Inside News

Assault in Whitemoor

In early 2015 the Prison and Probation Ombudsman published an unusually detailed report into complaints by John Dunlop about being assaulted by staff at Whitemoor prison. The Ombudsman found that John was restrained and forced to the floor by staff in the segregation unit for refusing an order to go back into his cell, without being given any time to obey the order, and that the force used was not proportionate or reasonable. Despite not resisting, he was kicked and knelt on, before being dragged to his feet and forced back into the cell. He was then denied access to a doctor and the police liaison officer and his complaints about being assaulted, instead of being properly and formally looked into, were dealt with by a cursory informal investigation which, not surprisingly, concluded that he had no cause for complaint. John has sent FRFI the Ombudsman’s report which we are unable to publish in full in the paper, but which can be accessed via our website.

Private prisons more expensive

As increasing parts of the punishment apparatus are put into the hands of private companies, the Ministry of Justice has been compelled by the parliamentary select committee on justice to publish figures which give the lie to government claims that privatisation saves money. Twenty-three per cent of the prison budget is currently spent on private prisons but private firms only run 13 of the 124 prisons, housing just 18% of the total prison population.

Strangeways revisited

From 13 to 16 September, Bury New Road in Manchester saw scenes reminiscent of the 1990 25-day long Strangeways prison uprising, although this time around just one prisoner took to the roof. Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the handwritten words ‘It’s not 1990, tell the government we’ve all had enough, sort the whole system’, Stuart Horner’s one-man protest attracted a big, supportive crowd who partied and shouted out their solidarity.

Broadmoor – still using ‘face-down restraint’

A report by the Care Quality Commission has rated Broadmoor ‘special hospital’ ‘inadequate’ and told West London Mental Health NHS Trust it must improve its practices in relation to the use of ‘restraints and seclusion’. In 179 out of 432 cases of restraint on people detained in Broadmoor, they were held in the prone position, also known as ‘face-down restraint’, which the government considered banning in 2013.

Britain trains Saudi Arabian torturers

Saudi Arabian Ali Mohammed Al Nimr has been sentenced to death for participating in an illegal demonstration and various other offences, which allegedly took place when he was just 17 years old. His appeal has failed and he is due to be beheaded and then crucified. The charity Reprieve is campaigning to raise international awareness of his case, pointing out that under the auspices of ‘Just Solutions International’, the ‘commercial arm’ of the Ministry for Justice, the British government is actively engaged in training the Saudi Arabian prison service. Reprieve’s director Clive Stafford Smith asks what such ‘just solutions’ entail: ‘How to torture a juvenile? How to affix him to the cross? How much will JSI be paid, 30 pieces of silver?’ For more on this see www.reprieve.org.uk or follow @clivess on twitter.

Help us send FRFI to prisoners!

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! is the only left-wing newspaper in Britain which regularly covers the struggles of prisoners. We send the paper free of charge to any prisoner who requests it and we need the assistance of our readers to help fund this work. Please send us donations of £15 – which pays for a subscription for a prisoner in Britain or Europe for a year, £25 – which funds a subscription for a prisoner in the US, or any other sum you can afford. Send donations to Larkin Publications, BCM 5909, London WC1N 3XX or donate via our website at

www.revolutionarycommunist.org/ our-paper/prisoners-subscription

FRFI 247 October/November 2015

 

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