Close Supervision Centres – voices from prisons within prisons

‘It is good to see this pamphlet produced, and I am sure that every prisoner who finds themselves isolated and brutalised in the nightmare world of the Woodhill Torture Unit will welcome it also. From its pages the reader will learn much about what is going on inside the closed world of the CSC system, but it is so far divorced from everyday life for most people, that an empathetic imagination will be required to relate to it directly.

Kyle Major, for example, talks about being on a “six officer riot unlock”. That means that every time his door is unlocked for any reason, he will first have orders barked at him to stand at the back of his cell, perhaps to face the wall or even to kneel and place his hands behind his head. Then his door will be opened by six burly block screws in full riot gear, all itching to show how brave they can be with their clubs and shields.’

Mark Barnsley

Produced by Bristol Anarchist Black Cross, this 32-page pamphlet is packed with accounts from inside the most tightly controlled part of the British prison system – the Close Supervision Centres (CSCs). Beginning with a hard-hitting introduction by former prisoner and longstanding prison support activist Mark Barnsley, it assembles writing from past and current CSC prisoners, together with commentary from John Bowden, whose insistent inquiries glaringly exposed the use of the CSCs, (supposedly designed to house dangerous prisoners or those posing a serious ‘control problem’) to warehouse men with acute mental health problems. Many of the articles and letters were originally published in FRFI and Bristol ABC have done an excellent job of assembling them, together with material from Inside Time, Indymedia and elsewhere to provide a stark account of the horrific day-to-day reality of the CSC.

The pamphlet is free and can be ordered from the Kebele centre, 14 Robertson Road, Bristol BS5 6JY or downloaded at:

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 227 June/July 2012