We’ve written to all the Mayoral candidates, as well as all the candidates for the North East London GLA, inviting them to pledge their support to our demands for the upcoming Holloway Women’s Building. See the pledge here –
WELCOMING THE SUPPORT OF
MANDU REID, Women’s Equality Party
Who says – With Women’s Equality Party London Assembly candidates, I am beyond proud to be the first Mayoral candidate to support the @Plan4Holloway pledge that will transform the former prison site into a women’s building providing a vital space for women’s organisations.
The vast majority of women who are in prison are serving sentences for non-violent crimes. Between 1852-2016, thousands of women were incarcerated in Holloway prison. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a real, positive change to improve how we support women.
SIAN BERRY, Green Party
As part of my work on the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, I led an investigation in 2018 into the problems faced by women in the criminal justice system. The investigation found that convictions and short sentences for women, often for poverty – related crimes like shoplifting or non-payment of TV licences, were very often counterproductive, leading to lost jobs, homes and contact with children, potentially starting a new cycle of harm in the next generation.
With Holloway Prison closing, we know that women offenders from London are being placed, often for short sentences, far away from family and the support services based in the city that can help make leaving prison easier.
There are gaps in far too many services for women offenders and a completely new approach is needed. Greens have been pushing for a public health approach to crime. The “safety and justice” section (from page 74) and “A Duty to Respect Everyone’s Rights” section (from page 86) of my manifesto for London 1 provides details of how I will take a public health approach and sit down with Londoners, police officers and community groups and review the way we police our city from first principles, putting in place new processes to review new tactics, and focus on preventing crime.
As Mayor action I will take includes (and can be found on page 92 of the manifesto): `
● Police training must ensure that officers are equipped to take a gender-informed
approach to risk, vulnerability and offending. We have to see more early problem-
solving intervention and diversion by the police for women offenders and more
information available to police about services that may help.
● More community sentences from the criminal justice system, which should be of
higher quality and include more support and diversion and the use of problem solving
courts, as well as more use of of court disposals by police, to bring about a dramatic
reduction in the number of London’s women who are counterproductively sent to
prison for short sentences and for low-level and non-violent crime.
● The establishment of women’s centres in the capital, as an alternative to prison, and
similar provision for young women offenders.
● Increased funding for the establishment of a full network of supportive women’s
centres specifically for female offenders and those at risk of offending, including at
the Holloway Prison site.
● A new specific strand of Housing First provision from the GLA for women leaving
prison, recognising their specific and complex needs, and more work towards the
effective application of Homelessness Reduction Act duties to these Londoners.
● Ensuring that full and comparable data is recorded and published by City Hall on the
housing and employment options and outcomes for women leaving prison in London.
● More support for education and skills training for women offenders, especially to help
women offenders continue any education and skills training they have begun in
prisons on their release.
Therefore, I am fully supportive of the pledge and will work closely with relevant partners
(including Islington Council and Peabody) to deliver.
Luisa Porritt – Liberal Democrat Party
Thank you for your email to Luisa Porritt and the Liberal Democrats. We completely understand and share your concerns about the need for any sites in London to deliver genuinely affordable homes. That is why the Liberal Democrats have made Homes one of our top three priorities for the campaign for Mayor and London Assembly.
Candidates for Mayor are not allowed to pre-judge planning applications which may appear before them as Mayor. However, we are very supportive of The Community Plan’s community-focus and push for social housing and a Women’s Building to commemorate the legacy of the site and provide refuge and care in the community. We can also assure you that, as Mayor, Luisa would want to engage closely with the residents who would be affected to make sure that their views were being heard loudly and clearly throughout the planning process.
As Liberal Democrats, we believe that development must not be done ‘to’ communities, but should be done ‘with’ communities, listening to their needs. That is why our plan to take London forward focuses on reinventing high streets and neighbourhoods working with the residents who live there. Communities should determine the investment in and development of the types of services and facilities they want and need in their local neighbourhoods.