Justice Secretary’s fury as prison bosses run ‘playgroup’ meditation sessions for staff to learn about diversity and intersectionality
- The mediation session, called Walk in the Park, is part of an internal toolkit which aims to promote ‘safe and structured conversation about intersectionality’
- Intersectionality is a term used to define discrimination and privilege
- Justice Secretary Robert Buckland is said to have told staff to get a ‘grip’
Ministers have been angered by staff development methods being used by prison bosses to identify unconscious bias.
The mediation session, called Walk in the Park, asks prison and probation staff to close their eyes and imagine walking through a park where they encounter different people, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
They are then asked if everyone they pictured was white, able-bodied or in a heterosexual relationships.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland (pictured) is said to have told civil servants to get a ‘grip’
The session is just one of a series of activities taking place in prisons to teach staff about ‘intersectionality’, a term coined by American black civil rights activist and feminist Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe discrimination and privilege.
Staff spend part of the session learning about intersecting identities such as lesbians or gay people from ethnic minority backgrounds, transgender Christians, or Muslims with a disability.
They are then told to put on soft music and imagine their walk through the park.
It is part of an internal ‘toolkit’ which aims to spark an ‘honest conversation’ about stereotypes and promote ‘safe and structured conversation about intersectionality.’
Intersectionality is a term coined by American black civil rights activist and feminist Kimberlé Crenshaw (pictured) to define discrimination and privilege.
The kit includes includes information and recommending reading including Ms Crenshaw’s book Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: a black feminist critique of anti-discrimination doctrine, feminist theory and anti-racist politics and Diversity, by the BBC’s Director of Creative Diversity, June Sarpong.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland is said to have told his civil servant to get a ‘grip,’ with one source telling the Sunday Telegraph that Mr Buckland is at the ‘end of his tether.’
‘This isn’t the first time we’ve found this kind of drivel circulating around civil servants at the department,’ the source said.
‘Prisons are places where we lock up ruthless criminals who have ruined people’s lives but there is a blob in the department who act like they’re running a north London playgroup.’
The kit includes the BBC’s Director of Creative Diversity, June Sarpong’s book, Diversity (pictured June Sarpong)
Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘On Friday an inquest jury delivered a devastating verdict on the failure of the prison service to manage terrorist offenders.
‘Instead of obsessing over this sort of woke gibberish, senior managers should be solely focused on the real priorities – restoring public confidence that this is a law enforcement agency that protects the public.
‘Ministers must get a grip on HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) leadership or replace them with people who care more about security and order than pronouns.’
It coincides with Phil Copple, director general of prisons, issuing an antiracist message about white staff numbers and being pictured taking the knee.
The prison service said: ‘Our staff remain focused on cutting crime and protecting the public. We are building more prisons, recruiting more probation officers, and this guidance is not government policy.’
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