Help the Incarcerated at HMP Lowdham Grange
Prisons will always be a place of punishment, not rehabilitation, but what rehabilitative functions exist in UK prisons are also degrading. As of 2022/23, it has been reported through inspections that many prisons are overcrowded, provide those incarcerated little time out of their cells, and leave them in danger of violence and their own poor mental health.
One such failing prison is HMP Lowdham Grange, which was described to have an atmosphere of ‘uncertainty and anxiety,’ and as falling significantly on incarcerated people’s safety. Originally under the management of Serco, the prison is now run by Sodexo, a company mostly known for food service but which has a branch for prison facilities. Despite claims of change uttered in response to a BBC article highlighting the prisons’ failures, letters from the inside seem to indicate that very little progress has actually been made.
The Commoner and IWW's IWOC have been in contact with a prisoner by the name of Tom Fairclough, who has compiled a report on how the Prison has let him and other prisoners down. In his letters, he repeatedly describes his frustration with Sodexo and its staff, who he feels are simply looking to make money off the situation. There is a lot of money to be made from crime, which can be seen in the steady import of privately owned prisons from the USA into the UK from the 1990s onwards. There are now 16 private prisons in the UK, 14 of which are in England and Wales. Through a cut-throat commitment to profit margins, privately owned prisons exacerbate the worst aspects of the carceral system, with 77% being overcrowded and suffering a worse rate of violence within their walls. And whatever the claims of these companies, prison expansion has only increased rates of incarceration, a fact which is an inevitable part of a system which incentivises punishment.
Therefore we are issuing a list of demands to Sodexo's Director for the Prison, Damian Evans, to put pressure on the privately owned prison to make the changes needed to improve the quality of life and rehabilitation of the prisoners.