Within These Walls Zine






Within these walls

Houses of detention might have high sturdy built exterior walls,

others high fences or barbed wire to deter escapes. I mean, who

would want to get in, except to visit those held within?

We know where these places are so we might avoid walking past

because they unsettle us. We know what might happen inside. Are

we scared of the dangerous people within? Or of the house of

detention itself, and the system of incarcerations it represents?

The House of Detention Project

Are we scared of being picked up off the street, because we have had

previous ‘detentions’? Do we dress to pass as Normal, so we

don’t attract the attention of those who might want us back


In the small hours of the night does the ‘detention’ all come

drifting back to us?

When I was at school there were group detentions for mild

misdemeanours, where the whole class was held back from going

home. I wonder why so many people find a place in a house of

detention, after dealing with the DWP, the systematic

sanctioning and trying to get monies for food/housing/to pay

the bills. So much pain, so much money could be saved if the

System’s economics wasn’t set up against us.

It’s not that we are workshy, (or suffer from that class based

‘disease’ worklessness), the detention survivor stigma, of the

big gap on the cv, is just not acceptable to most employers. So we

are forced to work for ourselves.

The corridor

Where is the Entrance? Do you think we enter that way? No we are

dragged in, sometimes kicking and screaming along ‘the

corridor’. Yes, The corridor is a scene of much action. When the

doors are unlocked, some do rush too fast to get out and must be

grappled to the floor. restrained by at least 2 others, drugged up

and removed from this scene. No one is expected to escape. For

the official ‘observers’ are watching out for any such chancers.

There are many corridors in a house of detention. LEt us explore

the intricacies of its design. The main corridor might run the

length of the building, or sub section of the building. With

lockable doors at this point. The surveillance place or ‘office’

might be central to the corridor. So the inmates might be

observed and watched as they go about their business. Wide open

aisles seen in Victorian asylums have been superseded by compact

wards. Dorms, single rooms, a kitchen, tv lounge and

office/drugging station all lead off the central corridor. All

accessible with permissions. The corridor is a place to follow the

daily routines to gather, the many line ups and to greet/say

goodbye to visitors.

Houses of detention are not private spaces. The institution owns

the spaces and acts like it owns the peoples kept detained within

the walls. Locked in these places the inmates are unfree.

Physically unable to leave with permissions. The key holders have

all the power in this unequal relationship.

And if you try to leave without permission, and take a chance

when the door is opened, you will be taken down and restrained.

Physically held to the ground, then drugged, and removed to a

place of ‘safety’, to a place of solitary confinement. For now

you are a risk, and need to be assessed/watched over/surveilled

to attain how much of a risk you are. A risk to yourself and to

the unsuspecting public. It is as if you were dangerous, rather

than just trying to leave a place of non safety. Locked into a

House of Detention.

The room

No place like home. These institutions are not places anyone

would want to call home. But for all their shortcomings these

houses of detention are the ‘homes’ of the ’inmates’, however

short a time their stay is. surely the buildings should look like

some sort of home. And not be built to the institutional need of

risk prevention, Not for the risk of individuals harming

themselves, but of inmates escaping this place of detention.

The dorm

The dormitory offers an opportunity for ‘inmates’ to share

experiences. It can be a place of safety or strife. Friendships can

be made or broken. Maybe it depends on the regime.

private companies take responsibility for the conditions and

whether abuses and neglect is tolerated.

The closed women’s prison Holloway (pictured) is in the process

of redevelopment. Will the site, Bought by a housing association,

be ‘regenerated’/gentrified the area and will the promise of a

women’s centre be honoured?

Why do so many ‘public institutions’ make way for upmarket

housing developments? Has there been a rush to divest in the

investment in houses in detention, to make money from the

sale of land in the short term or because the government

doesn’t want the responsibility of running the houses of

detention. If the houses of detention are privately run, the

The secure room

Sometimes ‘inmates’ are deemed to be dangerous, by the

observers and sent to a more secure ward. Sent, maybe drugged

up after a restraining event, to the pink padded Room. to the

padded cell.

The lounge

The therapeutic community might still be in a locked in

environment. The henderson hospital (pictured) offered an

alternative long term Admissions for those deemed to have the

contentious diagnosis borderline personality disorder.

Institutional furniture lines the edges of The lounge. in a mh

institution the lounge offers a place where ‘inmates’ can talk

or watch tv. The large windows offer a view of the outside. A

normalised view of greenery/garden space. Not necessarily

available to be used as a garden. But a view nonetheless.


What does the corridor in a care home suggest to its users and

those who must decide which care home to install a family

member, if they have the choice.

the black mould/damp was noticed by the cqc, but were the voices

of the inmates heard before the building was abandoned having

been neglected. If that's how they treat their capital asset, how

were the staff and ‘inmates’ treated. There must be more to an

investment in care than to get profit out of the enterprise.

These abandoned care homes only show spaces neglected not the

abuses/neglect that happened within these walls.

Long-term incarcerations for those classed learning

disabled/Autistic, may start as short term ‘sectioning’ and be

prolonged. The use of private establishments may be a political

and an economic decision. But a private establishment is out to

make monies/profits for their investors, rather than being

concerned with the locked in individual. The horrific

abuses/neglect at Winterbourne View serve as a warning to those

who argue that the locked in environment can be safe.

from abuse, that keeps these horrific actions secret. Hidden and

locked away from sight.

We aren’t looking at what is happening until it’s too late,

because we are cut off/cut out. Did they have regular visitors?

Visitors who couldn’t be told because of the fear and

consequences. The CQC might be led astray because they don’t

have the experience/insight to see what is really happening.

Maybe they are led by the wrong kind of ‘experts’.

In such an institution it is not only the actions/abuses/neglect

from staff to locked in individuals, but witnessing the abuse

and the systematic neglect to protect all locked in individuals

Keeping Order.

Why are some people locked up and locked in? And others left to

roam free? Who decides? Sometimes the courts, but mostly by

those authorised by an Authority. Highly educated/well

established people who may have assessed the individual to be

locked up. But that doesn’t mean that the detention space is

appropriate for anyone to be locked up in. Or the detention

regime is appropriate for any of the ‘inmates’. The need to keep

Order in ‘society’, seems to be paramount. Rather than

considering why people are held inside.

People are held at detention/assessment centres who have

committed the act of being here ‘illegally’. Some people will

have refugee status. Others have ‘committed’ crimes of

paper-lessness, and will not know they are here illegally until

the ‘hostile environment’ of the home office roars its ugly head

and wants the individual out. Detained to be exported.Minor

‘economic’ criminal acts, such as not paying a tv license, can

lead to incarceration. Wasting money to incarcerate an

individual, as a warning to others to obey the law. In both cases

the incarcerations are meant to deter others as much as they ruin

the lives of the individuals detained. But why are the ‘inmates’

secondary to the System’s need to keep the wheels turning? So

the containment of peoples is as much about the people on the

other side of the walls. To keep the uncontained in order.

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