Mutual Aid Project Targeted

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.

Call-in report: phone zap for James

This is to help us track the DOC’s responses. While the calls are most important, these also help us shift our messaging and adjust as we need.

Phone zap: demand that James be allowed to help his family bury his sister

CALL TO ACTION: MAKE A PHONE CALL & SHARE

The MA DOC is at it again. 

We received word earlier this week that one of our friends at MCI-Norfolk, James Horton, was denied access to his sister’s funeral. James meets all of the qualifications required under the DOC regulations for a 24-hour transport to attend the funeral of a relative. While these regulations allow funeral passes, the DOC regularly denies such requests, preventing people inside from being able to grieve the loss of family members in person. 

In this case, not only was James forced to miss his sister’s funeral, he was also forbidden from sending out $400 to help his family cover the funeral costs. This is a new DOC regulation within the last year that attempts to separate people from their communities further by preventing them from providing financial support with what little wages they make inside. 

It’s been a while since we’ve asked you all to make phone calls. James has asked for our help. Can you make a call today to demand he be allowed to help his family grieve? 

Please leave a comment when you’ve called to let us know how the superintendent responds.

**CALL SCRIPT**

Call MCI-Norfolk superintendent Steven Silva at (508) 660-5900 x 211

Hi, my name is (your name). I am a friend/concerned citizen calling on behalf of a prisoner there, James Horton, W108660. James’s sister recently died. He was denied the ability to attend her funeral and to send out $400 to support funeral costs. This is in violation of the very regulations the DOC claims to follow. I am calling to demand that he be allowed to help his family grieve. Can you confirm that he will be allowed to send $400 to the funeral home?

 

Hands up! Mics on! …and more

We are so excited to promote this amazing event that Black Lives Matter Boston is generously holding to support our work! Please please turn out if you are able, it will be an awesome show with amazing live music and tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. Please RSVP so organizers can know what kind of turnout to expect.

“Hands up! Mics On!” is Friday, September 13th, starting at 5pm at the Democracy CenterFor accessibility information, click here.

 


We also want to acknowledge that so much is happening this weekend in so-called “New England” and we want to promote the excellent work of other groups challenging the carceral state. We know that it is literally impossible to be at everything but we want to encourage everyone who is able to do so to come out. 

This entire weekend, Cosecha Massachusetts will be taking the State House to task for 15 years of false promises to the immigrant community for the ENTIRE WEEKEND from Sept 13 at 10am – Sept 15 at 7pm. On the near endless list of crimes this state has committed against our neighbors, the refusal to provide drivers licenses has been one of the clearest affronts to so-called “sanctuary” status. For those who are unaware, traffic stops are one of the single largest entry points into the criminal legal system for people of color, with the added threat of possible detention and deportation for undocumented immigrants. Parents have been kidnapped by ICE just for taking their kids to school, and plutocrats like Charlie Baker have been making empty promises around providing a license option to immigrant groups for going on 15 years. There are a panoply of events within this weekend of action. 

ALSO: Tomorrow at 5:30pm, the Donald Wyatt Detention Center is holding their regular board meeting, which they cancelled this Monday due to fears of mass protest. This was unsuccessful as resistance is already mobilizing. There are currently threats of selling the facility to a private group like GEO or CoreCivic, both of which are companies that run concentration camps for ICE (see our #NoMoreCages posts for more). It is ESSENTIAL that potential buyers see that there will be no end to the opposition they will face if they move forward with this bid, and that NO ONE is backing down. Support groups like AMOR, FANG and Never Again Action as they continue to throw down to make sure business as usual is impossible. 

The Prisoner Podcast

We are excited to announce the launching of a project that we’ve been working on for a while now, The Prisoner Podcast which will air live every Wednesday, hosted by brothers Adrian Coleman and Wayland “X” Coleman from both sides of the razor wire. 

One of the main difficulties in prison abolition work has been the dialectic of being prisoner-led without the ability to have prisoner voices live at most free-world organizing events. We believe that the most essential component of forging any true meaningful path to liberation involves actively pursuing ways to change this, and we aim to chronicle this process live. To date, Deeper Than Water has brought currently-incarcerated voices to protests, teach-ins, panel discussions and even a funeral where inside family were able to call in from the unit and participate in the memorial service. We hope to keep pushing these boundaries. 

Disallowing prisoner voices from communicating with the outside world, as well as the immoral prohibition on communication between currently and formerly incarcerated people, remains one of the most actively harmful policies of the carceral state. The state knows that a united people is the greatest threat to hegemony and will do anything in its power to stop this. 

At this stage, the show will be broadcast live every Wednesday at 7pm on this Youtube channel. Audio recordings will be posted to our SoundCloud page the following day and released on the Patreon page. The overall aim for this project is to provide direct access to what is happening inside, without interference from state or corporate actors. Adrian & Wayland will also be discussing political theory as it pertains to prison abolition. 

 

Prisoner Podcast News:

As many of you know, the Department of Correction has retaliated against Adrian by cutting off access to his brother. For Wayland’s statement, see the Soundcloud link above, or listen to the second episode of The Prisoner here: [ Soundcloud | Youtube ]

Help make the DOC more transparent

In our experience, no matter what the state, prisons and detention centers are hard to get a hold of. We want to help fix that! Have you interacted with someone in a state/local prison? Detention center? Please fill out this form, and help us grow a crowd-sourced open directory. Entries will be cross-checked before they go live, so please include a source if you can!

If at a specific prison, please indicate which one
(if obtained online)

Send your support to Wayland!

Update: As of late 3/30, Wayland has been released 
from solitary confinement. He is still being 
charged with organizing (which is a "crime" in 
prison) and has been hit with two disciplinary 
reports for which he may face consequences. 
Please fill out our contact form to get on our 
emergency mailing list if there is further 
retaliation.

Wayland may be out of solitary, but the fight isn't 
over. Please continue to send him love while he heals 
from his ordeal.

 

Update from our beloved friend and activist Wayland Coleman!

Wayland has asked for notes of encouragement as he continues the fight for water justice and human rights in Massachusetts prisons.

He has asked specifically for all concerned people in solidarity with his struggle, to send water related stories, memories, and jokes to help him keep his spirits up while he is in solitary confinement.

Please write to Wayland at

Wayland Coleman #W65484
MCI Norfolk
PO Box 43 Norfolk, MA
02056

Note: the DOC in Massachusetts photocopies/scans
and reads all incoming and outgoing mail from the 
prison. Please note this when you are writing.

Let us know that you called!

Did you send an email? Please let us know! We want to be able to estimate the size of the volume going to the DOC, filling out this form after you've sent an email or called helps us do that!
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