Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Saturday 13th September

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Bristol ABC will have a stall at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair
Saturday, 13th September
10am-5pm
St Werburgh’s Community Centre
Horley Road
BS2 9TJ

We are sharing our stall, situated in the community centre foyer, with Haven Distribution (Books to Prisoners) – come share a cup of tea, have a chat, check out our information leaflets…and maybe even buy a T Shirt or patch?

We hope to see you there!

For more information, please visit the Bookfair website:
www.bristolanarchistbookfair.org

Our neighbours in the Olympic medals table

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BRISTOL

ABC

Imprisonment Tables 2008

Rank Country

Total

Prisoners per 100,000 of national population

Prisoners held on remand/
pre-trial

Number of prisons

1 USA

2,299,116

762

21.0%

5,069

2 China

1,565,771

119

est 06.0%

est 800

3 Russian Federation

894,855

635

15.6%

1,051

18 United Kingdom

83,601

154

16.2%

140

Source – http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/

Let’s not strive to join the USA, China and Russia at the top of the imprisonment table by 2012…

Prisoners’ Justice Day, 10th August, every year

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“Prisoners Justice Day is…the day to remind people that the criminal justice system and the psychiatric system are mutually reinforcing methods that the state uses to control human beings.“

-Prisoners’ Justice Day Committee, 2001
http://www.prisonjustice.ca/politics/1014_history.html#PJDis

Prisoners’ Justice Day 2008 was commemorated at HMP Styal (Chester), in tribute to the work of Pauline Campbell, who protested outside any women’s prison in England and Wales where a prisoner had recently died. Pauline’s daughter, Sarah, died at Styal in 2003, within a day of being sent there. Pauline demonstrated outside HMP Eastwood Park (near Bristol) more than once against the deaths in custody at this women’s prison. Sadly, Pauline took her own life in May of this year.

The Campbell family’s devastating experience should be a reminder to us all that every crime has many victims, often including the ‘perpetrator’ and their family. It is the vulnerable people of the UK who end up in prison: working class men and women, often failed by the educational system which is so under-resourced it cannot address different individual learning styles and mental-health concerns; foreign nationals, at a disadvantage because of language and systematic racism; anyone who cannot pay for their substance addictions without resorting to crime; political prisoners prepared to put their freedom on the line to build a better world.

In solidarity with the event at HMP Styal this weekend, Bristol activists hung a banner at a junction 2 of the M32, to draw attention to the plight of prisoners in the UK and elsewhere.

For more information, see links below:

Bristol Anarchist Black Cross:
http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/

History of the Anarchist Black Cross:
http://www.anarchistblackcross.org/abc/why.html

Pauline’s obituary:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/may/16/prisonsandprobation1

INQUEST:
http://inquest.gn.apc.org/index.html

No More Prisons:
http://www.alternatives2prison.ik.com/

The Matrix Knowledge Group research into the economic case for and against prison interventions and their alternatives: http://www.matrixknowledge.co.uk/prison-economics/

Prof David Wilson’s Guardian Comment piece on prison abolition: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/23/prisonsandprobation.communities

Jack Straw’s Ministerial Statement on the Titan Prison consultation:
http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/announcement050608a.htm

…and criticism of the prison building plans from Rethinking Crime and Punishment:
http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/titan-prison-plans-under-attack

M32 banner

Too Many Prisons, Not Enough Justice!!

Bristol ABC meeting this Wednesday 13th August

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Regular monthly discussion and letter-writing meeting of Bristol ABC
Wednesday 13th August
7-9pm
Kebele Social Centre, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, BS5
http://www.kebelecoop.org
email: bristol_abc@riseup.net
Drinks and snacks provided

We provide stationery, stamps, envelopes, and campaign information – you provide the written word and creative ideas!

This meeting is held in conjunction with the ‘Letters I Wish I’d Written’ group, who also meet monthly at the Kebele Social Centre. For more information, please check: http://www.kebelecoop.org/images/event_letters_may08.pdf

Anarchist Black Cross history:
http://www.anarchistblackcross.org/abc/why.html

Bristol ABC meeting 9th July 7pm

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Regular monthly meeting of Bristol ABC
Wednesday 9th July
7-9pm
Kebele Social Centre, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, BS5
http://www.kebelecoop.org

Drinks and snacks provided

Come join us at the Kebele Social Centre for our monthly letter-writing and discussion meeting.
We provide stationery, envelopes and stamps – you provide the letter-writing muscle!

If you have any questions about this, please email us at bristol_abc@riseup.net

Urgent support for Daniel McGowan (USA)

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Daniel McGowan, a well-known Green-Scare prisoner in the United States, has been transfered to Columbia County Jail and his supporters are concerned that he might be called to testify in front of a Grand Jury, which he won’t do. His refusal to cooperate may lead to more prison time, which won’t be counted as part of his current sentence.

His supporters are asking that people write letters of support to him:
Daniel McGowan
Columbia County Jail
403 Jackson Street
Portage, Wisconsin 53901

Guidelines for writing to Daniel: http://www.supportdaniel.org/news/#Anchor-49575

It is not known how long he will be held
at the County Jail, so write soon!

Prisons Campaigner Found Dead Beside Daughter’s Grave

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Bristol ABC wishes to send it’s deepest sympathies to those who knew and worked with Pauline Campbell.  Pauline has been a tireless campaigner against deaths of women in custody since the tragic death of her daughter Sarah in 2003.  She was awarded the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize in October 2005. The prize is awarded each year to a woman or group who has, through their actions, writing or campaigning; raised awareness of violence against women and children. Pauline visited Bristol in September 2007 to talk at the Kebele about her daughter’s death, the state’s admission that they had failed her and her ongoing struggle.  Tragically Pauline was found dead on the grave of her daughter, whos death in custody motivated her struggle for justice.

Links for more information/related news:

Prisons campaigner Pauline Campbell found dead beside daughter’s
grave
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/05/398885.html

A Shameful admission
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/sep/27/crime.penal

Venue’s Shameful Class War
http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/2007/11/07/venues-shameful-class-
war/

In other news Bristol ABC notes the arrival of two new groups
campaigning around justice for the Angloa 3 –
http://angola3london.org/ and http://www.myspace.com/awhw

There is a letter-writing that meets at Kebele – please get in touch if you are interesting in coming along!

Monthly meeting Wednesday 21st May

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Bristol ABC / Letters I Wish I'd Written meeting
21st May
7-9pm
Kebele Social Centre
14 Robertson Road, BS5

Tea, coffee and biscuits provided

www.kebelecoop.org

Bristol ABC, in conjunction with the Letters I Wish I'd
Written group,is having it's regular monthly meeting this
Wednesday at the Kebele Social Centre. 

Contact information for prisoners requesting support
will be available, as well as postcards, envelopes and
stamps.

Everyone is welcome - please join us to write much
needed letters of solidarity to prisoners
throughout Europe and North America.
There are several anti-fascist prisoners seeking
support, so we especially need people who can
write in Italian, Greek, Czech and Russian.

We also welcome any ideas for support campaigns
as well as suggestions for the long-running
campaign to support the Angola 3 in the
United States.

Please email bristol_abc@riseup.net if you've got
any questions about the meeting or are unable to
attend but would like us to
pass on news about prisoner support campaigns and events.

Private prisons are actually worse than public ones!

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See the BBC News report here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7197489.stm

Althought the Prison Service claims that comparisons between the private and public sector prisons are irrelevant because of different ways of collecting data, it would be good to keep this prisons ‘league table’ in mind when the government is handing out contracts for the Titan prisons it intends to start building soon…

Prison News Follow Up

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Following our article on Venue’s shameful note of class war, we note with interest;

“Today the government gives its response to the Corston report – published earlier in the year it was set up to look at the state of women’s prisons. Its most radical recommendation was that women’s jails should be abolished within ten years and replaced with community based centres.”

So while the Venue writer thought it funny and entertaining that anyone would consider abolishing prisons, in the case of women’s prisons, and the subject of the original post that attracted the Venue writer – this is exactly what is being proposed.

It should also be noted that this government, having rammed the prisons to capacity and beyond is planning to splash out another £1.2 billion on jails;

“The government is to build up to three supersize prisons, holding about 2,500 inmates each, as part of a programme to tackle the overcrowding crisis by increasing jail capacity by 10,500 places within seven years.

The justice secretary, Jack Straw, announced that he had secured an extra £1.2bn, on top of £1.5bn already committed, for a building programme which will see the capacity of jails in England and Wales increase to 96,000 by 2014.”

We wonder how much of this windfall will go to private prison contractors? How much will the new jails make people feel safer? Given the high proportion of people inside for economic crimes – unpaid debt and so forth, readers may find the following thread useful;

Avoiding Debt, and avoiding prison
http://libcom.org/node/6372