As most of you already know, one of the initiatives that we’ve been working on in 2019 has been a project that allows people inside to help meet the needs of other incarcerated and detained people through a Patreon subscription service that also publishes media from inside.
So far, we have sent back every penny that we’ve raised (and then some) to make sure that our family inside has what they need. All of these transactions have been recorded on a ledger and all receipts have been saved. Nevertheless, we were informed earlier this week that one of our inside organizers was questioned about the funds and told that the Department considers trafficking drugs to be the only explanation for why someone on the outside would send money to complete strangers.
This is emblematic of why we oppose prisons, detention and policing altogether: to believe in the logic of the carceral system requires us to suspend our love and support for each other, to see our own needs and those of the state as the only needs that matter.
This logic is the foundation of prisons, where prisoners face time in solitary confinement for simply sharing bottled water or toothpaste. Prisoners and detainees are forbidden from corresponding with one another, and when people are paroled, they are forbidden from staying in contact with their loved ones still inside. For many, this means leaving the only family they have left.
When people are released, they are also forbidden from giving their possessions to people still inside. People who recycle radios or fans are accused of theft and given disciplinary tickets. As of 2018, family members with more than one loved one inside are unable to visit, and attempts by prisoners to send money to family are routinely stymied.
It was in the spirit of trying to address this that we created the Solidarity Network platform, and it’s in this spirit that we intend to continue to do so.
Time and again we see that staff are the primary traffickers of drugs into prisons. And yet, the DOC uses the spectre of drugs and drug use to keep families apart and deny prisoners access to their support systems. The DOC uses this spectre to deny prisoners necessary medical treatment and pain management while conducting violent, violating shakedowns and “security” practices against prisoners and their visitors. Many of our inside members have endured recovery from surgery with no more than Tylenol. We see through this.
We ask supporters to be ready to take action should the DOC continue to escalate its intimidation and retaliation against prisoners and their loved ones. We keep us safe and we are all we have.