Last week our Deputy Director, Will McMahon, took Sian Berry, London Assembly Member for the Green Party on a tour around the now closed Holloway prison site in north London.
Putting the local community at the heart of redevelopment plans for the former women's prison in north London.
In late August news sources reported that commercial property consultants Bilfinger GVA have been instructed to advise on the sale of the Holloway prison land and up to 5,000 flats were to be built on the site with an end value in excess of £2 billion. Yesterday the Ministry of Justice confirmed the appointment of Bilfinger GVA, but there are good reasons to be wary about the reports of space for thousands of homes.
Women in Prison, in collaboration with the Reclaim Justice Network, have set up a website for their campaign demanding that council housing be built on the site of soon-to-be sold Holloway prison. The prison is due to be closed this summer and the land will likely be sold to property developers to build luxury flats that very few people can afford.
Jeremy Corbyn has said that he hopes to attend a march taking place in Holloway, this Saturday, calling on the government to build council housing rather than luxury flats on the site of HMP Holloway.
Speaking to the press, the Labour leader, in whose constituency the prison is based said:
Maureen Mansfield and Hannah Pittaway writing for the Left Foot Forward website outline some of the issues arising from the forthcoming closure of Holloway prison - the only women's prison in London. They argue that
The closure of Holloway appears to be neither for the benefit of women or Londoners. However, it can be used as an opportunity to frame a new conversation around imprisonment, social justice and social housing.
Rebecca Roberts, the Centre's Senior Policy Associate, has written about the closure of Holloway prison, drawing on the Alternatives to Holloway pamphlet published in 1972. She writes:
Plans to replace Holloway prison with expensive housing, unaffordable to most Londoners, have drawn criticism. It is not the first controversy to have dogged the future of the Holloway site.
The current prison was built in the 1970s and 1980s, replacing the original nineteenth century prison. The prison is in the Islington North Constituency, represented by the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.
Plans to close Holloway prisons should be the start of a move to close all the large women's prisons, Rona Epstein argues
Rebecca Roberts and Claire Cain call for a managed reduction in the women's prison population alongside the closure of HMP Holloway.