HMP Kirkham is Flying the Flag

Publish Date: 10/05/2012

 

Peter Allen MBE, Equalities Advisor for HMP Kirkham, tells us why it's so important to him to fly the flag;

"Like many prison establishments, HMP Kirkham has an excellent track record in embracing equality issues, and the need to comply with the requirements of the Equality Act, to take into account all Protected Characteristics.

"In particular we are aware that not only do we employ LGBT staff, but we also have Gay Bisexual and Transsexual prisoners in our care. This can be particularly difficult in that many staff, and many more prisoners are understandably reluctant to be open about their sexual orientation in a prison environment.

"Nonetheless, this issue must still be high on our agenda, and maybe more so in order to recognise and support this otherwise invisible minority group. We do this in many ways, but this year for the first time HMP Kirkham ‘flew the flag’.

"HMP Kirkham had the Rainbow Flag flying for the entire month of February 2012 to mark LGBT History Month, with the exception of two days when we, as a government building, were required to fly the Union Flag. This was a particularly proud time for me, as in my 25 year career working in the Prison Service, it was the first time I had witnessed the Rainbow Flag flying above a prison establishment, and it had long been an ambition of mine to achieve this. 

"This wasn't without comment from one or two members of the local community, but HMP Kirkham raised the Rainbow Flag as a demonstration of our continued commitment to Equality & Diversity, highlighting the fact the Prison Service is a diversity employer, and in recognition of our LGB&T staff and prisoners.

"HMP Kirkham is now in the process of applying for the ‘Investor In Diversity’ award though the National Centre for Diversity, which takes into account all Protected Characteristics, including LGB&T issues."

Will you be flying the flag this Thursday?