Holloway, the largest women's prison in Western Europe, has now closed.
Its residents have been rushed to overcrowded, unfit facilities outside of London.
The 8 acres of land Holloway sits on are being prepared for sale, likely to be developed into luxury flats.
This is first example of the government's current programme to shut old prisons, sell the land, and build new mega prisons outside of big cities.
Local people, Londoners, former Holloway prisoners need these acres for themselves.
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IN THE PRESS
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Women in Prison, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
// BUILD COMMUNITIES NOT PRISONS //
The women incarcerated at Holloway didn’t know it would close, but after George Osbourne announced that it would, their lives rapidly changed.
600 women kept at Holloway were rushed into prisons outside of London – crowded into facilities that weren’t ready to house people, and others that were at full capacity. People were doubling up in cells, deprived of decent food and struggling to access medical services. Support services and voluntary sector organisations, many based in London, are under even greater strain to support women inside. For many women, the move has forced them further from their communities, from support services in London, and from their loved ones, including their children, who now struggle to afford visits outside the city.
As the government closes old prisons and builds larger ones, prison conditions in the UK are getting worse – more women are incarcerated, and more are dying - 18 women, including Sarah Reed in Holloway, have died in prison this year alone. Holloway was used to incarcerate women who were 'ringleaders' in Yarl's Wood hunger strikes, and prisons are being used more and more to incarcerate migrants when detention centres are full. The government’s response? Employ more prison officers, rather than deal with the conditions that push people into prison – systematic racism, poverty, and lack of housing
There are 20,000 households on Islington’s housing list. Local people know luxury flats at Holloway will raise rents, forcing more people out of the area. Now that prisoners have been displaced, locals will be too.
As homelessness and displacement rises, public land is sold off, prisoner populations grow, support services are cut or closed and former Holloway residents are displaced to non-specialist, overcrowded facilities outside of London, it's clear that local people, Londoners and former Holloway prisoners need these acres for themselves.
It is black and brown, working class, migrant and queer people and their families that suffer most from state violence, from incarceration, from the closure of support services and from homelessness.
What the government and developers get away with at Holloway will set a precedent for what they get away with across the UK.