Support John Bowden – Day of Action – June 11th

John Bowden is a militant prisoner who has been inside since 1980 (and in fact for most of his life before then). He is serving time for a murder which happened 32 years ago, but John’s two co-defendants have been free for 20 years. John has been writing about, and fighting against, injustice throughout his time behind bars, building up a huge and impressive portfolio of articles about every aspect of the prison struggle. He has paid a heavy price for speaking out though, spending years in the most brutal segregation units, and being targeted for repression time and time again. We do not define John, a good comrade, by the crime he committed 32 years ago, and neither do the State. He is not in jail for what he did then, but for what he has done since. If he did not have anti-authoritarian politics, if he was not a man of integrity who always comes to the defence of his fellow cons, John Bowden would have been out years ago.

The Parole Board recommended John be moved to open conditions two years ago, but the Scottish Prison Service have stubbornly kept him in high security conditions. More recently, a lying prison social worker – Brendan Barnett – somehow concocted the lie that John is not in prison for killing a white heterosexual man at a drunken party 32 years ago, but that he is in fact a racist, homophobic serial-killer! This is so ludicrous as to be beyond belief, but such is the Kafkaesque world of the British penal gulag, that after John objected to Barnett’s blatant lies and made an official complaint against him, he found himself victimised still further. Rather than being immediately sacked for incompetence or malice, the lying rat Barnett has not even been taken off John’s case, and is doing everything he can to make life even harder for him. Furthermore, his senior colleagues, clearly worried about the reputation to their department, have closed ranks, and are trying to get John moved from the Scottish prison system into the English one, so that they do not have to deal with John’s complaint.





















The Scottish Prison Service would certainly like to see the back of John Bowden, a staunch militant prisoner who stands up for himself and others. If John is transferred back to the English system, it will only further delay his release. John has stood up time and time again against prison injustice. He is one of the few prisoners willing and able to speak out against and challenge the rotten system, and he does so frequently and eloquently. John Bowden deserves our fullest possible support, we can’t allow the State to get away with harassing him, nor can we let Brendan Barnett’s lies and the corruption within Edinburgh Criminal Justice Services go unchallenged.















Monday December 11th is a Day of Action in support of John Bowden. Please organise whatever you can to let John and the prison authorities know that he is not alone, be it demos, banner-drops, phone-ins, letter-writing, or whatever. We can’t let dirty liars like Brendan Barnett and his corrupt colleagues get away with this, we have to send a clear message to them, to the Scottish Prison Service, and to the Parole Board that John Bowden is not alone. Please do all that you can and please spread this call as widely as possible.

“I thank everyone who has contributed to the Day of Action in solidarity with me, and I hope your support benefits all those prisoners and ex-prisoners who have had to suffer the abuse of power and malice that characterises Barnett’s behaviour towards “offenders”. If Barnett’s colleagues in Edinburgh Criminal Justice Services are prepared to defend and cover-up his dishonest and spiteful behaviour then we should do whatever we can to expose and focus public attention on him and them. Barnett is a liar and should be sacked, and that message should be made loud and VERY clear.”
John Bowden

London ABC have organised a demonstration outside the London offices of the Parole Board as part of the Day of Action – Grenadier House, 99-105 Horsferry Road, SW1P 2MX – 12 Noon – 2.00pm. Please come along and show your support.

Brendan ‘Pinocchio’ Barnett, Grindlay Court Social Work Centre, Criminal Justice Services, 2-4 Grindlay Court, Edinburgh, EH3 9AR. (Telephone: 0131 469 3408 Fax 0131 229 8628)

Michelle Miller, Chief Social Worker, Grindlay Court Social Work Centre, Criminal Justice Services, 2-4 Grindlay Court, Edinburgh, EH3 9AR. (Telephone: 0131 469 3408 Fax 0131 229 8628) NB Michelle Miller also works out of Waverly Court, see details for Peter Gabbitas below. Email:

Peter Gabbitas, Director, Health and Social Care Department, Waverly Court, Level 1/8, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8DG. (Telephone 0131 553 8201 Fax 0131 529 6218). Email:

Social Work Advice and Complaints Service, Waverley Court, Level 1/7, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG. (Telephone 0131 529 6217 Email

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, 4 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7NS.
Scottish Prison Service HQ, Communications Branch, Room 338, Calton House, 5 Redheughs Rigg, Edinburgh, EH12 9HW. (Telephone 01259 760 471 Fax 01259 762 003 E-mail

Ian Whitehead (Governor), HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE. (Telephone 01501 824000 Fax 01501 824 001 ).


Letters and cards of support to John at: John Bowden, 6729, HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE.

You can also send e-mails to John (or any other prisoner) via:


You can download John Bowden’s pamphlet ‘Tear Down The Walls!’ free of charge from our PDF section

Other articles by John can be read on this site, as well on the websites of our sister ABC groups in Bristol ( ), Brighton ( ), and London ).

John is also a prominent contributor to the pamphlet recently produced by Bristol ABC on the British ‘CSC’ Torture Units, which you can download as a free PDF from the Bristol ABC website.




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