Thursday, January 31, 2013
More than 70 people gathered outside HMP Holloway on Friday as part of a global protest against the treatment of women prisoners.
Former inmates and members of action groups gathered to highlight the poor conditions face by many female jailbirds.
The event was organised by Legal Action for Women and Global Women’s Strike in response to the overpopulation of Chowchilla Prison in California.
In the UK, groups point out two-thirds of women prisoners are in for non-violent offences and half of them are mothers.
Niki Adams, from Legal Action for Women, said: “There was a really wide range of people who spoke –many who had been inside Holloway itself.
“Some of them talked about women who had to put their children up for adoption while they were inside.
HMP Holloway, which became a women’s prison in 1902, is the largest female prison in Europe with a capacity of 532.
Three women have been executed there.
“A lot of them mothers about how hard it was being separated from their children and how hard the visit were.
“One lady from St Lucia told us how a gang had kidnapped and raped her and her daughter, while they were under police protection, to force her to smuggle drugs.
“She caved in, did what they wanted and was arrested. But despite all this evidence coming out in court she got eight years.
“It was quite harrowing, but very hopeful.”