Incarceration for profit, the power of community-led action & the history of prison education
I've been grinding away on a new manuscript for the past 18 months and, last week, I reached the major milestone of completing the first draft. As a result, I've suddenly got more free time to start focusing on other interests.
I'm obsessed with learning about screenplays and short film at the moment and in my research, I've found some brilliant things to share.
What I'm Watching -
Each week, scores of people visit the Brooklyn Public Library to see their incarcerated loved ones via a free video call. Video Visit tells the story of two mothers and their sons, and the librarians who negotiate daily with the Department of Corrections in an effort to keep the families connected.
It examines the difficulties faced by the loved ones of people incarcerated, and highlights how companies are making millions from phone & video calls from behind bars, that's just as relevant in the UK as the USA.
Timi Akindele-Ajani’s film, Nubia Way: a story of black-led self building in Lewisham, is one of three films showing at this event at the BFI Southbank. It documents the history of London’s first black housing co-operative, in which self-builders were offered discounted rents in return for building their homes.
“We hope that if viewers take away one message from the film, it will be to hold onto and celebrate the power of community-led action. Hopefully, this film will be a starting point for a richer understanding of the British black communities’ legacy of self-organizing, self-determination, and self-building. Disparities in property ownership are still prevalent in the U.K.; Nubia Way and the principles of self-build housing is an example of how alternative housing solutions can work, despite the odds.”
What I'm Learning -
David Breakspear pointed me in the direction of this free, online course from The Open University: Exploring the History of Prisoner Education
Over eight sessions of self-directed learning, the course examines the motivations behind the provision of education, the types of learning that were offered and the experiences of prisoners, over the first 100 years of education in prisons. By juxtaposing the ambitions of reformers with the realities of the penal environment, it offers reflections on the value of history to policymakers and practitioners involved in prison education and rehabilitation today.
If you want to learn more about me, or find out what I'm working on at the moment -