26 March 2020: Day 1 of the #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth Week of Action
Step 1: Call the Ministry of ‘Justice’
Phone: 020 3334 3555 At the switchboard ask to speak with Phil Copple, Director General of Prisons. “Hi I’m calling to ask for the immediate release of all those in prison and detention centres due to COVID-19. COVID-19 will disproportionately impact those who are most marginalized already – and today I am calling about the 85,000 people incarcerated in jails across the UK. People inside prisons are facing dire and inhumane conditions – no adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities, removal of visitation rights, and in many cases a full lock-down. Removing peoples’ only support systems during a time of global crisis and not providing them with any way to protect themselves from a pandemic is state violence, and will become state-sanctioned murder unless immediate action is taken. Release them all now!”
Step 2: Tweet at the Ministry of ‘Justice’
Suggested Tweets: @MoJGovUK people in prison are not disposable! We are in the midst of a public health crisis, people in prison are members of the public and must not be forgotten. Release them all, NOW! #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth @MojGovUK keeping people incarcerated with no adequate hygiene materials is state violence – this will become state-sanctioned murder unless you act now and release all people in prisons across the UK #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth There have been no attempts by the @MojGovUK to support people in prison during #covid19 – cuttng off visitation while allowing prison staff in will not help and is an inhumane non-solution #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth @MojGovUK I stand with those on the inside & support their fight for survival during a global pandemic – release them all & in the meantime provide hygiene materials, free phone services & reinstate visitation rights #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth @MojGovUK how are people supposed to social distance in over-crowded prisons with no adequate sanitation facilities? You are refusing to respect the humanity of people in prisons – your inaction will function as a death sentence during #covid19 #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth
Step 3: Email the Ministry of ‘Justice’
This link will take you to a MoJ contact form: https://contact-moj.dsd.io/
- Press ‘Start Now’
- You will reach a page that asks ‘What are you contacting the Ministry of Justice about’ Write anything
- Next it will ask: ‘Do you still need to contact the MOJ’ Click YES
- It will ask for a Full Name and Email Address. You can put any name and feel free to use the CAPE email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Copy and paste the below text into the message section:
I am writing to express my deep concern about the health and safety of people inside prisons across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous public health journals, grassroots groups, and activists have outlined why prisons are the worst possible places to prevent the spread of disease. Incarcerated people cannot self-isolate and prison regulations make hygiene and health practices next to impossible. The only reasonable comprehensive COVID-19 prison mitigate strategy is the immediate release of all people in prison and detention. Prisons are by their very nature unsafe and unhealthy spaces in which access to health care is severely limited. Incarcerated people face systematic medical neglect, abuse and incredible isolation every day. This maltreatment will only increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. UK prisons have alarmingly ideal conditions for the rapid spread of disease. As the Health Affairs journal states, “Prisons push people into the paths of epidemics”. Simply put, prisons cannot cope with a COVID-19 outbreak. There are approximately 85,000 people in prisons across the UK. Within this there is a significant population of ageing people in prison for which the virus will likely be life threatening. Any death that results from COVID-19 spreading through the prison population is state sanctioned murder. People in prison are not disposable and the ‘punishment for their crimes’ cannot be death. We are in the midst of a public health crisis, people in prison are also members of the general public and are therefore included in this public health crisis and must not be forgotten. The only action to be taken that will adequately stop what will become a crisis of mass-death, is the immediate release of all people incarcerated and in detention across the UK. I stand with those on the inside in solidarity and am urging you to act now to prevent unnecessary suffering and death. Their blood will be on your hands. I demand first and foremost the release of all people in prison and detention. Specifically:
- We demand that all people currently on ROTL are not brought back into prison.
- If release of all people in prison is staggered, we demand that the first to be released be those most vulnerable to COVID-19, such as the elderly, those who are pregnant, substance users and those who have pre-existing health conditions/compromised immune systems. Arrests and Court Ruling.
- We demand an end to incarceration as a repercussion for crimes.
- We demand that all active trials be stopped.
- We demand that all courts be closed.
- We demand that probation appointments be halted and we demand an end to license breach recalls.
- We demand that any people in prison be taken to hospital immediately upon exhibiting symptoms.
- We demand that free soap, masks, and necessarily hygienic facilities be available to all incarcerated people.
- We demand that all prison officers and medical staff be temperature checked before entering prison facilities, and both are required to wear gloves and face masks when interacting with people who are imprisoned.
- We demand free COVID-19 testing for anyone in prison that requests it.
- We demand that people in prison be given access to healthy and nutritious food.
- We demand that visitation remains available as long as prison officers and prison staff are still entering the establishment.
- We demand that phone and video communication services are provided without cost to all people in prison.
- We demand that hygiene kits be available in visitation areas.