See posts here.
Update 9/12/10: In November Ben was recommended for parole by the Parole Board, and it seems the Ministry of Justice (sic) has accepted this. Ben should now move to an ‘open prison’ (an hilarious contradictory term!), and if all goes well, and thats a big IF, he could be granted a release in maybe 2012. Read this article for more info. Sadly Ben has also recently been diagnosed with some sort of cancerous growth. We send our best wishes to Ben.
Bristol ABC is in semi-regular correspondence with Ben Gunn, a prisoner at Shepton Mallet, in Somerset. Occasionally, he has sent us articles he would like the wider public to read, we include one (below) as a PDF. You will need Adobe Reader to view the pdf – the download can be found here: http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/ We have also blogged on occassion about issues that Ben has raised, for example the attempts to relaunch the national Association of Prisoners (AoP).
At some point in early 2009, Ben found himself ‘appointed’ as General secretary of the Association of Prisoners. The AoP is not of course recognised by the British prison authorities, and is in effect a ‘proscribed’ or banned organisation. This of course makes it extremely difficult for prisoners to organise democratically, which is no doubt the British state’s intention! But try some of them do. One of the aims of the AoP is to force the British state to comply with European law and allow British prisoners the vote in general elections, that most basic of what few human rights we are allowed to have, and which prisoners don’t have. Inside Time (see below) has carried updates on this situation.
Since late August 2009, Ben has commenced a ‘blog‘, and is believed to be the only prisoner to have one. Read his blog because it is well worth it, and we wait with interest to see how long the British state will allow this to continue (so far it still continues…).
Ben is also a regular contributor to Inside Time, the only national monthly newspaper for prisoners. If you would like to read more of Ben’s writing, visit the Inside Time website (http://www.insidetime.org/index2.asp) and enter ‘Ben Gunn’ in the search facility – this should bring up most of the articles he has written.
Prisoner Solidarity – January 2009