A few pieces of news relevant to the subject of UK prisons:
Kent Anti-Racism Network report that one of their comrades has just been jailed for taking part in the resistance to last year’s nazi marches in Dover. They don’t seem to be currently asking for people to write to this person, but they are asking for donations to help support the imprisoned comrade’s family and help pay their rent.
Community Action Against Prison Expansion (CAPE) report that a new Yorkshire group has formed to oppose the proposed prison in East Sutton. You can keep up with the Yorkshire Campaign Against Prisons here. There’s also a new Wigan group, the wonderfully-named Pies Not Prisons.
CAPE have also released the first episode of what’s planned to be a monthly “No More Prisons” podcast, discussing how we can stop the planned “megaprisons”, and featuring a guest interview with the Joint Enterprise – Not Guilty By Association campaign.
The IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organising Campaign (IWOC) has started targeting Maypole, a company that pays prisoners £6-£25 per week to make their products. On May Day, IWOC members and friends hit the streets in Bristol, Bath, Liverpool and Leicester to demand that the chains Blacks and Milletts stop selling Maypole products until Maypole stops exploting cheap prison labour.
IWOC also complain that the UK’s largest prisoner magazine, Inside Time, is refusing to publish any information about the union. They’ve set up a change.org petition, although if you wanted to get the message across in a slightly more direct way, you can email Inside Time directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to stop censoring IWOC.
Smash IPP, the campaign for prisoners who were given arbitrary indefinite sentences with no release date, is asking for people to write to Claire Taylor, a woman whose mental health has been severly affected by her endless sentence and is currently at risk of suicide. In their words:
“Claire desperately needs support to simply stay alive and not persistently try to take her own life. She needs connection, friendship, and solidarity.
Please write to Claire:
Claire Taylor A7974AX
HMP Send, Ripley Rd, Ripley, Woking GU23 7LJ
Send stamps: You can send stamps directly to Claire.
Send money: To send money you can use the service here: https://send-money-to-prisoner.service.gov.uk/en-gb/”
They also have a slightly older request up, asking for people to contact HMP Lowdham Grange in support of Aaron Madden, an IPP prisoner who’s currently fearing for his life, and smashed up his sink in order to get put into solitary as a way of being removed from danger. The simplest way to do this is to email PrisonerConcerns@serco.com with the following message:
“I am writing with concern about prisoner Aaron Madden who is currently in HMP Lowdham Grange.
He is an IPP prisoner almost a decade over tariff, your establishment has failed their duty of care towards him and he is feeling unsafe in your establishment. After 12 years in prison – this is to be taken very seriously – he has spent his entire adult life in prison and for him to feel that he is in danger in this way needs to be acted on.
He has an appeal coming up and it is a travesty that he has had to resort to smashing up his sink in order to be put into segregation so that he can feel safe. This is having serious consequences for Aaron and his family’s mental well being and is obstructing Aaron’s progression in his sentence. He is serving an indeterminate sentence and denying him access to a place where he feels safe in prison is harming him as he belives his life is in danger not to mention having a knock on effect on his progression and ultimate release.
I ask with urgency for you to rectify this and make sure Aaron is spoken to about his concerns and steps are taken until he feels safe. Any consequences for smashing the sink must be looked at in light of the officers failing to make him feel safe and should not affect his upcoming appeal. I look forward to your written response confirming that as director of HMP Lowdham Grange that you will take action to ensure he feels safe and that the consequences of this neglect does not obstruct his hearing in June.