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  About CAPS


The Campaign Against Prison Slavery (CAPS) was formed in 2002 by ex-prisoners, prisoner support groups and activists to campaign against compulsory labour in UK prisons and for the abolition of the Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme (IEP).

Compulsory labour is a feature of most prison systems around the world, whether it be forced hard labour as punishment, direct 'reparation' for the costs of imprisonment, prison jobs such as kitchen or cleaning work that keep administration costs down or workshop jobs where prisoners manufacture the cell doors and prison bars for the jails that house them.

However, the modern prison has also developed into a system for generating capital from a section of society that up until now has largely been held to have no intrinsic labour value, the marginalised elements that tend to be trapped on a roundabout of regular incarceration, never to hold down a 'proper' job or become a 'productive member of society'. Thus we now also have in the modern prison system the prisoners who are used to create capital for private sector companies, either through labour in prison workshops manufacturing and packing goods for these companies or those prisoners handed over wholesale to the global outsourcing and security companies that run the private prisons, to do with as they wish, often 'sub-contracting' them out to third party companies.



From Article 2 of the International Labour Organisation's Forced Labour Convention No. 29

1. For the purposes of this Convention the term "forced or compulsory labour" shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.

2. Nevertheless, for the purposes of this Convention the term "forced or compulsory labour" shall not include:
c ) Any work or service exacted from any person as a consequence of a conviction in a court of law, provided that the said work or service is carried out under the supervision and control of a public authority and that the said person is not hired to or placed at the disposal of private individuals, companies or associations.

This text mirrors almost word for word the texts in the European Convention on Human Rights and the UK Human Rights Act 1998 [both Article 4].

 News Stories

RADICAL CHANGES TO YOUNG OFFENDERS REGIME

In the latest innovation by the Coalition's ground-breaking Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Young Offenders Institutions are to introduce 'naughty corners' for recalcitrant young offenders, together with the possibility of their being sent to bed early...[Read More]
[28/06/14]

GRAYLING HAS MORE 'KNEE JERK' REACTIONS THAN A CENTIPEDE ON A HOTPLATE

May Mayhem? I have long believed that on a slow news day, the editor of the Sun looks around his newsroom then tells his hacks, "Go, find something to jerk Grayling's chain, he's always good for a sound bite". This view is borne out by the fact...[Read More]
[27/06/14]

DIRTY LAUNDRY: A CAUTIONARY TALE

Here's a little tale of what can happen when you do a deal with the devil Ministry of Justice (MoJ). It is the story of how Dave Atkinson lost all his money following the collapse of a lucrative multimillion-pound prison contract...[Read More]
[29/05/14]

INSIDERS: "Prison exploits and mistreats us, but it cannot defeat us"

The myth of prisoners enjoying a cushy life on the inside is regularly pushed by the right wing media and the Tories. We are told that prisoners lead a laid back lifestyle watching TV in their cells all day...[Read More]
[28/05/14]

FIGHTING BACK IN PRISON: "Jail is designed to make you feel alone and powerless, but I never believed that I didn't have any power"

Ben Gunn was the general secretary of the prisoners’ union, the Association of Prisoners, until 2012. That year he was released on licence after having spent 32 years in prison since he was 14...[Read More]
[28/05/14]

NOW GRAYLING BANS ENJOYMENT FROM PRISONS

So what is Chris Grayling's spurious excuse for the latest petty rule change - the banning of musical instruments in prison? Last time he was forced to claim, afollowing a backlash from authors, that the book ban...[Read More]
[29/04/14]

ALABAMA PRISONERS BEGIN SECOND WORK STRIKE

Prisoners in Alabama, organised under the Free Alabama Movement, launched their second work strike of the year yesterday. Acknowledging, in the words of incarcerated activist Melvin Ray, that prisons are little more than a "free labour system"...[Read More]
[21/04/14]

CLOSE SUPERVISION CENTRE PRISONERS IN LONG-TERM SEGREGATION

From the 1970s until the 1990s, a small group of British prisoners labelled as trouble-makers or subversives were subject to procedures officially described as the 'continuous assessment scheme' but known by prisoners as 'the ghost train'...[Read More]
[02/04/14]

'IT'S ALL ABOUT DRUGS'! PULL THE OTHER ONE

Chris Grayling now claims that the parcel ban is now about the prevention of illicit materials i.e. drugs being sent into prison, as well as unifying rules across the prison estate. Well, if it was just about preventing illicit materials getting into prisons... [Read More]
[30/03/14]

WHO NEEDS BOOKS? OBVIOUSLY NOT PRISONERS

As (rightly) cynical and suspicious as we at CAPS are of any new government prison policy, especially that of a Conservative Justice minister, none of us thought that Grayling's neo-Victorian reforms would also encompass... [Read More]
[26/03/14]

POOR MANAGEMENT OF PRISONERS' PROPERTY

As almost every prisoner who has ever undergone transfer between prisons known, some of even all of your property either goes missing or ends up being delivered to you in your new accommodation having sustained damage... [Read More]
[25/02/14]

PRISON CATERER'S COMPENSATION BID BACKED

Here is a case where the Ministry of Justice wanted to have its (incredibly cheap) cake [prisoners paid a pittance for working on their behalf] and eat it [by denying that they were actually employees]... [Read More]
[19/02/14]

AMERICANISATION OF THE BRITISH CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

A recent Government announcement that it was considering introducing U.S. style prison sentences like a hundred years custody for the most serious offences is on one level a straightforward attempt... [Read More]
[17/02/14]

ONLINE PETITION: NO CHILDREN'S SUPER-PRISON

Branded a 'secure college', the government is planning to build one of the largest children's prisons in Europe. At a cost of £85 million, they plan to coop up 320 troubled young people on a single site... [Read More]
[15/02/14]

THE MYTH OF REHABILITATION

Before Christmas the Chief Inspector of Prisons and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman publicly criticised the prison system for failing to reform and rehabilitate repeat offenders. The role of both government sponsored bodies... [Read More]
[10/01/14]

GRAYLING: THE NEW SCROOGE

As we previously pointed out [see: The Unkindest Cut Yet], Chris Grayling's vindictive recent changes to the IEP Scheme meant that prisoners would no longer receive items sent in from outside... [Read More]
[24/12/13]

50 SHADES OF GRAYLING

For those of you who have difficulty in understand what the average mendacious politician actually means by the reams of verbiage that they spew forth, 50shadesofgrayling have produced a helpful translation of Chris Grayling's recent 'Open letter to Probation Staff', in which he tried to sell them the persuade them of the 'benefits' in having their jobs turned over to his friends in the private sector.
[08/12/13]

WILFUL NEGLECT IS THE PRISON HEALTH CARE NORM

The is more than a modicum of irony in the announcement that the government are seeking to introduce penalties, including possible imprisonment, for medical staff that are found guilty of "wilful neglect". We say irony because for decades the worst medical care (sic)... [Read More]
[19/11/13]

THE UNKINDEST CUT YET

Hidden away in the recent Prison Service Instruction (PSI 30/2013) on the new revised Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme is something that we initially missed. Under the heading "Facilities List and items available at each IEP level"... [Read More]
[12/11/13]

NEW IEP CHANGES STORING UP TROUBLE

Despite what Chris Grayling would have you believe, the new changes to the Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme that he has recently introduced are not a 'get tough' move. Instead they are a cost cutting move aimed and saving hundreds of thousands... [Read More]
[04/11/13]

CHANGES TO IEP 'TO BLAME' FOR LATEST PRISON DISTURBANCES

It was no coincidence that the two prison disturbances on Saturday, at HMP Maidstone and HMP Rye Hill, coincided with the introduction of the new revisions to the Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme, with the POA's Ralph Valerio claiming on TV today that the new regime changes were a significant factor in the Maidstone protests. Be prepared for more in the coming months.
[03/11/13]

GRAYLING'S IEP TWEEKS COME INTO FORCE

On November 1 the revisions to the Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme outlined in Prison Service Instruction 30/2013 came into force. The changes will apply to all adult prisoners (aged 18 and over)... [Read More]
[02/11/13]

PREDICTING VIOLENCE IN PSYCHOPATHS IS 'NO MORE THAN CHANCE'

Assessment tools used to predict how likely a psychopathic prisoner is to re-offend if freed from jail are "utterly useless" and parole boards might just as well flip a coin when deciding such risks, psychiatrists said on Tuesday... [Read More]
[26/10/13]

A (NON-UNIFORMED) PLEB'S THOUGHTS ON PLEBGATE

“It’s increasingly clear that a grave injustice has been done to Andrew Mitchell.” - Nick Herbert. No, Mr Herbert (by name...), a grave injustice is when you spend decades behind bars, loose your home, loose your friends and family... [Read More]
[16/10/13]

CANADIAN PRISONERS STRIKE OVER PAY CUT

If prisoners and campaigners in England and Wales thought prison pay was bad over here, we should spare a thought for federal prisoners in Canada. Whilst their average weekly prison pay is similar to over here, approx. $15 (£9) a week... [Read More]
[02/10/13]

ONE WOMAN'S STAND AGAINST PRISON SLAVERY

The Pussy Riot story has been in the media since three members were arrested and charged under hooliganism charges following the publishing online of a mimed performance of an anti-Putin song (the lyrics that the Russian political and judicial system found so threatening... [Read More]
[30/09/13]

QUELLE SURPRISE

It will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the true state of the prison system in England and Wales that the very nicks that the prison privatisation lobby has been holding up as the ideal for their brave new world of a future 'marketised' prison estate... [Read More]
[26/07/13]

HYPOCRISY MASQUERADING AS SIMULATED OUTRAGE

In typical Daily Fail fashion, the paper has trotted out its own unique brand of simulated outrage at what 'those nasty foreigners' are doing whilst totally ignoring the equivalent behaviour right under their own noses. In their recent story 'Former inmate claims Chinese prisoners... [Read More]
[03/07/13]

CALIFORNIA PRISON INDUSTRIES IN TROUBLE

It has long been an established business practice of any government, whether it be national or, as in the case of the U.S.A., state level, to exploit the resources that they control to offset their overheads. And those resources obviously also include their prison population... [Read More]
[17/05/13]

SPS INDUSTRIES FACING A 'NEW BROOM'

Following on from our recent story on changes at the Scottish Prison Service headquarters, it appears that uniform procurement is not the only sector of their operations showing the distinct influence of the new infusion of fresh blood from south of the border... [Read More]
[14/05/13]

A THOUGHT OR TWO ON SUPERVISION

Clearly if 60% of all people who receive a prison sentence of 1 year or less go on to reoffend, then 40% do not. Why then should those who are doomed not to commit another crime (or at least not get caught for it as there is no accurate way to actually measure reoffending... [Read More]
[09/05/13]


  Links

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