Prison Action London is a new grassroots organisation set up to challenge prison building and expansion. Their first public meeting was held in December outlining plans to step up anti-prison activism in 2015.
The coming months present important challenges for those interested in prison reduction and abolition. The state is embarking on a number of prison building and expansion projects across the country. If we are going to stop them, we need to mobilize fast.
The current prison expansion projects are:
- Wrexham Prison, North Wales: A new prison set to house in excess of 2100 people being built by LendLease. It is 1 month into construction and is set to be built by the end of 2017.
- Feltham YOI, West London: The government is considering replacing the notorious youth prison with a large scale prison and youth facility. They have undergone a feasibility study and hired an architect to assess the plans. It is expected that planning permission will be sought in early 2015.
- Campsfield IRC, Oxfordshire: Planning permission is currently being sought to expand the immigration detention centre to a 566 bed facility for migrants. The deadline for submissions is 22 January 2015.
Many are inspired by the idea of the Prison Industrial Complex as a way of understanding the prison system. They argue that prison expansion is not driven by the needs of society but by the need to generate profit and economic growth. This means that once prisons are built, to make it economically viable they will have to be filled and more people will be subjected to the violence of the prison system. This is why anti-prison activists need to argue for both decriminalisation and for a moratorium on prison expansion.
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To find out how to get involved with Prison Action London see http://www.prisonabolition.org/prison-action-london and email: prisonactionlondon @ riseup.net.