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Permaculture & Prisons


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Presentation from permaculture & prisons workshop at the International Permaculture Conference 2015, London. For more info visit:

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Permaculture & Prisons

  1. 1. Permaculture & Prisons! International Permaculture Conference 2015
  2. 2. Beginnings… “In chaos lies unparalleled opportunity for imposing creative order” - Bill Mollison
  3. 3. How many self-inflicted deaths have there been in prison custody in the past 24 years? ! A. 364 B. 890 C. 1730 D. 1004 Quiz
  4. 4. Quiz In March 2014, what percentage of the prison population was from a minority ethnic background? ! A. 39% B. 14% C. 6% D. 26%
  5. 5. What is the correlation between levels of crime and the growth in the prison population? ! A. Crime rates are 25% higher than in 2002-03 B. Crime rates are 50% higher than in 2002-03 C. Crime rates are more than a quarter less than in 2002-03 D. Crime rates are more than a third less than in 2002-03 Quiz
  6. 6. How many people in prison are estimated to have learning disabilities or difficulties that interfere with their ability to cope with the criminal justice system? ! ! A. 30% B. 15% C. 9.5% D. 5% Quiz
  7. 7. The number of children that has had a parent in prison at some point in 2009 is: ! A. 200,000 B. 43,000 C. 60,000 D. 75,000 Quiz
  8. 8. 8 What is your first memory of prison?
  9. 9. Functions of the Prison System • Prisons are sold as solutions to social, economic & political problems • Natural, Normal, Necessary • State monopoly on ‘safety’ & punishment “Prison is considered an inevitable and permanent feature of our social lives” ! - Angela Davies
  10. 10. Prison Industrial Complex “We are collectively witnessing, surviving, and working in a time of unprecedented state-organized human capture and state-produced physical/social/psychic alienation.” ! - Dylan Rodríguez
  11. 11. Prison Industrial Complex in the UK
  12. 12. Are Prisons compatible with permaculture?
  13. 13. Are Prisons compatible with permaculture? • Prisons are inherently violent & oppressive • ‘Therapy’ or ‘Healing’ can not come through coercion • Prisons don’t meet the needs of survivors of harm • Little evidence prisons or policing reduce harm • Caging people does not solve the social crises in our societies of racism, sexism, drug abuse, violence, or psycho-emotional struggles.
  14. 14. “An abolitionist approach … would require us to imagine a constellation of alternative strategies and institutions, with the ultimate aim of removing the prison from the social and ideological landscapes of our society.” - Angela Davies Designing a World without Prisons: Permaculture & Prison Abolition
  15. 15. Prison abolition is a political vision with the goal of eliminating policing, prisons, and surveillance and creating lasting alternatives to punishment and prison. ! It is both a practical organizing tool and a long-term goal. Prison Abolition
  16. 16. Design Interventions
  17. 17. What do you need if you’ve experienced harm?
  18. 18. Constellations of Alternatives
  19. 19. Permaculturalists & Prisons • Inform yourself about prison abolition & critical perspectives • Challenge your motives & your privilege • Ensure projects are prisoner-led & centred. • Stay critically aware & have these conversations in your groups • Beware of the Not for Profit Industrial Complex • Organise & be part of broader social struggles against prisons • Focus on transformation rather than assimilation into an oppressive society • Reject projects that naturalise, normalise or perpetuate the P.I.C and its ‘rehabilitation rhetoric’
  20. 20. Inspiration & Further Resources
  21. 21. Get involved: • Community Action on Prison Expansion Campaign • Publications • Research • Popular Education • Prisoner Solidarity & Labour Organising Empty Cages Collective •