Four new “Supersized” Prisons – Our Response

Justice secretary Liz Truss today announced that four new “supersized” mega-prisons, with a combined capacity of at least 5000, are now earmarked for construction. The sites: Port Talbot in South Wales, Wigan in Greater Manchester, Rochester in Kent and Full Sutton in East Yorkshire.

Image Credit liebeslakritze @ Flickr

 

Prison expansion will not reduce crime. Prison expansion will not reduce the reasons people commit crime. Prison expansion will not help reduce trauma and harm. However, prison expansion will further damage communities already suffering from cruel cuts to local and national support services. It will continue to break people, and allow deep social problems to be hidden in cages.

 

When the government claims that there is no money available for front-line services, and then finds over a billion pounds for new mega-prisons, it is hypocrisy. More crucially, it is not an answer. Even by their own standards, prison is an ineffective way to prevent re-offending. And the US clearly shows us that mass incarceration is a toxic and devastating policy.

 

Instead of building prisons, why don’t we build our capacity to support people? Rather than shutting down provision for homelessness, addiction and domestic abuse, why don’t we expand them? Rather than selling prisons as ‘new jobs’, why don’t we create more meaningful employment that allows communities to actually support each other? Prisons profit from the super-cheap labour of inmates, which they then offer to businesses – this undercuts wages in the local area.

What can we do?

  • Sign the moratorium on building new prisons – add your name or that of your organisation, and publicise it in your networks.
  • If you are located in the areas affected, get organised – and if you want support get in touch. We can help organise meetings, write petitions, design flyers or give info talks.
  • If you aren’t located in the areas affected, also get organised, and let’s signal boost those who have it on their doorstep. 
This is a crucial moment for prison expansion. The UK already has the highest rate of incarceration in Western Europe. We need to stop this. Whatever your capacity, you have a skill – please get involved