Support CSC prisoners fighting against isolation

The excellent piece in FRFI for April/May (‘Close Supervision Centre prisoners in long-term segregation’) raised important questions regarding the treatment of ‘Rule 46’ prisoners, usually held in the notorious Close Supervision Centres (CSCs) but some of whom are now held in what amounts to permanent and clearly unlawful solitary confinement in high security prison segregation units.

Prisoners such as Kevan Thakrar, an extremely skilled and determined prisoners’ rights litigant, were initially placed in the CSCs because they were perceived as ‘troublemakers’ and ‘ringleaders’. The regime in the CSCs could reasonably be defined as solitary confinement heavily flavoured with psychological and physical brutality; however, because they are not ordinary segregation units, none of the at least superficial safeguards that apply to prisoners in segregation exist in the CSCs. Under Rule 46 there is no finite period of time that a prisoner can be held in a CSC; he will remain there until his spirit is considered broken.

For the duration of his long captivity in the Woodhill CSC, Kevan waged a tireless campaign of legal actions against his treatment and that of other prisoners, as well as raising the issue of CSCs as instruments of state violence amongst radical supporters on the outside. He was also the inspiration for the January 2012 publication Close Supervision Centres – torture units in the UK. As a result, he was transferred out of that system and is currently being held in an ordinary segregation unit at Whitemoor prison. However, he remains subject to Rule 46, which excludes the possibility of eventual release from the segregation unit back into mainstream prison life, as Rule 46 prisoners can only ‘progress’ back to the mainstream through the CSC system, presumably once cured of their ‘subversive tendencies’. So Kevan and other Rule 46 prisoners in segregation units can remain there indefinitely with little or no proper official oversight of their situation, effectively burying them alive.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons and Prison Ombudsman have maintained a conspicuous silence about Rule 46 prisoners held in ordinary segregation units, which amounts to collusion. Providing the necessary epithets are applied, such as ‘dangerous troublemaker’ and ‘violent ringleader’, the Inspector and Ombudsman are happy to turn a blind eye.

Prisoners such as Kevan are now being psychologically brutalised by prolonged solitary confinement and need as much support as possible.

Please email or write letters of complaint to:

John Bowden HMP Shotts

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 239 June/July 2014