The CJA Awards celebrate the outstanding individuals and organisations helping to make the criminal justice system fairer and more effective, generously supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust.
November 2021 - Erika was nominated and shortlisted for the Outstanding Individual category in the Criminal Justice Alliance Awards 2021.
It is such a huge honour, and mightily humbling to have been nominated for these awards, especially considering the amazing calibre of work of all the nominees. If even a tiny piece of the work that I do can make the lives of women who have experienced abuse, discrimination, or the Criminal Justice System, as an offender or victim, better, then that has to be a good thing. To be recognised for both the paid and especially the unpaid work is huge for me. I hope that my nomination in this year’s awards can raise the awareness of the challenges that women have when re-integrating back into society, be it after prison or a difficult period of life. That society will become more understanding and embracing of those that are facing such challenges, often alongside stigma, ignorance and systems that are stacked against them. Art speaks across languages, and if I can do that through my own and others’ art, then even better!
Thank you everyone from the CJA, my family for their support, and all the wonderful people that I have worked with professionally and on the campaign to get a transformative and iconic Women’s Building on the former Holloway Prison site. "
Erika was sentenced for a non-violent crime for
which she served a number of years in custody. She wanted to document her
experience for posterity, the way that she chose to do this was to
produce an epic visual Postcard Diary that consists of at least 1400
drawings, at least one drawing every day from her time on bail prior to sentencing and also following her release.
This visual diary gives a unique insight into the emotional and physical aspects of her journey through being on Bail and then her time in HMP Holloway. Of Particular interest is the fact that her time at HMP Holloway spanned the historic announcement by the Government that the prison would be closed and the site redeveloped into housing stock, meaning that there would no longer be a Women’s Prison in central London. This whole period is documented through Erika's Postcard Diary Drawings.
In order to enable the viewer to experience this journey through Erika's eyes the daily drawings has been published on her Instagram page Postcardsfromprisondiary@instagram and other work can be found at recordedinart@instagram You can also follow Erika on Twitter @ErikaPostcards, however the Facebook and particularly Twitter didn't work for posting Postcards from Prison (the text fields were too short), and both currently not monitored regularly!
Erika started her Postcard Diary 3 months into her 6 month period on bail. The drawings at first were an expression of feelings that she was going through, she wanted to show the rollercoaster of emotions that she carried with her as she approached the 'Day of Doom' when she would attend Crown court and be shipped off to prison in the 'Sweat Box'!
Erika broke the Law. Her offence was a non-violent one, she didn't hurt anyone or steal from anyone. She accepted that she had committed a crime and would serve the sentence that courts imposed upon her. There are many schools of thought as to whether it is appropriate or not to punish with incarceration women who commit non-violent offences as the repercussions on the immediate family and young children can often be devastating.
Erika is really interested to hear your stories and opinions on all areas of this subject matter and will be posting relevant stories from contributors on her blog for this website. If you have something that you would like to say please email firstname.lastname@example.org Please state clearly if you are willing to have your story published or not. All stories will be vetted first and published anonymously for confidentiality reasons to protect the rights of the contributor, the subject and particularly the rights of any victims of crime.