After Holloway: Consultation with women affected by the criminal justice system has been published by Women in Prison and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. The report comprises of a consultation with 50 women affected by the criminal justice system, many of whom were imprisoned in HMP Holloway, and asks whether and how the closure has had an impact and ideas for what they would like to now see developed on the site.
The closure of Holloway was botched and I hope the government has learned the lessons from this. The closure has also ignited a campaign – Community Plan for Holloway – aimed at achieving a positive legacy: a redeveloped site guided by the needs and aspirations of the local population. The momentum behind this campaign highlights the potential for the positive redevelopment of former prison sites, using the land to promote human flourishing, rather than punishment and exclusion.
The year of Holloway’s closure, 2016, saw the highest number of deaths in the women’s prison estate on record. Two years later and prison governors and staff have worked hard to recover from the closure. However, the whole experience of the closure has shown that women in prison are still completely invisible. They have been pushed further out of sight, and continue to be harmed by the criminal justice system.