Campaigners to protest ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ incarceration outside HollowayPosted: April 27, 2016
The ‘violent institutional oppression’ of women and minorities
Campaigners against female incarceration are to stage a demonstration tonight outside Holloway Prison, where Sarah Reed died in January this year.
The protest outside Western Europe’s largest women’s prison has been organised by Sisters Uncut, a direct action group formed in 2014 that protests violence against women.
The organisers expect over 300 people to assemble outside the prison from 6pm this evening. The event is part of the “Women and Trans* Week of Action Against the Prison Industrial Complex” called by the Empty Cages Collective, with the aim of raising awareness of the violence suffered by women and trans people incarcerated and detained in the UK.
Zainab Khan, a member of Sisters Uncut, said: “We can’t fight violence against women unless we fight state violence – simple.”
“Violence against women, especially black women and working class women, is structurally built into our prisons, police and mental health services. Enough is enough – we need to take action!”
The group is taking action to expose the ‘violent institutional oppression’ in police, prisons and mental health services, which are ‘shaped by racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist and class-based oppression’.
‘Dangerous and inhumane’
Prisons are a dangerous and inhumane response to the social problems women face, say Sisters Uncut. Black people are disproportionately criminalised. Of women in prison, 46 per cent are survivors of domestic violence and 53 per cent experienced abuse as children. The vast majority, 81 per cent, have been imprisoned for non-violent offences.
Violence against women is perpetrated not only by family members, the group say, but also by a government that makes cuts to the domestic violence support sector and oppressive and marginalising housing, immigration and welfare policies which prevent women from living safely.
Cherry Haywell, a sector worker who will be attending the march, said: “I am attending this action in solidarity with all the black women who have suffered, and are suffering, all manner of injustice in the so-called ‘justice’ system.
“We need authorities to know that they can’t get away with treating black women in this way. Black lives matter and the lives of all women matter.”