Guardian Letters 20 April 2012So former prison service boss Martin Narey declines to apologise for theabuse at Medomsley. It makes you wonder whether he was suitable to bechief executive of Barnados, or, for that matter, the current adoptiontsar. Robin Wendt ChesterGuardian Letters 11 May 2012Martin Narey has called for an inquiry into the "over-representation byAsian men in child exploitation" (Grooming offences committed mostlyby Asian men, says ex-Barnardos chief, 9 May). What does he knowabout child exploitation? As former director general of the prison serviceand assistant governor of Deerbolt prison, Narey failed to apologise forthe widespread rape and beating of children when it was brought into theopen on his watch (How did Neville Husband get away with the horrificabuse of teenagers in his care?, Weekend, 14 April)…Cristel AmissBlack Womens Rape Action Project, KikiAxelssonWomen Against Rape,Nina López Legal Action for WomenThe Press Complaints Commission consideration:[The Guardian] newspaper published two readers letters whichclaimed that [Martin Narey] had refused or declined to apologisefor child abuse that had taken place in the prison system at thehands of Neville Husband. The newspaper had been aware thatthe abuse had taken place long before the complainant had evenjoined the prison service, and that the victims had sued the HomeOffice when he no longer was in the service and was not thereforein a position to publicly apologise on its behalf. It had known that
there was no question of him declining to apologise to the families,yet published the letters anyway. The complainant had contactedthe newspaper in regard to each of these inaccuracies but it hadconsistently failed to afford him a right of reply.RESOLUTION:The complaint was resolved when…the following letter from thecomplainant [was published]:On April 14, Eric Allison and Simon Hattenstone wrote an importantpiece about the historic abuse of children in custody by a Prison Officer,Neville Husband. I took little issue with Erics moving account.Subsequently however the Guardian published two letters. The first saidthat I had declined to apologise for the abuse (and because of that hadbeen unsuitable to lead Barnardos as I did for six years). The secondimplied that, as Director General of the Prison Service I had tolerated thewidespread rape and beating of children.Husbands offending began when I was thirteen years of age and theoffences for which he was subsequently convicted took place in 1977 whenI was still at University, five years before I joined the Prison Service andtwenty one years before I became Director General. Later, whenHusbands victims sued the Prison Service, I had resigned from theHome Office and was in no position to make a response. The Guardianknew from E mail exchanges however, that I stood ready to make publicmy personal apology, and that I had, many years ago, expressed regretabout the abuse.I do not deny the appalling nature of Husbands crimes. But it should nothave needed me to complain to the Press Complaints Commission beforethis letter was published to make clear that the abuse did not occur whenI was in a position of authority, and that I did not tolerate the abuse orfail to express my regret for it.I may have had many failings as Director General of the Prison Service.But failing to address the abuse of prisoners of any age was not one ofthem.