31 March 2020: Day 4 of the #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth Week of Action
Medway Secure Training Centre (STC) has been a site of physical, verbal & sexual abuse against the children locked inside for decades. The kids held at Medway STC will be moved to other prisons & those showing symptoms of #covid19 who are “clinically well enough to remain in prison” will stay there. This will not reduce the spread of Covid-19, as it’s impossible to social distance in jail. Instead, the kids in Medway need to be released to safe homes so they can properly self-isolate and social distance, while having access to rehabilitative resources. The Medway STC is set to close today, March 31 2020, and be refurbished as a secure school, another name for children’s prison, and the first of many set to be established across the UK. Cosmetic refurbishments to the site won’t stop the rampant abuse from continuing. Prisons are rampant for infection, and as Covid-19 has shown, not beneficial for the public health of those inside. The Ministry of Justice has contracted mega-charity Oasis to operate the secure school, despite reports of homophobia, transphobia and collaboration with the police. This secure school must not move forward.
Step 1: Call Oasis
Call Oasis to demand they drops their contract with the Ministry of Justice to run the first secure school, a new form of children’s prisons – especially considering how Covid-19 has shown how dangerous prisons are for the public health of those inside: Call now: 020 7921 4200
Sample calling script
“Hello, I’m calling in light of today’s closing of the Medway Secure Training Centre. I demand you pull out of the deal to manage the secure school that will open in its place. Oasis’s collaboration with the Ministry of Justice is an attempt at veiling the systematic violence of youth prisons, making Oasis complicit in causing harm and suffering to already marginalized populations. The only ethical choice is to withdraw from the contract immediately.”
Step 2: Tweet
Tweet at @oasis_uk and @SteveChalke to demand that OASIS backs out of its MOJ contract to run the first secure school, especially considering that Covid-19 has highlighted how dangerous prisons are for the public health of those inside
@Oasis_UK is set to run the first secure school, despite reports of homophobia, transphobia & collaboration with the police – see more here: https://corporatewatch.org/oasis-the-evangelical-christians-opening-a-childrens-prison/
Ask Oasis CEO @SteveChalke why he is aiding efforts to keep kids in prison and why this is being prioritized during a global pandemic!
Call @Oasis_UK at 020 7921 4200 and demand they back out of their contact with the @MojgovUKto run the first secure school
Hey @SteveChalke, why is @Oasis_UK partnering with @MojgovUK to open a new jail for kids in Medway during a global pandemic? #NoKidsinPrison
Step 3: Email Oasis
Steve Chalke’s PA: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Oasis: email@example.com
Example email script
Dear Steve Chalke and whoever else it may concern,
I am writing to express my deep concern about Oasis’ decision to enter into a partnership with the Ministry of Justice and open a “Secure School” in Medway, Kent.
Today, the 31st of March 2020, the Medway Secure Training Centre is closing. Since 1998, children have been imprisoned at the Medway Centre under the pretence that young “criminals” must be separated from their communities. The centre claims to provide these young people with education as they serve their prison sentence. However, multiple damning reports from BBC Panorama and the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) revealed decades of systemic physical, verbal and sexual abuse at the Medway Secure Training Centre. This abuse is not unique to Medway but a key part of all children’s prisons. I am deeply concerned that the “Secure School” will be another site of violence against children, aided by Oasis’ complicity.
This new “Secure School” comes as part of the government’s 2017 ‘Youth Justice Reform Programme’ that sets out plans for a massive expansion of children’s prisons.These prisons will continue to incarcerate society’s marginalised and vulnerable: poor people, black folks, people of colour (poc) and disabled people. As Corporate Watch has reported, the average monthly youth custody statistics in 2017 in the south-east indicated that 45% of those in custody were black, 15% mixed and 10% Asian or other. While the government continues to criminalise young black and brown people, they have made massive cuts to services for children and young people.
I call on Oasis to end its partnership with the Ministry of Justice and halt all construction plans for this and any other “Secure Schools”. Oasis must not be complicit in traumatising already vulnerable and marginalised children, and as such should not run, not move ahead with these re-branded and racist childrens’ prisons.