Apart from police cells and lock-ups Harrogate has never had a jail but that is set to change this Saturday (26 October 2013)
A temporary prison compound will be set up in Prospect Place to house seven men and three women, all members of the Catalysts, the Business Networking Group of Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club.
Each prisoner will stay in jail until he or she has raised at least £150 in bail money by contacting friends and colleagues on phone, tablet or laptop.
The funds raised will go to help the work of the Follifoot Park Riding for the Disabled Group, the target being £1650 which will pay for two additional riding sessions for a year and allow 15 disabled children under the age of five to have the time of their lives.
The Follifoot Park Group was formed in 1986 and now has 150 volunteers who help to provide rides each week for disabled riders of all ages.
The voluntary incarceration begins at 10 in the morning and as the prison only holds a maximum of seven (and Brigantes don’t want claims of human rights abuse of prisoners) the sentences will be carried out consecutively with a maximum of seven prisoners in jail at any one time. This means that the event is likely to last for much of the day.
This is the first major fund-raising initiative of the new Catalysts group to come to fruition. Brigantes’ President Mike Hammond praised them for their initiative and commented:
This is a fine illustration of local corporate social responsibility in action and an example to us all.” The “jail break” also promises to be something unusual in the town centre to brighten the Saturday shop.
All involved hope that there will be plenty of passers-by to cheer and jeer as the prisoners suffer (perhaps in the rain) and attempt to persuade their friends to bail them out. Placards (either demanding immediate release or longer sentences) will be welcome.