The lack of support for people serving a sentence in prison can have tangible consequences on their psyche. Isolation from their community and their loved ones are especially felt during the festive period. To provide a bit of encouragement to them, an event called NYE HMP Brixton Noise Demo will take place on New Year’s Eve.
The purpose of incarceration should be effective rehabilitation, but every year the situation in British jails is deteriorating. In many cases, inmates, instead of being prepared to be reintegrated into society, are left without adequate support, and 46% of adult prisoners will re-offend within a year of their release.
Moreover, inmates are six times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the British population, and in the past year and a half, the rates of self-harming reached record levels. Another consequence of a lack of assistance in jails is the prisoner-on-prisoner assaults, of which in the 12 months to March 2019 there were almost 35,000.
What is more, assaults on prison guards have tripled in recent years, raising concerns as to whether the staff receive adequate training or not.
The Justice Secretary in 2016, Liz Truss, gave the go-ahead for a recruitment drive, funding it with £100m to hire 2,500 new guards by the end of 2018. This factor led to an increasingly inexperienced workforce, and nowadays, a third of all the staff have less than two years experience.
To address these issues, the London Campaign Against Police and State Violence will host NYE HMP Brixton Noise Demo, a three-hour meeting outside Brixton prison as a way of expressing solidarity to people who will spend New Year’s Eve behind bars.
The organisers state that a noise demo will interrupt the isolation and alienation that inmates have to deal with.
Furthermore, black people are being killed on the streets and in prisons by police officers and security guards, as the organisers have said: “Jimmy Mubenga was suffocated by racist G4S security guards on an aeroplane.
Sean Rigg was asphyxiated in Brixton police station. Ricky Bishop was also killed in police custody at Brixton police station. Sarah Campbell died within hours of arriving at Styal Prison. Fifteen-year-old Garthe Myatt was killed by security guards at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre”. From 1990 to 2016, more than 5,600 people have died in police custody or while in jail, and only a minority of them have received justice.
According to LCAPSV, “Noise demos outside of prisons are a continuing tradition across the world. A way of expressing solidarity for people imprisoned during the New Year, remembering those held captive by the state. A noise demo breaks the isolation and alienation in the cells our enemies create, but it does not have to stop at that. It is time to imagine a world without incarceration, without detention, and without racism and injustice”.
Date and place: Tuesday, 31st December 2019 from 6 pm. to 9 pm. Jebb Avenue, SW2 5XF, London. More information: Facebook event page.