Why I go to jail

IssueOctober 2007
Feature by Maya Evans

In my heart I can't help feeling that paying this fine would be a compromise of how strongly I feel about the Iraq war and the right to protest against it.

Paying the fine would be an acceptance of my “guilty” conviction. This is a point I would never concede.

It is important for me to stand by my actions of opposing the war and the erosion of free speech.

I made my decision when I stood on the front line protesting against war.

I decided that I wanted to try and stop the destruction of peoples' lives. I wanted to say I don't agree with the killing of people for the sake of this country's economy. On a personal level I think I am emotionally capable of spending a short amount of time in prison.

What will it be like?

I try to imagine what it would be like in prison. What my cellmate will be like, my daily routine, being in an environment alien to the one I'm used to. I'm now assuming I will definitely be going to prison. I've been speaking to activists who have been to prison in preparation. I've been told prison is unbearably noisy and most people have mental health problems or drug addictions.

Now I feel slight disbelief that I am actually facing prison for my actions. Part of me feels it won't happen, as I've skirted so close before. And besides, everyone from UKIP to Radio 4 thinks this law is wrong.

I've read and heard about activists becoming depressed as a result of going to prison. Although my likely sentence will be minimal, the feeling of undergoing an experience which has disturbed other individuals similar to myself is a scary prospect.

I draw courage from the fact that protest against an illegal war is not wrong; solidarity with the people of Iraq is not wrong.

Topics: Prison