As a collective, we see individual correspondence with people on the inside as one piece of the larger struggle to abolish the prison industrial complex and to create safe, sustainable, and equitable communities. To this end, we see our work as a way to undermine the isolation, dehumanization, and destruction of the PIC by building grassroots networks of support and solidarity between folks on the inside and folks on the outside.
Meetings are: first Monday of each month
Adapted from the guidelines created for the Write to Win Collective and the Prisoner Correspondence Project and Black and Pink
1. Think about: Why do you want to write to someone in prison?
It is okay not to have an answer, but it is necessary to think about our motivations and unpack assumptions we might have.
2. Don’t overcommit, do what makes you feel comfortable by thinking: What is my capacity?
3. Prepare yourself for intense content to read in your letter; Offer as much support as possible, and be grounded in the purpose of your response; Take space to take care of yourself if overwhelmed
4. Center the prisoner’s voice and find a way to build a human connection
5. Be aware that these messages are surveilled like all things monitored by prisons; Be mindful of framing your responses to avoid letters being returned including, for example: Being careful of saying anything that might flag prison ‘organizing’
6. If you receive a letter that includes inappropriate content, or otherwise makes you feel uncomfortable, you should not feel obligated to respond to the letter.
7. If you’re worried that someone you’re corresponding with is in danger, either from themself or someone else, the first thing that you should do is ask the person what, if anything, they would like for you to do. We want to ensure that the person is empowered to, as much as possible, make decisions about what happens to them.