolating himself from the
rest of the prison population. Had an officer taken further action and taking these
factors into serious consideration could have prevented the death of Zahid.Therefore
the inquiry held multiple officers as well as superior accountable as well as stating
that multiple individuals should be held accountable as multiple failures to recognise
stewart as a threat to himself and others.

Keith states that one of the primary focuses of the inquiry will be how Zahid
Mubarek came to be sharing cells with Robert Stewart, a known racist. This is said to
be why the Mubarek family “rejected” the initial police investigation as well as the
investigation carried out by the prison ,as they were not informed as to how and why
the institution allowed a known racists to share a cell with Zahid. The attack on Zahid
occurred during the night in which zahid was just a few hours away from release.
Robert Killed zahid using a table leg and “battered” Zahid continuously. Stewart then
proceeded to pull the alarm in which guards found Zahid near death and immediately
moved robert to an isolated unit.

As mentioned previously the inquiry specifically points out the failures of specific
individuals within Feltham whose actions led to the eventual death of Zahid Mubarek.
Keith Griffin understood and recognized that many members of staff were
overworked as there were severely understaffed despite having an ever growing and
changing inmate population. Griffin argued that in more way than one,the institution
was to blame as a whole including its operations and can therefore not be pinned or
focused on one individuals alone. However he went on to say that whereby he was
able to scrutinise the actions of an individual’s he would. In addition the inquiry states
that regarding the failings on individuals some employees of Feltham prison could be
criticised for not taking any action. In more detail many front line officers were aware

of Robert Stewarts racist tendency however did not take further action which is a
failure in itself and falls short of what is expected of them as well a s their duty of
care towards inmates. The inquiry expresses the importance of applying anti
discriminatory work in the criminal justice system in this case the prison services.
Keith report appointed 19 employees of Feltham prison whose actions contributed to
the death of Zahid Mubarek.In some cases Keith critiqued the lack of action where
action should have been taken. In other words in cases where Stewart was found to
be talking to himself,or where officers discovered a letter from Stewart with multiple
racial slurs ,but again limited action was taken where action was required.

Racism (Zahid Inquiry 3.1) and The Stephen lawrence inquiry

Racism was a big part of the zahid Inquiry.This is not solely because Zahid
Mubakres killer was a racists but because,potentially discriminatory practices may
have allowed for robert stewart to have the opopintuty to kill in the first place.
Furthermore one of the most stocking displays on neglangiant practices in feltham
prison was when a letter written by Robert stewart with racial slurs the only action
that was taken by officers was to return the letter to stewart and have him rewrite it.
Further action should have been taken when it became evident that Robert is racist
views and beliefs and could therefore pose a harm to Zahid mubarek. The report
argues that had more action been taken at this point, it could have saved Zahids
life.However instead the minla action was taken and no thought was given to the
safety of Zahid Mubarek who would later face the consequences of the institutions
neglainciance. The Stephen lawrence inquiry introduced the idea of institutional
racism(Keith,2006 3.4). Lawrence states that unwitting/unconscious and international
discriminatory practices are difficult to detect however anti discriminatory practices
are always evident in the actions officers and seniors take which was evident at
feltham prison were the actions of the officers ultimately led to to the premature
death of Zahid.When the stephen lawrence inquiry was published in February
1999,the idea and concept of institutional racisms became a well understood
concept in practice and reinforced the idea of uutlsiing anti discititory practicies in
crimainl jusitce system. Using the definition of institutional racism in the Stephen
Lawrence report, it is evident that Feltham has been institutionally racist. The
definition in the stephen lawrence inquiry is as follows:
” The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional
service to people because if their colour,culture,or ethnic origin” (Keith,2006 3.5). In
more words, whether or not feltham was institutionally racist was not questioned in
the inquiry,but rather whether this was intentionally or unintentionally done.

In conclusion the inquiry well formulated the issue of institutional
racisms,discrimination as well as anti-discriminatory practice. The actions (or in
some cases lack of action) dsiaplyed lack of antidiscitmoary practice implemented in
the work of the officers and seniors at Feltham. The Zahid Mubarek case is evidently
a case of injustice in the criminal justice system and another case in which the

failings of an institutions can cause direct harm to prisoners. Zahid Mubarek’s case
highlights the importance of prioritising the safety of prisoners to themselves and
those around them, as well as ensuring that proper practice is implemented not only
in prison services but all aspects of the criminal justice system. The inquiry ends with
88 recommendations in order to reduce the likelihood of an event such as this
reoccuring.The focus for the recommendations is not just on Feltham prison but can
and should be implemented in prisons across the country. In addition this case also
highlights the importance of prison to prison communication. Moreover the lack of
communication is evident in the case of Feltham where officers did not fully evaluate
and discuss their concern about stewarts behaviour which casuedit to go
unrenowned and therefore unmonitored.The inquiry,with the 88 recommendations,
expresses uses the case of Zahid Mubarek to build a safer environment for prisons.
The first recommendation and one which carried the highest priority is as following
“the elimination of enforced cell sharing should remain the objective of the prison
service, and of the achoevel of this goal should be regarded as a high priority. “Keith
felt this was essential in the safeguarding inmates.In more words inmates who may
be in a questionable mental health state would likely not have to a cellmate as a
safety to themselves and inmates around them and that is it no longer a requirement
for prisoners to have a cellmate. The Zahid Mubarek case is an important reminder
in ensuring that all agencies in the criminal justice system continuously insure that
the health and safety of our service users is protiristed.