bang up and smash
(2017) by asbo.. 2nd edition (2022).. [online resources et al.. but link goes to page not found].. notes/quotes from kindle version from anarchist library [https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/asbo-bang-up-and-smash-womens-prisons-probation-bail-hostels]
If these sound grandiose, I do not apologise. If they sound unrealistic, it is only because our dreams have been so downtrodden by those who seek to control us, both inside and outside our cages.
we have no idea what legit free people are like
To discredit concepts such as reform and rehabilitation, and to expose them for the dangerous façades that they are.
all the red flags
To use anecdotal evidence and first-hand examples of the violence of the prison regime and ‘criminal justice system’ (CJS).
kalief browder and incarceration et al
To show how the frameworks, institutions and technologies used for discipline and control extend far beyond prison walls and create the ‘prison society’.
aka: sea world.. structural violence..
hari rat park law et al
Prison is designed to control, to oppress, to separate and alienate. However, even in “a mansion of aching hearts” there are ways to keep your head held high. It’s easy to fixate on the moment you will leave jail and walk through the gate, but there are many possibilities for rebellion and solidarity along the way. As Albert Libertad said: “Those that envision the goal from the first steps, those that want the certitude of reaching it before walking, never arrive
One of my mates inside called me ASBO and I hope I will always be anti-social. The title of this publication comes from two features of prison life: ‘Bang-up’ (being locked in your cell) and ‘Smash’ (or rather, the budget prison issue version of it, reconstituted potato). I hope it will provide some ‘food for thought’ when the monotony of enforced solitude and cheap carbs threatens to suffocate you in jail!
“When you start doing what could drive people to your side instead of what you think is right, you do politics. From the moment you impose limitations on yourself out of fear of not being understood, you are, de facto already a political entity, and therefore you become part of the problem, one of the many cancers that infect our existence. One should never measure his own words and actions just to become acceptable to people, to the crowd, otherwise there is great risk of being transformed by the very ‘intermediate’ objective he wants to achieve.” Alfredo Cospito
brown belonging law.. maté trump law.. et al
“The prison industrial complex (PIC) is a term we use to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems. Through its reach and impact, the PIC helps and maintains the authority of people who get their power through racial, economic and other privileges.” Critical Resistance website
The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) has described “chronic levels of overcrowding” and how it is connected to “sentence inflation”. This inflation is attributed to the dramatic increase in the length of sentences and tariffs (the minimum term an indeterminate prisoner will serve, before they can start the process of applying for release). The PRT has stated that “no future government should be allowed to preside over the decline in safety, decency and fairness that we have seen in recent years.” Let me be clear: there has never been, and will never be, anything “decent”, “fair” or “safe” about prison. These concepts are the antithesis of the prison industrial complex and to claim that it can ever be reformed along these lines is the most dangerous of ‘red herrings’. In my mind, the only thing connecting these ideas and the PIC is that they are all highly problematic and concerned with maintaining a status quo which I reject and want no part in.
we need a complete/legit re\set.. hari rat park law et al
Apart from construction, the daily operation and logistics of the prison regime also generate big money. According to the report Safety in Custody (a prison led initiative), in 2015 there were 95,631 transfers between jails, and 60,896 prisoners were ‘shipped out’ (moved at short notice) at least once. Many of these transfers were unnecessary, and executed by a handful of companies; such as GeoAmey (or GEO), Serco and G4S. These companies also profit from many other aspects of the PIC, operating in many of the institutions outlined by Stanley and Smith:
“Immigration centres, juvenile justice facilities, county jails, military jails, holding rooms, court rooms, sheriff’s offices, psychiatric institutes, along with other spaces build the vastness of the PIC’s [Prison Industrial Complex] architecture.
“A prison might be defined as any place you’ve been put into against your will and can’t get out of, and where you are entirely at the mercy of the authorities, whoever they may be. Are we turning our entire society into a prison? If so, who are the inmates and who are the guards? And who decides?” Margaret Atwood
all are like whales in sea world
“Prison abolition is not a call to suddenly fling open the prison doors without enacting alternatives. Nor is it an appeal to a utopian ideal. Abolition is a broad based, practical vision for building models today that practice how we want to live in the future.” S. Lamble
ie: a nother way
“It means developing practical strategies for taking small steps that move us toward making our dreams real and that lead us all to believe that things really could be different. It means living this vision in our daily lives. Abolition is both a practical organizing tool and a long-term goal.”
yeah.. not that.. increment/part\ial ness is killing us..
humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity .. simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..
There are many publications and groups which outline alternatives to the prison system and PIC (see resources section). As this text is only concerned with surviving the prison regime in its current form they will not be discussed in detail here.
“Sometimes I think this whole world
Is one big prison yard.
Some of us are prisoners
The rest of us are guards.” Bob Dylan
Joe Black and Bra Bros outlined the triple function of prisons: deterrence (fear of incarceration), incapacitation (containment of individuals) and rehabilitation (of “offending behaviour”).
“The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.” Clarence S. Darrow[
Many politicians have sought to cut their teeth on the prison system in the UK, using the language of rehabilitation to create a benevolent façade whilst promising to create tougher conditions inside. During his time as secretary of state for justice, Michael Gove was outspoken in his contempt for prisoners, before then promising the world in various initiatives that never materialised:
“Abolishing the death penalty has led to a corruption of our criminal justice system, the erosion of all our freedoms and has made the punishment of the innocent more likely. Hanging may seem barbarous but the greater barbarity lies in the slow abandonment of our common law traditions.” Michael Gove
In the ‘Prison Safety and Reform White Paper’, justice secretary, Liz Truss, published plans for increased disciplinary powers for screws and prison staff including: body cameras for prison staff, greater governor autonomy, extended tests for drugs use and no-fly zones (to stop drone drop offs). She also plans to build five new “community houses” for women
During the drafting of this project I read a collection from Ardent Press of historical accounts of French Anarchists. I found it refreshing in its reflection on (and inclusion of) half-formed ideas, incomplete theories, and assorted quotations:
One of the biggest challenges within these words was the selection of labels. How best to articulate myself without employing the rhetoric of the state? How to be clear in my analysis, without using damaging stereotypes? Kilgore and others have argued that many labels used to describe “formerly incarcerated people” are examples of “stigmatizing language”. However, whilst I have attempted to avoid any language that is discriminatory, I have used the terms prisoner and ex-prisoner.
marsh label law and all the red flags
Some labels are needed to move forward with the discussion so I hope that I have chosen the least offensive, but convenient options. Personally, I have no problems with people referring to me as an ex-prisoner, however, many other labels relating to incarceration and the legal system are highly problematic. ‘Offender’ implies guilt, as does the word ‘criminal’. The language of law is the language of domination and I do not want to perpetuate that.
language as control/enclosure et al
“Many people who never go to court are offensive people, and the greater someone’s social power the greater their opportunities to impose their offensiveness on others.” Karlene Fait
Angela Y. Davis stated, “we have not learned how to talk about prisons as institutions that collect and hide away the people whom society treats as it’s refuse.”
Many articles concerning women’s prisons state in a strident shower of liberal outrage that women should not be in jail. Reformist organisations and criminologists claim that this incarceration destroys families, and lives, and that women have ‘complex needs’ that jail does not address. Let me be clear: no one should be in jail. Prison is poison. As Stanley and Smith have argued: “Reform is a pathway to more insidious forms of subjugation and disguises itself as humanity, hope, freedom, and possibly may end up destroying us in the end.”
Audre Lorde famously stated in Sister Outsider: “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” The use of PSIs and legal precedents will never bring about the end of the prison industrial complex. However, when you are in jail you need to utilise all that you can to challenge staff and this can mean using some random acts, figures and legislation.
need: a legit nother way
part 1: inside
1 – reception/induction
The individual becomes solely responsible for their destiny, and the state is presented as some kind of benevolent organisation seeking to cure or improve those unruly women who have rejected its norms and moral codes.
It also recorded that rates of learning disabilities, communication impairments and autistic spectrum disorder were ten times as high within the so- ‘care system’ as the general population
crazywise (doc) et al
2 – manufacturing obedience
Liz Truss has outlined plans to install ‘phone jammers’ (“denial and disruption technology” which would block mobile phone signal within prisons. However, this procedure is prohibitively expensive.
As Davis stated, the PIC is dependent on expansion to survive, and “prisons play a central role in the process of manufacturing crime and manufacturing criminals.”
As with any aspect of mental health services inside, once you have been put on an ACCT, it is difficult to go back under the radar of the prison staff. The same is true if you get put on a ‘WAVE’ book (the anti-bullying book).
It’s a cliché but true that prison teaches you to savour really simple things in life. Even if you are on basic there are always little things; a kind note or silly joke from a friend, the sound of the wind outside, sunlight through your window. For all the days that drag on interminably in a fog of predictability and frustration these moments are so precious.
“Surround yourself with positive people. Keep in contact with those you love on the outside. Inside-build relationships with a few people but avoid drama/mix up. It’s important that people will understand that you’ll have good and bad days and who listen don’t just off load and judge. Read for escapism. Sing and dance like you are on your own. For some people, it’s the gym. Take care of yourself and your room, decorate it, make it personal. Spend as much time outdoors as possible. Always listen to others even the dull, ignorant and judgemental as we all have issues, and sometimes they just need an ear. Go to bed at night time with a clear conscience, know that you have done all that you can in that day. Don’t dwell on the stuff outside your control. Ignore staff and their silly games and attitudes. Most of all: laugh and smile.”
3 – everyday life
4 – legal
5 – bigger cages longer chains
ROTLs are perfect for big business because they get cheap labour and can dress it up in some philanthropic nonsense. Richard Branson has bigged-up Virgin Trains as benevolently “giving people the dignity of work”; by recruiting 25 candidates who had recently left the prison system. Branson has also publicised Virgin trains use of prison labour: “The more productive you can make people while they are in prison the more they can learn and the better their chances of succeeding once they are let out”
supposed to’s of school/work et al
6 – protection?
7 – last few weeks
8 – solidarity
part 2: on road
1 – release
2 – practical info
“You go into prison fast. You come out slowly”
“I’d spent so much time locked up inside my own head that I had to learn everything again, including how to be myself. I felt warped and self-conscious, raw but dulled, aggressive and cold-hearted but at the same time vulnerable.”
The mix of emotions Cattermole outlined is exhausting and exactly what I experienced release from jail. I was much happier inside than when I was on my licence (and specifically, in the bail hostel). When you are in jail you potentially have good support, and you are psychologically prepared to battle every day. When you are on licence, it’s much more confusing (especially if your conditions mean you can’t access most of your support network).
“In prison I felt safe from the outside world. Women surrounded me and I wasn’t judged. Little did I realise my sentence would begin when I went home”.
I can’t emphasise enough how grim being on licence is. I accepted my conditions for my family. I don’t regret it because it helped me build bridges with them and prove that whilst I maintained my political beliefs, I was still their daughter/sister. However, I will never accept licence conditions again. If I end up back behind enemy lines, I’m doing my whole sentence inside. Every day I was on my licence felt like a disgusting compromise, one of Libertad’s “partial suicides”
ccostello screen\service law ness.. and hari rat park law ness
3 – license
“You have to figure out what you really believe in and then find other people who feel the same way. The only thing you have to do alone is to decide what’s important to you.” -feinberg (1993)
imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..
what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people
One of the main things to remember when you return home is that throughout your sentence -inside and out- you have been in a highly controlled, artificial environment. Being released from this is glorious but not without its impacts. Using a computer was extremely draining the first few times I did it and I got frustrated with myself. When my new phone number got circulated I was overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to say hi, but would then berate myself for feeling like this (what a privilege; to have so many friends!) If I knew people I cared about where having a hard time, I wanted to be able to support them (especially those who had supported me inside), but after several attempts, I had to accept that I needed all my energy to support myself. Bumping into people in the street was way more challenging than it had been previously, and whilst I loved going out with my crew, I didn’t like the unknown potential for random social interaction.
all of us need detox.. need a means to undo our hierarchical listening
tech as it could be
I have been aware since my arrest of the unasked questions that hang in the air, the inquisitive looks and attempts to find out what’s been going on for me. I know that most of these have come from places of concern, but I have become highly suspicious of and resistant to them.
Words I Never Want to Hear…..
Probation, rehabilitation, education, recommendation, adjudication, consideration, legislation, documentation, intervention, collaboration, protection, condition, application (your app is different from my app).
Regime, pro-social, scenario, risk, management, community, dialogue, meaningful, development, safety, initiative, treatment, safeguarding, compliance, enabling, non-violent, minimising, duty of care, restraint, constructive, productive, offending behaviour, psychological profile, extremist, anti-terrorism, secure/security, approved/approval, justice, meaningful, opportunity, curfew.
all the red flags of language as control/enclosure et al
The ‘Standard Six’ Licence Conditions:
– To be of good behaviour behaved and not to commit any offence or do anything that undermines the purpose of supervision; (PI09/2015 the ‘Good Behaviour Mechanism’)
any form of m\a\p as poison
need: a nother way
incarceration et al
kalief browder .. bird uncaged.. et al