Saturday, 29 May 2010

Don't expand Styal Prison - Close it down

A Report of a No More prison demo held outside Styal Prison in April 2006

Within 3 month of its establishment No More Prison organised its first direct action - a demonstration outside styal prison on April 8th 2006.

The Demostration was in opposition to the Governments plan to expand the failed prison to make it Europe's largest prison for women. No More Prison called instead for the prison to be closed.

Among those attending the demonstration were former prisoners Susan May and Sandra Gregory. Also attending were three mothers whose children had been killed by Britians Prisons.

Many friends and relatives visting stopped to talk about the experiences of their loved ones inside Styal and to support No More Prison's call for its closure. A number were surprised that despite the prison's well publicised failures the Government is planning to double the number of women imprisoned in it.

Granda TV covered the demo and Pauline Campbell, whose 18 year old daughter Sarah died in the "care" of Styal, and is supporting No More Prison's call for the closure of Styal, was interviewed by MFM, Signal, Classic Gold Marcher, Wirral's Buzz, and Silk FM Radio Stations.

Although we recognise that it will take more than one demonstration to close down Styal Prison it was important as it shows both the incarerated women and the Government that people are concerned and prepared to take action. No More Prison is committed to continuing to highlight the abusive nature of prison and to campaign for its abolition.

During the demonstration an Ambulance arrived at the prison. This is a regular event. The pain of being locked up in Styal sees daily self harm and attempts by the women to end their lives.

Facts about Styal
  • Six women tragically died in the 12 months ending August 2003
  • In March 2005, Governor Hall admitted there had been 41 attempted hangings over one week-end alone (Mother's Day week-end).
  • Nine out of ten of the women caged at Styal have been convicted of non-violent offences
  • On 28 October 2005, Karen Ann Fletcher, 30, died in the 'care' of HMP Holloway, shortly after being transferred from Styal.
  • In Feburary the Guardian revealed that a 27-year-old Styal prisoner spent four hours locked in a small cage inside a prison van the day before her baby was due
  • In response to this disclosure of abuse Styal Prison banned the Guardian's correspondent from visiting the jail until further notice.
  • Two thirds of the women locked up in Styal are mothers
  • The most common offence women are caged for in Styal - Shop Lifting
  • Over 1 in 3 women will lose their home as a result of their imprisonment in Styal
  • Over half the women in Styal are victims of childhood abuse, rape or domestic violence
  • Over a third of the women in Styal have attempted to kill themselves
  • 2 out of 3 women in Styal have mental health problems

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