Socialist Worker

LETTERS—Time to tear down the jails

Issue No. 2730

Conditions in prisons are terrible

Conditions in prisons are terrible (Pic: Wikimedia/ Evelyn Simak)


One of my young family members was in prison a while ago. During our visit we were treated like prisoners ourselves—made to wait endlessly in the shabby, dirty facilities.

But at least we could leave. He spent his jail time scavenging things to trade for tins of tuna to supplement the dreadful diet.

I heard another story from a woman whose family member died handcuffed to a hospital bed.

The cuffs weren’t removed for hours after he died.

The latest annual report into deaths and complaints from the chief inspector of prisons shows how widespread these experiences are.

Healthcare often did not meet the required standard, and “was not equivalent to that in the community”.

A prisoner killed himself after being bullied by other inmates. A prison officer “didn’t notice” one of his charges had died in his cell.

A guard chained themselves to a frail, 72 year old inmate after he’d had a heart attack.

Virus in prison system puts inmates lives at risk
Virus in prison system puts inmates' lives at risk
  Read More

The report doesn’t even cover the pandemic. Next year’s report will make for grim reading.

The chief inspector warned four years ago there was no custody centre in England or Wales safe to hold children.

Last month he said there is still no clear vision for improvement. He added, “Too many of our recommendations about improvements in primary and mental healthcare are repeated year after year.”

We should be angry, but not surprised. Prison isn’t there to “rehabilitate” people.

It dispenses ill treatment to overwhelmingly poor, unemployed and often mentally ill people trying to survive in a brutally unequal society.

It’s there to prop up the class divide. Burgle a mansion?

Go to jail.

Make billions from climate‑wrecking fracking like Ineos boss Jim Ratcliffe?

Get a knighthood.

Tear the prisons down—or mothball them for when we bring the Jim Ratcliffes of this world to justice.

Kim Hunter

Scarborough


Rent strike hits back

The University of Manchester (UoM) has broken accommodation contracts and has lied to students.

In retaliation, students have held back what the university cares about most—money.

Moving in September was never going to be easy.

Social distancing and litres of hand sanitiser were anticipated. But what wasn’t anticipated was the shocking response of UoM.

In our contracts they insist that in an event such as a pandemic, UoM will take “reasonable and proportionate steps to mitigate any adverse impact”.

But in reality this consisted of delayed responses to maintenance emergencies and non‑existent mental health support.

Students tear down fencing at Manchester campus as rage boils at lockdown treatment
Students tear down fencing at Manchester campus as rage boils at lockdown treatment
  Read More

Infections skyrocketed.

Some students reached out for support because online food deliveries were limited.

They were told to send the “least ill person” to the supermarket.

When the university did supply food it was often weeks late and rotting within days.

Unemptied bins overflowed and students had to cook in disgusting conditions.

Students emailed their complaints to the accommodation office around 22 October. They were told a particular staff member was on annual leave and would respond from 2 November.

But by 5 November no response had surfaced. So we continue to strike.

Archie Rogers

Manchester


Tories care about Christmas, but not Eid

The Tories keep saying they want to try and get families back together for Christmas. They didn’t say the same for Eid.

During Eid pictures circulated of people praying outdoors while distancing. Yet the media vilified them and complained they weren’t distanced.

The government then announced they needed Muslims to come together to beat the virus.

Back then there was lots of fear mongering and when there is fear, they blame Muslims.

Now their whole rhetoric is about saving Christmas, but they’re not taking the best interests of everyone in.

Had restrictions been put in sooner, Christmas could have been “saved”.

It’s Diwali this month yet Sikhs and Hindus must spend this in lockdown. And Muslims had to spend celebrations in lockdown. There’s been no acknowledgement of this.

We couldn’t see our families during Eid and not everyone could pray in mosques.

It’s frustrating and they keep giving superficial reasons.

The government has no humanity to want to make things better for everyone, only what’s in their own best interests.

Zara Khan

East London


Keir Starmer should stop supporting Tory policies

The Labour Party and its leader Keir Starmer have been weak on calling out the failures of the government. Now they have endorsed a lockdown that will be ineffective.

The failure to close schools will hinder any attempt to stop the community spread of Covid-19. Evidence already shows that schools are an epicentre of spreading the virus.

They should be closed and Starmer should back the unions, not the Tories. Starmer hasn’t put together a comprehensive Covid-19 strategy and has ignored the NEU education union.

Instead he has been spending his time suspending Jeremy Corbyn from Labour.

The party should be fighting for the safety of all school staff and students.

But instead it is pandering to whatever ineffective strategy the Tories want to impose on us.

Nathan Johnston

Newcastle


Keir Starmer’s suspending of Jeremy Corbyn

Labour and the Tories are the same mob, just different colour banners and ties.

Martin Leitch

On Facebook


I’ve already left the Labour Party after being a supporter all my life. My only hope was the last election—hope is now gone!

Ruth Oliver

On Facebook


Starmer never got a knighthood for services to the working class that’s for sure…

John Heath

On Facebook


Jeremy Corbyn is one of the most decent politicians who was sabotaged by the right wing of his own party.

Criticism of Israeli polices and actions should not be conflated with antisemitism.

Fadlullah Wilmot

On Facebook


I re-joined the Labour Party because we voted in a socialist leader.

If he’s banned what’s the use of staying in a right wing party?

The purge started with the expulsion of Derby MP Chris Williamson and was followed by the sacking of shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.

The ironic thing is that Williamson has been cleared of all charges.

Dave Leonard

On Facebook


Tories don’t care for us

Tories only care for themselves and no one else, regardless of age. We’re a commodity to them.

Stephen Rose

On Facebook


Protests, not elections

The protests and strikes taking place in the United States are where real power is.

Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden failed to tap into this power out of fear of being called a socialist.

He isn’t an alternative to Trump.

Eloise Tomlinson

Wycombe


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