By Sara Chitseko:
This week we joined The World Transformed and Abolitionist Futures for the launch of a weekly reading group which focuses on the cruelties of our criminal justice system, and how we can build a world without prisons.
As part of this week's session, we explored what the government response to COVID-19 can teach us about the criminal justice system more broadly. Key speaker, Becka Hudson, discussed how there has been a huge state failure in protecting public health, alongside a huge ramping up of state capacity for punishment, control and surveillance. She called for the public to be vigilant in the face of the government's further expansion of the criminal justice apparatus - especially given that they are already increasing prison capacity (to the extent of re-purposing shipping containers as cells). Considering that Boris' government are keen to define themselves as a government that is "tough on crime" and "firm with law and order," it is worryingly likely that they will attempt to keep such measures in place once the corona virus crisis passes.