Fears that Britain’s prisons are at crisis point after growing unrest

HM Prison Brockhill source: The Guardian
published: 28 March 2015

Hostage incidents and disturbances across the country’s jails are rising sharply, intensifying fears that Britain’s prisons are at crisis point. The mounting unrest has seen a corresponding increase in the deployment of specialist teams sent in to the prison estate to quell riots and protests.

Figures cited in a letter from prisons minister Andrew Selous to shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, deposited in the parliamentary library, reveal that in 2010, the year the coalition took power, there were 16 hostage incidents in which a prisoner held either another prisoner or a prison officer against their will.

For the year June 2013 to May 2014, the most up-to-date figures cited in the letter, the number had increased to 73.

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Angela Davis: ‘unbroken line of police violence in US takes us back to slavery’

US Police Line Upsource: The Guardian
published: 14 December 2014

“There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan,” says Angela Davis. “There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.”

I had asked the professor, activist, feminist and revolutionary, the woman whom Richard Nixon called a terrorist and whom Ronald Reagan tried to fire as a professor, if she was angered by the failure of a grand jury to indict a white police officer for shooting dead an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year.

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Police fire teargas and rubber bullets at Michael Brown protesters

SWAT Officersource: The Guardian
published: 14 August 2014

Heavily armed police in Missouri fired teargas and rubber bullets to force hundreds of protesters out of the centre of Ferguson on Wednesday, as the crackdown on demonstrations over the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old intensified on their fourth night.

Dozens of officers, some carrying assault rifles, advanced with a pair of armoured trucks on the young and predominantly African American crowd, after two glass bottles were thrown at their lines from a largely peaceful protest against the shooting of Michael Brown by a city policeman.

Demonstrators, who for hours had sniper rifles trained on them while they protested with their hands up as an emblem of peaceful protest, complained that they were subjected to military-style tactics as they fled through gas-filled residential side-streets.

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