Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Holloway (The prison, not the road)

Missed the first one of these, I think.
I used to live one minutes walk from Holloway prison. Now I live but ten minutes away. So it's interesting to have a nose around and see what's ganning on inside. It's a fairly normal looking building, not very scary. I don't think they'd shoot you if you tried to escape, like in Alcatraz.
The first thing that struck me about the inmates was; chav attack! I don't think they'd appreciate my indie schtick in there. Luckily I'm a law abiding citizen so I have no need to worry. Ahem!
Nice; one of the girls was jailed for smashing a glass in someone's face after downing ten pints of lager. Classy.
Hold up! They have a swimming pool?!!! A free gym! Three meals a day! I want to go into a Daily-Mail style rant about holiday camps. But it's the people that really make the place, and they really make me want to be a good, good girl.
It's funny the doors are painted pastel pink, isn't it, like a little homage to femininity in the face of extreme brutality.
Why would someone smash up the TV in their cell three times? I'd rather smash up both my legs than my TV. Their TVs were MASSIVE too, and they get to watch telly ALL night! Result.
Urgh... I hate hearing women say 'bird'; it really offends me. It's like watching a woman self-harm. I know it's the least of their problems in there, but it speaks volumes about having no respect for yourself.
The show was quite interesting. It's funny how long the sentences you get for smuggling drugs, as opposed to acts of violence, isn't it? The Estonian drug smuggling girl was cute, seemed smart and was probably just desperate; I felt sorry for her stuck in there with some of the others. The actual conditions in the prison seemed OK. But then they should be. It's London, not the third world. Part of the punishment is being away from home; your liberty denied, not torture.
Even so, 12 women have committed suicide in prison in the last three years, so it can't be that cushy.
One girl said she enjoyed being in prison and was 'gutted to leave next week'. She said she felt 'safe' locked in. She got 4 months for assaulting a police officer and possession of a knife. Hardly a tough sentence, is it? The day she got let out, she got into trouble with the police all over again.
It was actually very sad what some of these young women had been through. Some of them have never had a chance. Women in prison is certainly a feminist issue. But that doesn't make me feel any better if one of 'em smashes a glass in my face.

1 comment:

Ossian said...

Last week they said that Holloway was known for running the best detox program(me) around. One of them last week said she had committed the smallest possible crime that she knew would get her in, because she wanted to go on the detox program - and she did (to get off heroin by progressively reduced doses of methadone). if you can believe it. the sight of her gulping back a great cup of methadone like pop handed across a counter was quite something, especially when she complained they were giving her too much. you couldn't make it up. but if authorities are reading this, please treat some of these self-harmers as mental cases not as disciplinary issues. they need therapy not stalag colditz or whatever.