Monday’s musings about Maud: conditions in prisons

Amnesty International Dec. 17, 2020 blog post by John Campbell:

Bad prison conditions probably contribute far more deaths than deliberate security service abuse. Prisons are underfunded, understaffed, and often grotesquely overcrowded.

Amnesty International was cofounded by Maud Gonne MacBride’s son Sean MacBride. He furthered her eloquent protest against conditions for political prisoners in British jails, extending those human rights concerns to all political prisoners all over the world.

Amnesty International had its roots in the Irish struggle against the British. In retaliation against Irish nationalists, the British passed Draconian laws. Suspects could be arrested on suspicion and held in jail indefinitely.  Their communications with the outside world limited to a few pages a week. Visitors were only allowed 20 minutes every few months.  These were the conditions that Maud publicized after a visit to Portland Prison in 1893-4.

Well ahead of her time in many ways, pre-order the Fascination of What’s Difficult, the debut work by Kim Bendheim, to discover what makes Maud Gonne was one of history’s most enigmatic, alluring, and complex women.

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