A secret world exists within the high security prison estate in England, known as the Close Supervision Centre (CSC) system. The dehumanisation of CSC prisoners begins at a very early stage, in the official justification for the creation of the CSC system, which focuses on the need to contain a new breed of unmanageable and unpredictable risks. It continues with the creation of classificatory categories of ‘dangerousness’ which objectify prisoners and make more of the category and less of the human in them, and it is reinforced by the tightly controlled and highly regulated routines.
In addition to isolation and extremely restricted movements, prisoners’ in-cell belongings are carefully regulated and subjected to relentless scrutiny and inspection. Prisoners remain in CSC units for years, decades even, made frustrated, angry and bored by their experiences with few avenues to vent their anger and with almost no opportunities to advance through the system. All perceived acts of disobedience or non-compliance by CSC prisoners, even of the most petty kind, are responded to brutally by gangs of prison officers clad in full riot gear who show no mercy when demonstrating their authority and power, sanctioned by Prison Service management at the highest levels. Rather than controlling violence, as it officially aims to do, this hyper-controlled environment breeds it.
Having now spent six years subject to the unofficial punishment of allocation to the CSC myself, it is clear that without real pressure to force the required change nothing but more negative and oppressive measures will be added.
Please lend your support for the abolition of the CSC system by attending the protest demonstration:
21 July between 12.30pm and 2.30pm outside the offices of the Prison Ombudsman and Independent Monitoring Board, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS.
Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
Close Supervision Centre, HMP Wakefield, 5 Love Lane, Wakefield WF2 9AG