Publishing his annual report, Sir David Ramsbotham said the Prison Service was bedevilled by the premise that prisoners were "subordinates".
New prison officers fired with enthusiasm for working positively with inmates are quickly put in their place by senior colleagues, who exert "domination and intimidation, a pernicious way of influencing colleagues", Sir David said.
In what will be seen by some as a challenge to the prison chiefs to crack down on the Prison Officers' Association, Sir David called on Martin Narey, the new director-general of the Prison Service, to challenge the entrenched staff attitude at many prisons.
He said: "I suggest to Mr Narey that no factor will better enable him to respond to the Home Secretary's objectives than a determined and sustained attack on the old culture, wherever it manifests itself. It is inward looking, it is a blame culture, and it does the name of the Prison Service no good."Reuse content