prisoner feels that their opinions are heard, rules are neutral towards them and applied consistently, then they are likely to view authority as legitimate.
Research illustrates that the latter characteristics are not prevalent in several UK prison settings owing to a number of factors; one of them is the offender’s characteristics. No doubt exists about the progress that has been made in the United Kingdom concerning equality and diversity. This is partly because of the numerous research, advocacy and legislations that have been passed over the years. However, several cases of discrimination, unequal treatment, insensitivity to special needs as well as inconsistent application of rules are a harsh reality. These matters will be examined in detail in subsequent sections of the paper. They will be analysed against the diverse backgrounds of prison populations, such as ethnicity, religion, women, children, disability, LGBT and foreign nations.
Prisons have members from diverse religious groups. The majority represent the Christian faith, but even within this group different sects exist and can potentially lead to preferential treatment. Non-Christian groups are the minority in prison settings and include Muslims, Buddhist and Hindu followers. Women are one of the categories that lead to diversity in the prison population; they have special prisons for their gender, so it is relatively easy to study potential obstacles and inequalities in their group. The UK has a low proportion of women in prison, as estimates show that they are only 5% (Women in Prison, 2012). Likewise, children also represent a small portion of the prison population as the youth justice board states that only 1,543 children are in custody currently. Their numbers have been decreasing substantially over the years as seen through the decommissioning of some centres such ase Rivendell Unit at Cookham Wood.
Ethnicity is an umbrella term that encompasses the racial or cultural background to which