Skip to content or view screen version

No more deaths in custody! - Prisoners Justice Day! London

RCG - FRFI | 13.08.2008 00:23 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | London

Campaigners gathered outside Holloway Prison, London on Sunday 10 August to remember all the women who have died there, to protest against all deaths in prison and to remember the massive contribution to the struggle against prison brutality made by Pauline Campbell, who died earlier this year.

Members and supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, London Coalition Against Poverty and Women in Prison gathered outside Holloway Prison on Sunday 10 August 2008, Prisoners Justice Day.

This annual event around the world gives solidarity to all those incarcerated in prison and remembers all those who have died at the hands of a brutal negligent inhuman prison system.

The demonstrations for Prisoners Justice Day 2008 at Holloway Prison in London and in Wilmslow, Cheshire at Styal prison were held as a tribute to Pauline Campbell who tragically died in May this year.

Pauline was the mother of Sarah Campbell found dead in Styal Prison in 2003, aged 18 and the youngest of six women who died in Styal that year. Following Sarah’s death Pauline dedicated her life to raising the issues facing women in prison and in particular campaigning against women’s deaths – women murdered at the hands of the prison service. Every time a woman died, Pauline was outside the prison to highlight the tragedy of yet another loss of a young life, of a mother, a sister, a daughter.

There have been forty such deaths of women in the five years since Sarah Campbell died in January 2003. Outside Holloway prison, placards and banners gave the message to passers by on foot, in cars and in buses: No more deaths in custody! No more prisons! People stopped and many vehicles hooted in support, as chants rang out over the megaphone.

The London demonstration remembered in particular the five young women who have died in Holloway Prison in the last four years: Julie Hope and Heather Waite in 2004, Karen Fletcher in 2005, Marie Cox and Jamie Pearce in 2007.

In the words of Pauline Campbell, earlier this year: ‘No civilised society should tolerate prisons that drive their inmates to killing themselves. Likewise, no civilised government should allow this shameful state of affairs to continue.’

Checkout our action at the Styal event

- e-mail:
- Homepage:


Hide the following 2 comments


13.08.2008 10:16

Most people die from self abuse, e.g. drugs overdoses or they hang themselves (deaths in prisons)...

Better drug treatment programs and better mental health worker/medical access in prisons is the answer here.

The guards do not beat people to death in UK prisons.

If you have concerns about prisons in the UK why not join the IMB (independent monitoring board)...

You can turn up, unannounced, 24/7 and area allowed unrestricted access to a prison and prisoners and you report what you find to the home office and if you have any grave concerns issues detected being ignored you can just report this to the press...

Problems only get solved when people get up and actually do something themselves. Waving a placard about deaths in custody will achieve ZERO positive outcome, actually getting on the monitoring boards and visiting is the way to get improvements and properly document concerns.


Actually Carlo...

13.08.2008 11:31

Although the majority of non-natural deaths are suicide, people DO get murdered by guards in British prisons - including 15 year old Gareth Myatt.

Pauline Campbell thought waving placards, getting arrested, writing letters, speaking to MPs, going on marches, joining organisations like the Howard League and Inquest, contacting the press etc were ALL valid ways of campaigning against deaths like that of her daughter. I expect she'd have welcomed anyone who joined the IMB with the aim of reducing violence against prisoners and improving treatment for those with drug and mental health problems. But she wouldn't have said they must do one form of complaint/campaign at the expense of another. She'd have said it was all valid.

But at the end of the day, Pauline's talking to committees, IMBs etc was taken seriously BECAUSE everyone knew she was also prepared to stand outside prisons and be arrested if needs be. So don't attack the people who are commemorating her work and continuing to draw attention to deaths in custody just because you prefer a different tactic - assuming you are actually doing something yourself and not just lecturing those who are.