Richmond Anarchist Black Cross
On the Richmond City Jail
In the context the possibility of a new Richmond City Jail, the Anarchist Black Cross must make it clear that we are against the existence of all jails and prisons. We believe that no new jails or prisons should ever be constructed, and that the old ones should be emptied and dismantled.
Jails and prisons are tools used to oppress people largely based on their race and class. They exist to intimidate and coerce into passivity all who are not incarcerated. Jails and prisons exist to perpetuate slavery (see the Thirteenth amendment which allows for the slavery of incarcerated individuals) and to make profit for the capitalists who have created industries around incarceration.
The Richmond City Jail has a long history of being overcrowded, inhumane, dangerous, and unhealthy. The new Sheriff prides himself on not providing inmates with the medical care that they need. Bails are set too high to be accessible to many of Richmond’s most destitute. As a result, Richmond City Jail has killed many inmates over the years. Five inmates of Richmond City Jail died in 2010 alone.
The solution to the overcrowded, inhumane, hot as hell jail is NOT the construction of a new larger jail. A new facility with more beds will only encourage more arrests to fill the space.
Richmond City Jail should never have been allowed to become overcrowded. Inmates over its capacity should be released immediately, which is what the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross called for in July of 2010 when Kerry Wayne Bennett and Grant R. Sleeper died from the heat. The Sheriff’s department is clearly too callous and incapable to keep people alive. They should not be entrusted with a larger population and they should never be allowed to exceed the official capacity of any facility. A new jail facility will not solve the problems of the old facility. (more…)