Prison

The making of an anarchist in Portlaoise prison

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In 2010 I was sentenced to 6 years for having possession of 20 grams of explosive powder.  I was to serve 4 years and 8 months in Portlaoise prison.  This is not an in-depth study into prison and jails, and it is not an academic piece. It is simply an experience. My experience of jail will be different than other people’s experience because no two people’s experience will ever be the same. The other person’s experience will always be different no matter how great or small.   

My experience started with 3 days questioning in a Garda station in Mountjoy. After the questioning was over I was charged with having an explosive substance, having materials used to build explosives and membership of an illegal organization.

From the Garda station I was brought straight to the special criminal court which was in Green Street courthouse at the time. I was brought to the holding cell, which resembled something out of a cowboy film or a medievil film. There was no door on the cell, there was a gate made from bars. On the wall of the cell were messages written on the wall by people that have come through here, messages of support, people's names with numbers beside their name indicating how many years the person got, names of different republican groups, pictures of soldiers with guns, symbols such as the hammer and sickle.

London burns - causes & consequences of the riots - an anarchist perspective

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The police killing of Mark Duggan resulted in four nights of rioting across England. The immediate trigger was the killing itself, and the disrespect shown by the police to Mark’s family and friends. But the riots rapidly broadened to expressions of a more general anger and alienation; an anger that was all too often unfocused and striking out at the nearest target of opportunity. This resulted in widespread destruction of resources in already deprived neighborhoods and some anti-social attacks on bystanders. Despite this, the roots of the riots lie in the economic and political conditions of these districts, and not in ‘poor parenting’ or ‘mindless criminality’. These conditions were created by the very politicians and business elite who now call for a return to normality and repression. [French translation]

(Image: By SkyFireXII via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0)

Crime, Punishment, and Community Policing

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The term 'community policing' has been much abused in recent times, most particularly in the North of Ireland where it has become shorthand for vicious punishment beatings and shootings. In this article Gregor Kerr takes a look at the issue of community policing - what it is and more importantly what it isn't. The question of what levels of real community policing would actually be possible or allowed under capitalism is looked at, and the debate about crime, anti-social behaviour and reactions to it in an anarchist society is touched on. (pic: Anti-heroin dealer march, N. Inner city Dublin c1996 Photo Joe Black)

 

 

Crime, Punishment & Community policing

From Sacco and Vanzetti to the Craigavon 2

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The 23rd of August marked the 91st  anniversary of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. They were both executed in the US in 1927 for the supposed robbery of a shoe factory killing of a guard and paymaster. During their trial the prosecution produced conflicting ballistic evidence and witness testimony. The defence had several witness saying where the accused men were on the day of the robbery and killings. This should have proven Sacco and Vanzetti innocence but instead both were convicted and sentenced to death. They were killed for their beliefs, they were insurrectionary anarchists “that advocated relentless warfare against a violent and oppressive government.”

Derry march to demand release of Tony Taylor now interned 500 days

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Several hundred people marched through the streets of Derry 23 July to demand the immediate release of Derry political prisoner Tony Taylor, interned without trial by the British State for 500 days. In marking this occasion of his 500 day of incarceration Anarchists in Derry joined with the relatives, friends of Tony Taylor including other a number of republican organisations, socialists, trade union and human rights activists, the largest seen in the city for a number of years.

Dublin solidarity vigil for anarchist prisoner Umut Firat on hunger strike in Turkish prison

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On Wednesday the 1st of February there was a solidarity vigil for Umut Firat in Dublin, Ireland. Umut is a writer for the recently jailed in Turkey and on the 53rd day of a hunger strike. Anarchist Meydan Newspaper Anarchists and supporters of Umut’s hunger strike gather outside the Turkish Embassy. Turkish embassy staff came out to mock the protesters. Embassy staff called the police to have get the protesters to remove a banner that was tied to the fence of the embassy. The banner said FREE UMUT FIRAT! SOLIDARITY FROM IRELAND. The police stayed on till the vigil was over.

Anti - Interment picket in Newry - report from Dublin ABC

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On Saturday in Newry Co Down the Anti-Interment Group of Ireland held a white line picket to highlight the prison struggle and fight for justice of Republican prisoners. Dublin Anarchist Black Cross attended and sent us the following report on the protest.

“There were many people in attendance from different groups and organizations giving their solidarity. there was a police presence throughout the picket.

Representatives from four different groups read out statements Cogus, Dublin Anarchist Black Cross, I.R.P.W.A and the Save Moore Street Campaign. The chairperson, Cabs Kavanagh, of the Anti-Interment Group of Ireland thanked everyone and every group in attendance.

Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry Protest for Basic Conditions in 2015

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Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison will be coming off their protest on Monday 19th of October. The prisoners were on protest for 9 weeks because of the closing of a hatch in the kitchen that prevents ventilation and the prisoners receiving their food.

The prison administration struck a deal with the protesting prisoners, confirming they will open the kitchen hatch which will let the prisoner “prepare and consume meals in a dignified manner” [1]. Tomorrow the prisoners will return eating the two meals (lunch and dinner) which are granted by the jail.
 

Free Republican Prisoner Willy Wong

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A case that needs highlighting is the case of Republican prisoner Willy Wong - he is held in Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim. In March 2010 he was arrested along with another man and charged, eventually convicted of possession of a pipe bomb. He was sentenced very differently to the way Republican prisoners (and social prisoners) usually get sentenced. He was sentenced for an undetermined period, but after 5 years inprisoned it would be up to the Parole Board to decide when he is to be released.

Willy Wong was 22 when arrested, he is now 27 years old, he is still in jail. In March he was up in front of the Parole Board. The board came to the conclusion that Willy Wong is not “eligible” for release. The board said they believe he was not “totally reformed” or had not “fully regretted his actions”.
 

Migrant seriously assaulted during Cloverhill prison riot - release Walli Ullah

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A disturbing feature of the prison rebellion in Cloverhill yesterday was that, if the prison is to be believed, a large group of prisoners took a fellow prisoner as a hostage seemingly because he was a migrant.

Up to 60 prisoners were initially involved in a protest in the exercise yard. 45 agreed to return to their cells while according to media reports "armed themselves with homemade weapons, including razor wire and goalposts" and took Walli Ullah, an asylum seeker who is being held in Cloverhill as a hostage and subjected him to a violent beating.

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