On Saturday, 14 May, the Reclaim Justice Network and Islington Kill the Housing Bill organised a march to Holloway prison. The demonstration, attended by around 80 activists, was supported by the local MP and leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn along with other local and national organisations.
The demonstration marched from Holloway Road to Holloway prison where a rally took place. The Islington Gazette, reported ‘Holloway Prison protest: Jeremy Corbyn joins demo calling for social housing to replace jail’.
Holloway prison in North London is closing as part of wider government reforms to close old prisons and build 9 new institutions. It is suspected the site at Holloway will be sold to property developers for luxury flats, when there are 18,000 families on the Islington housing waiting list alone. The prison site is public land and should be used for public housing.
Many of the women in Holloway prison, who have now been transferred to prisons outside London, were vulnerable and homeless before they were sentenced. Good quality, safe, low-cost council housing and decent services would have prevented many entering criminal justice in the first place.
The Islington Tribune also covered the demonstration and reported on comments made by Rebecca Roberts speaking on behalf of the Reclaim Justice Network at the rally;
“We need a council housing revolution, not a prison building revolution.
“The government is going to be closing prisons across the country and selling them to the private sector. There is a huge land-grab taking place.
“We want facilities and housing and places of safety for the women of London. The land at Holloway is our property. It is owned by the public and we must not give it up.
“We want social justice, not criminal justice. We want council homes, not prisons and we need services not prison sentences.”
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