This statement from Toby Shone on prison abolition was recorded and transcribed from HM Prison Parc in Bridgend, Wales, UK. It was his contribution to a prison abolition event due to be hosted by Bristol Anti-Repression Campaign on 8 May 2022 but which was postponed until a later date yet to be decided.
This is Toby Shone. I’m an imprisoned anarchist held in G4S Parc. It’s a slave labour camp holding 1,800 men in South Wales run by the security multinational on a government contract providing dirt cheap labour for private companies.
I was captured by the anti-terrorist unit during Operation Adream in November 2020. First I want to thank you for listening and also the opportunity provided by Bristol Anti-Repression Coalition. Moments like this break the isolation we feel as prisoners and they also give us a chance to participate and to speak out. There are many reasons to oppose prisons and the current judicial system and as an anarchist I can’t separate the anti-prison struggle from the struggle against the State and civilisation and I’m going to return to this later. But now I’ll briefly give an account of some of the joint struggles inside prison.
I’ve never sought to hide my perspectives while I’ve been here and I’ve been subject to a lot of State intimidation and scrutiny because of that and I’ve never backed down. The prisons in the UK are mostly filthy and overcrowded, lacking basic resources, degrading and decaying.
In London I was held in the prison within the prison alongside Jihadis, Russian-Italian-Ukrainian mafia, postcode war gang members, high level money launderers and so on. Overall we all got on well with each other, even with high levels of violence and on average one death or suicide each month. There we had a laundry room where we could meet, play cards, and talk. We’d exchange books and ideas as well as our hopes and fears. And because of this social area, the administration moved to shut down our laundry and move it off wing. So we had a small struggle to keep it open, spreading a unity between all the groups, collecting 200 signatures for our petition and also it was almost every man that signed it there on H block. It might seem a minor struggle but in prison everything small becomes of a huge significance because you have almost nothing but your dignity and only you can give that away. And it’s important for our decency to have clean clothes and bedsheets, pillowcases and so on. And if the laundry was moved off wing this couldn’t be guaranteed and nobody wanted to have their clothes stolen or damaged and it’s almost impossible to get any more. And it would also mean that we would have to suffer the inability to wash our clothes more than once a week and that’s even if the scheme ran correctly. In practice, in prison, nothing works as it should and it’s intended to be that way, to make life as difficult as possible. Suffice to say, our petition was completely ignored by the authorities and the imprisoned fellow in charge of running the laundry lost his job and was moved prison as a kind of punishment because he was blamed for stirring up trouble. In prisons, the administrations are very scared of anything even slightly challenging to their power. We have to consider these intermediate struggles very well, but we must never give up our stances. Continue reading “UK: Contribution from anarchist comrade Toby Shone for a postponed prison abolition event hosted by Bristol Anti-Repression Campaign”