#FreeThemAll4PublicHealth Day 2 of 7: Your local prison and HMPPS

27 March 2020: Day 2 of the #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth Week of Action

Step 1: Find your local prison using this link

http://www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder Remember this name! By being a “neighbour” of a prison, you hold pull to #ShutItDown and #FreeThemAll. If you’re unsure about which prison to target, our answer is any! All prisons must release all those inside. However, feel free to target where reports of Covid-19 have already occurred. A 66 year old man has already died in HMP Manchester, and a 84 year old in HMP Littlehey  has also passed. As the pandemic is already killing people in these jails, it’s key that those remaining are set free, as should be essential for every incarcerated person. We can also note that 75 officers at HMP Berwyn have also been reported to be sick, and there have been cases reported at HMP OakWood too.

Step 2: Make phone calls

Now that you have the phone number of your local prison, call them and demand to speak to the Governor – the find your local prison search tool will give you their name. Or call the governors of the prisons where people have died and cases have already been reported: Governor of HMP Manchester, Rob Young: 0161 817 5600 Governor of HMP Littlehey, Sue Doolan: 001480 335 000 Governor of HMP Berwyn, Nick Leader: 01978 523000 You can also call 020 3334 3555 for the Ministry of Justice and ask for Jo Farrar who is the Chief Executive Officer, HM Prison & Probation Service.

Phone Script:

“Hi I’m a local resident who lives near [name of local prison] – I am calling to demand the immediate release of all those in prison and detention centres as the only possible way to mitigate the potentially deadly impacts of COVID-19. I demand the total release of everyone from [local prison], as well as the 85 000 other people incarcerated in the UK. Andrrea Albutt, head of the governor association, has already called for the release of those in custody. Please amplify this and put it into action to prevent the loss of life. 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 3: Tweet

Perhaps google the name of the governor of your local prison or google the local prison and see if any people who manage the prison have a twitter account? We recommend tweeting them directly if possible. If you can’t find your local prison governor’s twitter, use these handles: @CEOofHMPPS (Jo Farrar, CEO of HMPPS) @HMPPS

Tweet suggestions

@HMPPS @CEOofHMPPS As a neighbour to [local prison], I demand the immediate release all people from [local prison] alongside all incarcerated people in the UK – the only option to mitigate the dangers #Covid19 poses to those in prison #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth @HMPPS @CEOofHMPPS we demand that all 85,000 people inside prisons in the UK are immediately released – this is the only action that will stop the deadly impacts that #covid19 is having on those who are incarcerated #NoMoreDeaths #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth @HMPPS  #covid19 is a public health emergency, and those inside can not continue to be seen as less than human. Individuals inside deserve dignity & the ability to social distance & access sanitary conditions, which can only happen if they are released  #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth Hey @CEOofHMPPS – why don’t you prioritize the lives of those trapped inside with no way to protect themselves from #covid19? Deaths, such as those which have already happened at HMP Manchester & HMP Littlehey are on your hands #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth

Step 4: Email

Email the governor of your local prison. The email address format will be firstname.lastname@hmps.gsi.gov.uk. You also could fill out this form again to make a complaint against all prisons: https://contact-moj.dsd.io/. Or target the governors of the prisons where people have already died from Covid-19: Governor of HMP Manchester, Rob Young: Darren.hughes@hmps.gsi.gov.uk  Governor of HMP Littlehey, Sue Doolan: Sue.doolan@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

Sample email:

“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 mitigation 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 everyday. 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 Rulings

  • 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.

Healthcare

  • 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

Visitation

  • 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.

#FreeThemAll4PublicHealth

Day 1 of 7: The Ministry of ‘Justice’

Day 2 of 7: Your local prison and HMPPS

Day 3 of 7: Target Local MPs

Day 4 of 7: No Kids in Prison

Day 5 of 7: Public Health England

Day 6 of 7: Minister of State for Prisons & Probation

Day 7 of 7: Secretary of State for Justice

Supporting People Inside During Covid-19