Dear Friends and Comrades,
Whilst the world comes to an abrupt halt, with the best course of action for people in this country being to stay at home as much as possible, it can be difficult to think of ways to take action and to support those who are incarcerated. The isolation from loved ones that is a reality for all of us to varying degrees, currently is a constant part of life for people in prison. However, the physical proximity that incarcerated people are forced to live in – overcrowded cages that are notoriously unhygienic – coupled with disastrous healthcare provisions, means they are in incredibly vulnerable positions. The reality of living in prison amidst this pandemic includes further cuts to staffing, resulting in less time out of cells, and less access to washing machines, showers and telephones. Social visits have been banned indefinitely, and when incarcerated people do manage to access phones – prices extortionate as ever – these are generally shared amongst hundreds, which is especially concerning for the transfer of Covid-19.
There is a very real risk of an uncontrolled outbreak of Covid-19 in UK prisons, and this coupled with the increasing difficulties of visiting people in prisons means that prison environments are more stressful than ever. Prisons are – by their very nature – unsafe and unhealthy spaces, with access to healthcare already severely limited. We know that incarcerated people already face systematic medical neglect and abuse, and we know from countless public health publications that prisons push people directly into the paths of epidemics. Incarcerated people are members of the public, and in the midst of this crisis, it is vital that the government act urgently. Any death from Covid-19 in prisons will be state-sanctioned murder.
Therefore, CAPE demands that the Government, and the Ministry of Justice, take swift and immediate action to release all people in prison and detention. Incarcerated and detained people must be released, and placed in safe housing and accommodation, with the necessary support and access to healthcare.
We stand alongside and credit the vital work of NY abolitionist organisers, in making the call – #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth – loud and clear! Today, we are launching 7 days of online action – starting March 26th – to demand the release of all those incarcerated and detained in the UK.
We hope you will join us in calling (MoJ: 020 3334 3555), , tweeting (@MoJGovUK), to let the Ministry of Justice and the Government know that the lives of people in prison are not disposable.
Join us tomorrow for the first day of action! All instructions and full guidance will be provided across CAPE social media! No more deaths in prison! No more state sanctioned murder!
Look out for further guidance on how else you can support people inside at this time, but for now spread the word – and if you haven’t read the excellent open letter currently featured on GalDem then please check it out.
Love and Rage!
Everyone at CAPE
[Information pack for the first day of action:]