At the time of writing (12th August 2014), Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, has come to the conclusion that much of the country had come to months ago- that Tory policy on prisons is dehumanising, that being imprisoned makes you ‘uniquely vulnerable’, and that our current public discourse in regards to prisons is myth-laden and exasperatingly underdeveloped. Mr. Hardwick has a decent attitude toward the purpose of the prison system: ‘you’re sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment’, but he’s also hardly an anarchist. Nevertheless, I believe that any reform of the prison system ought to consider what Peter Kropotkin had to say on the matter, in his work ‘Prisons: Universities of Crime‘, originally read to the British Medical Association in 1913.
This article is not written with anything resembling the belief that Chris Grayling, the sadistic dullard afforded the title of Justice Secretary for now, would even consider what Kropotkin had to say about the prison system, or indeed that he would reform it in any way other than via a cloying privatization that merely pushes the problems outside of the democratic domain. This article is written is an affirmation that the anarchist position on prisons is the most humane, understanding and just. Continue reading