HMP Oakwood

With our first meeting having taken place earlier this week, Birmingham Prison Resistance is taking its first steps towards forming a more solid group within which to discuss prison from an abolitionist perspective and to organise resistance in Birmingham and the surrounding areas.

For our first meeting a member from the kick ass Empty Cages Collective came to Birmingham to lead an informative and interactive workshop on the Prison Industrial Complex and how we can practically begin to work towards a future without bars. We give big thanks to Empty Cages in supporting our start and aim to support their invaluable actions.

Why do we need a Prison Resistance group in Birmingham?:

Currently the West Midlands operates two private prisons, both run by G4S – HMP Birmingham and HMP Oakwood. HMP Oakwood has been consistently recognised as one of the cheapest prisons to run in the UK, and also (perhaps not so coincidentally) one with very high rates of prisoner self-harm. With the increasing capitalist infrastructure regenerating the city, and combined with the announcement for 9 new super max prisons, we should be wary of another coming to the city. This is something together we can challenge and attempt to prevent if we begin to take action now.

Another reason that Birmingham in particular has the potential to be a key spot for organising against prison expansion is because of the conservative government’s proposal to build a prison in Jamaica, for the purpose of deporting uk-based Jamaican nationals of which they are currently approx 600 incarcerated in UK prisons. Birmingham is home to a thriving Jamaican community, particularly in the colourful neighborhood of Handsworth. Racist and classist policing means that there is already a high percentage of Jamaicans affected by the UK prison system, including not only prisoners but also the friends, families and communities of those incarcerated. We shouldn’t not be surprised if there is a targeted effort to criminalise these peoples with the building of the new prison in Jamaica.

Another minority who are being targeted in the UK are Muslims, especially as we have seen with the prevent scheme and increased stop and search policing in areas highly populated by muslims such as Alum Rock. Both these minority groups could play a role in working towards prison resistance.

Moving forward we hope to meet up with others and work towards further organising including:

  • popular education
  • demonstrations
  • direct action
  • letter writing to prisoners
  • community support
  • film and discussion meetups

We must resist and build solidarity with those who are in prison, those with loved ones incarcerated. With the hundreds of thousands of children who are displaced due to the armed fist of the state.

If you want to get in touch please do @: email mountaindancer [at]

With burning enthusiasm we continue.