GRIM, CRUEL FOR ASHER?

Asher D is remanded in custody in the notorious Feltham Young Offenders And Remand Centre...

So Solid Crew’s ASHER D, remanded in custody last week after pleading guilty to a gun possession charge, faces prison conditions described in a recent report as “totally unacceptable in a civilised country”.

NME.COM has learned that the rapper will spend time awaiting sentencing in Feltham Young Offenders And Remand Centre in west London. The biggest young offender’s prison in Europe, it houses over 900 inmates. It was described in the same 1999 report as “rotten to the core”.

Asher, real name Ashley Walters, was warned by the judge at Southwark Crown Court last Monday (March4) that he faces a “substantial custodial sentence” when he returns to court on March 25. Possession of a prohibited firearm carries a maximum ten-year term. It is likely that when sentenced, 19-year-old Asher, will return to Feltham.

In his 1999 report into the centre, Sir David Ramsbotham, the then Chief Inspector of Prisons, described a regime where inmates were locked in their cells for 22 hours a day, where they were forced to sleep on dirty, damaged mattresses and wear the same underwear for a week. He described treatment of prisoners as “appalling” and “disgraceful”.

Though a multi-million pound overhaul brought in some changes, officers in Feltham were described last year as “overtly racist” by Martin Narey, the head of the Prison Service in England and Wales, following the murder of an Asian teenager by his white cellmate in 2000.

It is all a far cry from the ‘Kristal and bling’ lifestyle that Asher D has grown accustomed to. And it has emerged that that carefully cultivated gangsta image does not ring true for Asher.

While So Solid Crew leader Megaman – who spent four months on an attempted murder charge before being acquitted – is an admitted “hustler” from the sprawling Winstanley Estate in south London, Asher was a child protege of the Sylvia Young Theatre who got his first break as a 13-year-old in ‘Grange Hill’.

So Solid Crew have closed ranks and will not comment on their imprisoned bandmate.