He’s Bad, She’s Mad (2019)

# · ✸ 24 · 💬 19 · 4 days ago · www.lrb.co.uk · Tomte
The separation of men and women was difficult to enforce in mixed prisons, and so the prison commission - the establishment of which in 1877 furthered the process of prison centralisation - decided to 'streamline the administration' by sending the male inmates of Holloway to Brixton, Wormwood Scrubs or Pentonville and, in 1902, concentrating all of London's female prisoners in Holloway. In the year it became a women's prison, Holloway had 949 inmates. Davies gives ample attention to their use of Holloway as an icon of struggle: a Holloway flag was waved on suffragette marches; Christmas cards were produced with an illustration of the prison; there were Holloway diaries, demonstrations, songs and poems. A reform programme in the 1930s - Mary Size was appointed deputy governor in 1927 with a brief to make Holloway 'the best women's prison in the country' - brought educational improvements and a new stress on the importance of femininity: mirrors were allowed in cells, walls were painted pastel colours and one disused cell became 'the shop' - where, under a new scheme, inmates could buy cosmetics and make-up. In 1949, a group of younger inmates, returning from the wireless room, where they worked for a 'large electrical company' - then as now, prison was a place of cheap labour and corporate profit - barricaded themselves in a cell for 48 hours, their shouts heard all over Holloway. In 1995, David Ramsbotham, the chief prison inspector, walked out of Holloway halfway through a week-long inspection, appalled by rat infestations, heavy-handed security and bullying. Holloway had specialist women's services to which inmates lost access and which other prisons don't replicate.
He’s Bad, She’s Mad (2019)



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