Dear IRR News subscriber,
This week, the IRR is among sixty-five signatories to a Guardian letter, including educational charities, human rights organisations, musicians, academics and lawyers, all calling for an end to the use of ‘gang injunctions’ that prevent black musicians making references to individuals, events and places. We are calling for clearer thinking about the impact of such repressive and counter-productive proceedings – themselves a threat to civil liberties – on poor, marginalised black youth, for whom music is one of the few avenues of expression and/or ways of earning a living. Mainstream society is frightened of Grime, and even more frightened of Drill which they blame for rising knife crime in the capital, legitimising the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism approach to suspected gang associates, irrespective of any proven link to violence or, for that matter, gang membership.
The government’s knife crime strategy is leading to hyper-criminalisation, and hyper-incarceration, as seen in our calendar of racism and resistance, which highlights alarming statistics on BAME young people in youth offender institutions, as well as warnings that a new ASBO-type knife crime prevention order could see kids as young as 12 sent to jail, risking the criminalisation of a whole generation.
Deportation is often the end result of criminalisation. This week, as the Stansted 15 are spared jail time, with 3 given suspended sentences and 12 given community service, the first deportation charter flight to the Caribbean since the Windrush scandal broke last April has removed around fifty people to Jamaica. Some of those served with deportation notices have lived in the UK for over forty years, others since early childhood, and over half have family here. Campaigners describe the deportation as a ‘slap in the face’ to Britain’s Caribbean community, and have held protests outside the Home Office and the Jamaican High Commission, and even a government-commissioned report described the deportation of such ‘virtual nationals’ as ‘deeply troubling’.
IRR News Team