As our communities work to identify ways to care for one another during the global COVID-19 pandemic, the National Bail Fund Network has put out a call for organizations around the country to make sure our loved ones inside jails and prisons around the country have access to the supplies they need to stay as safe and healthy as possible during this time. While the ultimate goal is and always will be total decarceration and the abolition of the carceral state, in the meantime there are millions of people around the country who won’t be allowed to come home.
As an answer to the National Bail Fund’s call and following the tremendous organizing by groups like Survived and Punished— who have already raised well over $6600 to send soap and cleaning supplies to people in New York prisons— Black & Pink Boston and Deeper Than Water are teaming up to make sure that our people inside Massachusetts jails and prisons have what they need and we need your help to do so.
Prisons are inherently toxic, and ultimately, decarceration is the only answer. While harm reduction initiatives like these are essential to maintaining the survival of our loved ones inside, the ultimate answer always has and always will be total decarceration, as this is the only step that can truly mitigate the tremendous harm done daily to our communities.
However, our people on the inside need protection right now from the harms of infectious disease. If COVID-19 gets into prisons and jails, the spread will be rapid and deadly due to overcrowding, poor conditions, and medical neglect. Joining in the call from organizations nationally, we will do what we can do reduce harm now by ensuring our loved ones inside have soap, hand sanitizer, bleach, and other cleaning supplies to follow the public health directive for protective hygiene to prevent disease.
How can you help?
- If you only have a moment, please donate to the GoFundMe created for this initiative. All money that is donated will go directly to mutual aid efforts.
- Please fill out this form if you are willing to help us send money directly inside. We will get in touch with you with instructions, names, and contact info. We will then reimburse volunteers directly; just send us a receipt and a way to reimburse you. This will help us expedite the process of getting supplies directly to the people who need it.
- See this call to action from Families for Justice as Healing to join the movement for clemency now. The more people we can bring home, the safer and healthier our communities will be, both outside and prison walls.
- While we can supply funds for personal hygiene items, the state tightly controls what goes in and out of prisons. Only the state has the ability to supply facilities like NCCI Gardner— whose open dormitory layout puts prisoners at elevated risk — with items like face masks and bleach to mitigate the spread of infection. Failure to do so would be unconscionable. Join us in demanding that the state provides soap, masks, and disinfecting wipes at no cost to those who are incarcerated for the duration of the pandemic. Tweet at @MassGovernor and @MACorrections. Or, text “SIGN FBENUE” to 50409 to send a letter directly to his office.
The state has failed and will continue to fail to protect the health and well-being of our loved ones inside jails and prisons. We will continue to step up as a community to provide what the state refuses to provide. Please join us.
Black & Pink Boston and the #DeeperThanWater Coalition